Monday, May 1, 2017

Windfall by Jennifer E Smith

Title: Windfall
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: PanMacmillan

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.
Review by Nara

When I got sent Windfall for review, I had actually never heard of the novel before. I had heard of Jennifer E Smith, of course, for her fluffy/feel-good contemporary romances, and I assumed that Windfall was probably another of these. I normally don't read blurbs, but for once I actually bothered to read the one for Windfall and was quite intrigued by the premise of a teenager winning a lottery for her friend/crush. At the same time, I was a bit wary in terms of how much drama might arise.

I think Windfall was about at the level that I expected in terms of Jennifer E Smith's novels. Light but without a lot of depth- which of course isn't necessarily a bad thing (e.g. look at Kasie West's novels). The story was quite realistic, in line with what I would expect may happen if a teenager wins the lottery, and the pace of the plot is quick enough that you could read the novel in one sitting. The only problem when a novel is quite romance focused is that I very much seem to judge the quality of the novel in line with how much I like the love interest, and the one in Windfall was not the best.

I disliked the love interest Teddy basically the entire novel. He was extremely selfish and self-centred, and winning the money really only made him worse. I don't even know that he was redeemed that much even in the end, because the "redeeming" factors seemed to come out of nowhere. On the other hand, the relationship between Teddy and Alice actually wasn't bad. I didn't necessarily actually ship them (because I disliked Teddy), but their interactions were cute at times (when they weren't super frustrating...). The other secondary characters were pretty decent- Leo, Alice's cousin, was especially great and supportive.

Overall, a pretty decent contemporary romance. If you've liked Jennifer E Smith's previous novels, you will probably like this one too.

Liked it
Overall: 7/10
Plot: 3/5
Romance: 2.5/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Cover: 3/5