I’m not sure about you, but I’ve really been enjoying YA lately. I mean, I always enjoy the genre except after a few back-to-back reads it tends to blend together and become monotonous. Windfall is now the fifth YA book that I’ve read over a relatively short period of time, so it’s lovely to be writing this review on a positive note instead of being my usual troll-like self after binge reading from the genre.
And just in case you missed that little spoiler – this is a POSITIVE review, because Oh My Fuzzies, I loved this book!!
*Thank you to the awesome people from Pan Macmillan South Africa for sending me a review copy of this book*
Let luck find you.
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.
As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined…and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.
When I saw the cover of this book for the very first time, and then turned the book over to read the blurb; my initial thought was that it seemed like a cute, fluffy story to get lost in for a couple hours, and then forget about as soon as I finish the last page. I thought it would be something nice to pick up when I didn’t want anything too complex…
So imagine my surprise to find that this book was anything but light and fluffy – although, granted there are parts that lean towards those descriptions. However, as a whole, Windfall deals with some pretty complex matters, and has a depth to it that I very much appreciated.
From the blurb, we learn that Teddy wins the lottery, and his life literally changes over night. The book follows him on his journey of discovering the consequences of this lucky break, and we come to see how quickly it could all slip through his fingers.
Windfall focuses on money and how it cannot buy happiness; but among other things it touches on family dynamics, friendship, love, loss, death and self-discovery. So much can be taken from this book and can be applied to real life situations. It’s always refreshing on the soul to dive into these kinds of stories and build a connection with the characters that taught me so much.
Speaking of characters, I thought each and every one in this book was brilliantly written.
The narrator, Alice, is such a dimensional character and through the book we see how she allows herself to change even though it is difficult for her to do this. She spends most of her free time volunteering at charitable organisations, she is a real good friend and even though she frustrated me at times (for example, I couldn’t really understand her attraction to Teddy) it was always explained at a later point what her intentions were during those moments.
Alice’s family was also wonderfully written. If Jennifer E. Smith wrote a book about Leo, I would be all over that because I really adored his character. But I also enjoyed the adults in this story; they said some pretty heavy things throughout the book that really stuck with me. An example would be something her Aunt Sofia said:
“Well, it’s not easy, you know? To get the thing you want most in the world in the worst way possible.”
It may not sound like it has much depth to it, but when read in context that line about tore my heart to pieces…
The only gripe I had about this book was with the male love interest, Teddy. I just couldn’t understand Alice’s fascination with him and he really annoyed me at certain points in the book. But after thinking about it a little more, I’ve come to realize that all his flaws makes him real. I imagine him as a real person in the world because of how imperfect he is. I see him in a different light now; even though I would have much preferred the relationship between these two characters to be totally platonic.
By the end of this book I was truly touched. I completely fell in love with Jennifer E. Smith’s writing and her characters are so wonderful too. Windfall completely swept me off my feet, and it is a book I can highly recommend.
I gave Windfall a 5/5 star rating.
*This book was sent to me by Pan Macmillan South Africa in exchange for an honest review.*