REVIEW: Windfall - Jennifer E Smith


Windfall - Jennifer E Smith
Published by Macmillan Children's Books on 4 May 2017
Book depository purchase link.
My rating: 4/5

This is the best book Jennifer E Smith has ever written. It's even better than The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight and This Is What Happy Looks Like. That's because in Windfall, the stakes are even higher. With an adorable teen romance at the core of the story, the plot revolves around a point of change with college and the future lying ahead. The decisions these characters make now will affect the rest of their lives.

Windfall is about a girl named Alice who buys a lottery ticket for her best friend Teddy to celebrate his eighteenth birthday. It transforms his life forever, but Alice has always been afraid of change. She's had a difficult life so far and doesn't want to lose her crush to his new fortune. Balancing love with self-discovery and coming-of-age, Windfall is a story ultimately about growing up and experiencing change.

I loved all of the quirks, including Teddy and Alice's nicknames for one another and the references to their previous lottery fantasies. Although, their romance came a bit out of nowhere. Alice talks about how Teddy is completely not her type and she shouldn't like him, but the only reason suggested for why they have feelings for one another is that they've been friends for so long and know each other so well. Leo and his boyfriend Max seem to actually talk and have conversations, but Teddy and Alice seem to just feel and smile and kiss. I guess that sort of inexplicable connection to someone is real and valid, but I would have liked more Teddy and Alice moments during the middle section to really see them develop.

The idea of winning the lottery and the money being both a gift and a curse was done so well. I found myself frustrated with Teddy but also so sympathetic for him. I just wanted to shout do the right thing! but, really, what is the right thing? I think the book sent a good message with the idea that the right thing is different for everybody and there can be a balance of living the luxury life and doing kind things for others. There is a way to do both.

On that note, although the story is told from Alice's point of view, I think it conveyed Teddy and Leo's lives really well. Teddy's relationship with his dad was so heart-breaking to watch and Leo's relationship troubles really moved me. It gave the novel an all-round feel and I could imagine it to make an excellent film adaptation.

Beautifully written with short, punchy chapters, Windfall expresses exactly what it feels like to want to hold onto the present moment and how the future can hold even more magic. 

Forget the odds, the world has infinite possibilities.

Love, Jess

Thank you to Macmillan Children's Books for my copy.

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