Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith: A Review

Young Adult fiction is not my favorite.  I don't read very much of it and, when I do, there has to be something else about the book that intrigues me.  For Windfall, it was the idea of a young person winning a lot of money in the lottery and being a little bit lost as to what to do with it.  This book was also a bit of a teen romance, as well.

Alice has had her fair share of bad luck.  When she was nine, both of her parents passed away and she moved from San Francisco to Chicago to live with her uncle, aunt and cousin, Leo.  Leo and Alice have been best friends with Teddy since she moved in with her new family but, recently, Alice has started to have stronger feelings for him.  On the night of Teddy's eighteenth birthday, Alice buys him a lottery ticket as a gag gift, thinking it a long shot that anyone would ever win.  A surprise to both of them, Teddy does win and now has over 50 million dollars to spend.  For a young person who lives in a one-bedroom apartment with his mother, the money is truly life-changing.  Everyone else is delighted with the windfall of cash but Alice has mixed feelings about it, worrying that the money will change everything.

When I read about this book, I was interested in it.  Who hasn't fantasized about winning the lottery?  I know I have.  I was somewhat disappointed with this book, though, and it was for the same reasons that I dislike most YA books.  The characters are very predictable and flat to the point of being boring.  Dumbing down of characters and story lines is disrespectful of the young adult reader.  I don't presume to believe that readers of YA fiction are not intelligent enough to appreciate complex characters with personality and depth.  While the characters were not impressive to me, I did enjoy the story line, both the lottery win and the romantic tension between Alice and Teddy.  It was a very touching romance between the couple and it was fun to read about all the things that a young person would buy if he had almost unlimited funds.  I think that this book was just not a good fit for me.  I believe that this would be a better pick for someone younger and who is not too focused on the complexity of characters.

Jennifer E. Smith discusses Windfall in this video:


My review:
★★★☆☆

Reviews of books like this one:
The Windfall by Diksha Basu
Marlena by Julie Buntin
City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

This book is currently available and can be purchased from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Read more reviews on this book on Goodreads.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in order to review it but that did not have an effect on my review of the book.  This is my honest opinion of this book.  I am a participant in the Amazon Affiliates program.  By clicking on the Amazon link and purchasing this product, I receive a small fee.  I am not associated with Goodreads or Barnes and Noble in any way and the links provided are available strictly for your convenience and not to imply a relationship of any kind.


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