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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.

416 pages, Hardcover

First published May 2, 2017

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About the author

Jennifer E. Smith

18 books7,395 followers
Jennifer E. Smith is the author of nine books for young adults, including The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between, both of which were recently adapted for film. She earned her master's degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and her writing has been translated into 33 languages. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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5 stars
3,153 (20%)
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3 stars
5,292 (33%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,338 reviews
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,482 reviews79k followers
June 6, 2017
I'm feeling rather mid range on this one, but it sure does have a great cover. This was a cute story that I felt I'd read many times before. Full review to come.
Profile Image for Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink.
260 reviews4,948 followers
May 9, 2017
2.5 stars
Part of this is a 'it's you, not me' thing, because the writing was lovely. The author clearly put her heart and soul into this book. Some of the conversations and inner monologue is breathtakingly heart-achingly beautiful.

A certain type of reader will probably hug this book to pieces and cry over it. For me, I'm not exactly a contemporary reader, and this book kinda reminded me why. I have a really hard time dealing with modern day issues because my own life has so many right now - so it's just one of those things. For some reason, I was thinking this was more of a light hearted book, but it really wasn't. It deals with loss, death, some aspects of poverty, and the romance part of it was just really sad IMO. I mean, the ending was cute and all, but I just feel kinda sad and depressed?

I'm not going to retype the synopsis or even summarize it aside from saying it's about a girl who is a 'do-gooder' and her best friend Teddy (whom she's in love with) wins the lottery and basically changes into a total jerk face (even if he realizes it eventually).

65% of the plot is basically us seeing the MC get her hopes up only to be shoved off and brushed over time and time again by Teddy. We watch him make a million dumb asshole mistakes before he finally comes around. SO much of me was raging at how selfish someone could be with the money aspect and the relationship aspects. It literally hurt to read.

There were definitely some pacing issues too. I read the book really fast because I did feel emotionally invested at some points, but over all, not a ton happened to be honest. It's very much about the inner struggle vs. big events happening.

Trigger warning for anyone who has a hard time diving into the aftermath of painful deaths/etc.

It did have a great ending, but all in all, I just feel kinda empty after having read it. I'm glad the characters make some amazing discoveries and decisions, but blah. It just isn't the type of story that works well for me.

I still recommend it to those who love contemporaries who make you think about life/etc.

Thank you to the publisher & blogging for books for giving me a copy of this book to review!

My Blog ~ Instagram ~ Twitter ~ Etsy
Profile Image for Danielle.
832 reviews451 followers
May 13, 2021
A quick YA read about an 18 year old winning the lottery. Definitely predictable, but entertaining none the less. 🤗
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,606 reviews5,989 followers
May 8, 2017
3.5 stars

I'm sure most of us have asked ourselves that question. Spent those millions in our heads as we went to sleep dreaming of hitting it big-time. (If I wasn't so cheap that I never buy tickets..that's beside the point.)

This story is about that big win really happening. To an eighteen year old boy. It's Teddy's birthday and his closest friends Leo and Alice are headed to his birthday party. Alice has been in secret love with Teddy for awhile now...so she buys a card and writes down how she feels. She feels that she needs something to go with it and buys a lottery ticket. Once at the party Teddy opens that card and presently loses it under his fridge. Yep, Teddy is pretty clueless.

Fast forward to the next morning. They realize that ticket was a winning ticket.

One hundred and forty million plus dollars.

Teddy and Alice both have had some hard knocks in life..so you totally are on board with something good happening to these characters.
But then money does change people, no matter how they think it will not.

This was a really cute book. The characters were all like-able..almost to the point where it was over the top.

I mean..dang they are kids. OF course Teddy was going to act a fool with that much money. I'm a whole lot older than he is and I would act a fool. Books for everyone! And Sephora would totally be bought and put in my basement.

I hate when youngun's try to be more mature than I am. That cost this book a star.

Booksource: From the publisher in exchange for review.
Profile Image for Heather.
403 reviews16.9k followers
June 16, 2017
I was pleasantly surprised by this book! I haven't loved Jennifer E. Smith's books in the past a ton so I was weary going into this but ended up enjoying it!
I will reviewing this book in a mashup review video coming next week so be on the lookout for that for more of my thoughts!
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,051 reviews1,049 followers
September 28, 2017

Ms. Jennifer E. Smith’s books have always been just your average contemporary YA romance, at least to me. I have always enjoyed her writing and her plotlines but I haven’t found anything special about them until Windfall which obviously is now my favorite by Ms. Smith.

I find her latest book not only beautifully written, but also heartfelt and inspiring. Usually, I complain about the POVs of her books but not this time. I think the narrative view is perfect for the storyline. I also think the plot surprised me because I haven’t encountered a lot of stories about winning the lottery besides the movie, “It Could Happen to You” so it thrilled me a lot to read a book about a teenaged guy winning a lottery although the story is so much more than that.

In truth, this really is a story of a girl struggling with her painful past, confused with her challenging future and tortured by her unsure present complicated further by her hopeless love for a boy who may never love her back.

“Still, it doesn’t seem like all that much to ask: that the boy I love might love me back.”

