Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

What would you do if you won £140 million? This is the question that kept circling around in my head as I read this book. That’s a lot of money. And me saying that it’s a lot of money is a massive understatement. I’ve never understood why the lottery even exists… Surely, a better way for those jackpot amounts to be spent would be for the government to build a homeless shelter? Or even better yet, to buy homeless people homes and food and clothes? Not to give that money to someone who probably doesn’t need it… Well, that’s what this story is about…

Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.

This is such an interesting book. It took me a while to get into at first because the character of Teddy just really annoyed me. He seemed really cocky and self-centred, but over the course of the book, I started to like him, just because of how Alice changed him into a better person. He was just spending them money on such ridiculous things, and I just had to roll my eyes at some occasions like “oh course he did that… What a cliché”. I did like how Alice tried to knock some sense into him, but when he did finally do good with his money, it felt like he was helping people because he felt like he had no choice? It didn’t feel like he wanted to help people with it, he just did it because he didn’t want to upset Alice.

Also… Sawyer…? He just seemed unnecessary and I felt really really sorry for him. He was incredibly nice to Alice, cheered her up, was there for her when she needed someone and what does he get back? Nothing. A big fat pile of nothing. She just treats him like rubbish and I just wanted to slap her. She preaches about helping people, but then dismisses Sawyer whenever Teddy came along. Nope. Not nice at all.


“”Tell me this,” she said. “When you think of Harry, what’s the first words that comes to mind?” 

Leo’s answer arrived right away: “Wizard.”

“Exactly. So he’s an orphan and a wizard. Both things are true, right?”


“Well, that’s how it is for all of us. We have all sorts of words that could describe us. But we get to choose which ones are most important.””

– Jennifer E. Smith, Windfall


My favourite character was definitely Leo. I loved how he was gay, but Smith didn’t make him into the stereotypical gay character that you sometimes see in Young Adult novels. I also loved one of the choices that Leo made about half way through the book. It must have been so hard for him, but I’m glad that he made it because it was what was best for him. However, I would have liked to see the character of Leo a little bit more; I felt like he was pushed to the sidelines a little bit whenever Teddy and Alice were there and like Sawyer, Alice just took advantage of knowing that Leo would always be there for her.

As you can tell, all of my moaning is about the characters. Teddy and Alice just fell a little flat for me. The plot itself was amazing. I loved the whole concept of it and it really got me thinking about what I would do with that amount of money. I bet you’re surprised that I gave this book 4 stars… The only reason it isn’t three is because of the plot and how the story was very plot-driven which meant I sped through this book because I just wanted to see what would happen. I would probably say that it is more like 3.5… But 4 will have to do. I do recommend this book but just go into it knowing that the characters aren’t the best.

Disclaimer: this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Released 2nd May

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