Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
mild spoilers ahead
What would you do if you won the lottery?
Would you donate it? Buy a house? Go on that holiday you’ve always wanted?
That’s what Teddy has to decide after Alice buys him a winning lottery ticket – over fifty millions dollars. Not bad for someone who’s just turned eighteen.
Jennifer E. Smith’s Windfall is a great feel good book about family, friendship and first love, all wrapped together with Alice’s personal growth and Teddy’s understanding that money doesn’t change everything – even if you buy your teammates an amazing getaway.
Alice and Teddy have gone through difficult things in their past – her parents passed away when she was nine and his dad wouldn’t stop gambling long enough to come home. Both influence Alice’s cousin Leo into thinking that his good life can’t last forever, so why doesn’t he quit the good while he’s ahead?
Through different stages of personal growth, Leo learns that just because his cousin and best friend have suffered different types of loss doesn’t mean that he is due bad luck. Despite being loved up with his college boyfriend, he decides to end their relationship because his mind wins over his heart – but does he really have to choose?
Teddy learns that it doesn’t matter whether you have money or not, it doesn’t change everything. At first he acts like a spoiled child – buying toys and gadgets that I can imagine get left in the corner once he’s satisfied he got to use them – but gradually we see him grow and use the money responsibly, even buying his mum their old house back.
Alice’s growth is different from the two boys, through hers she realises that she doesn’t have to conduct her life to revolve around the memory of her parents. She can still honour them and their work while also living the life she wants to lead – whatever it is she decides to do.
Whether you will like this book or not is entirely based on what you want to get out of it – there’s no mushy moments for romance-lovers but then some people might even appreciate that!
I adore YA and enjoy reading about other’s romances but I’m glad this book focused on personal growth rather than Alice’s love for Teddy. That said, I still would have liked Teddy to have found Alice’s birthday card sooner, or more about them starting the non-profit (which, while an amazing thing to do, I felt it was pushed because of Alice’s constant comments on Teddy’s spending).
Despite those two points, I loved Windfall and is definitely on my to-be-read-again list!