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:
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