*sniffs* You could probably tell how emotionally invested I am in the story and in the characters that are very well-fleshed out, completely dynamic and unpredictable. I love that there were plenty of room for character transformation in the story and even though the book is far from being perfect, I enjoyed every bit of it and several times, the dialogues between Alice and her uncle/aunt managed to form a lump in my throat that easily converted to small drops of tears. I’m looking forward to reading the book again in the near future. ;)
Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,837 followers
September 16, 2017
Full review posted

I think it pretty crazy that Lucky in Love and Windfall share pretty much the SAME plot but they were carried out SO differently

Lucky in Love was a DISATER (even though I love Kasie West) but I could not help but feel like Windfall would be part 2 of the never-ending-tragedy that is becoming contemporary books and I WAS SO CLOSE to taking it off my TBR entirely


I really needed a fun, easy, entertaining, predictable-but-still-engaging read and that’s EXACTLY what Windfall was for me

Compared to lucky in love, EVERYTHING was more realistic. The way teddy handled the money, the way the kids argued, the problems that alice was trying to figure out, the character development and growth. Even the LOVE TRIANGLE wasn’t that bad (and coming from me, that’s saying something BIG)

Even though Windfall is over 400 pages in length (which is like GINORMOUS for a contemporary) I FLEW through it. I’m not even kidding, I read it in less than a day and I was practically entertained the whole way through

The ending was kind of laggy and that’s the reason I dropped a star and a half bc it really could have been condensed more but IM STILL SHOCKED how much I enjoyed this v quick, feel-good read.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s predictable yes, it’s cliché at certain moments yes, but it’s not UNBEARABLE, it’s not ANNOYING, and its most definitely NOT lucky in love, thank goodness for small mercies

3.5 stars!!
Profile Image for Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen).
425 reviews1,641 followers
April 28, 2017
2.5 Stars



Alice is in love with Teddy, her best-friend of nine years. She buys him a lottery ticket for his 18th birthday and they win millions.

That’s the premise of this book, and based off that brief description, you probably have an idea where the story is headed. And you’re probably right. No surprises here, really.

I received an ARC of this through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, thanks to Delacorte Press for the opportunity!


The teenagers feel like teenagers. There are discussions about growing up and the real world that blended seamlessly with Alice’s narrative voice. It was relatable and felt real.

This is all very... aware? I'm not sure how to phrase what I mean. This was my first book by Jennifer E. Smith, and I've heard her books are fairly light. Completely wasn't expecting the characters to get called out on their behavior, or the MC to be explicitly aware of her relationships. Everyone is flawed, and these flaws are discussed. Relationships have problems and the characters communicate.

A surprisingly strong focus on family that I really enjoyed. Especially since it's a more unconventional family.

I loved the end. The last page itself was fantastic. Completely wrapped up the story without showing too much. Andends with a bang.


It’s all just so predictable.

As soon as Alice buys the ticket, you know it’s going to win. (Even if the blurb didn't give it away) As soon as Teddy wins you know he’s going to let it go to his head. Then it will continue like every other feel-good book.

And winning the lottery should never be boring. It took almost 20% of the book for them to even realize they'd won, then spent another large chunk talking about it. We were a third of the way through the book before the money actually entered the picture.

Alice has a brief romance with a random side-character. He wasn’t particularly well-developed, and it’s clear he's her Teddy-stand in. This whole dynamic was boring and cliché to me.

Leo’s whole character really felt like a cliché itself-- token gay best friend who loves art. I mean, I definitely want more LGBT representation, so it feels weird to complain about this, but it was so painfully obvious he was only there to further Alice’s story.

For instance, there are many references to Leo’s boyfriend, Max. But their relationship is never really fleshed out, we are just constantly told how “perfect” Max is.

I get Alice is a sweet and nice and kind person and all that jazz. I don’t need to see her volunteering some place new every other chapter to comprehend that. There were several aspects of her character I liked, but she was too-much of a goody-two-shoes. Who seriously turns down millions of dollars without hesitating? No one’s that ‘nice.’

In Conclusion

As strange as this sounds, I will definitely be checking out more of Smith’s books. The writing was there, the plot was just boring.
Profile Image for Trina (Between Chapters).
872 reviews3,757 followers
May 23, 2017
Interesting premise, some relateable moments, but it just didn't live up to my expectation of it, which tends to be how all of Jennifer E. Smith's books are for me. I also wasn't a fan of the main romance in this book. I LOVED the family dynamics in this book though.

I did listen to the audiobook, and while the narrator did a pretty good job, her male voices were awful and all sounded the same, so my enjoyment of the story may have been influenced by that.

Overall, I think this is a great premise and I don't have anything against it but it came off a bit bland for me.
Profile Image for Archit.
824 reviews3,217 followers
March 17, 2021
What do you do when out of the blue you win a lottery ticket!

Considering you live in a one bedroom house with your mother and she has to sleep on the sofa because you can't afford a better place, winning a million dollars would sound crazy, won't it?

Teddy has been gifted a lottery ticket by his best friend and secret lover, Alice. They have been friends since they were 9 years old. After the brutal death of her parents, Alive lives in her cousin's house. All of them have their own messed up stories and you don't walk on them without knowing how, when and why.

The characters are amiable and cute. There is no way that somebody cannot be instantly friends with them. You get to see strong yet broken families, friendship which is the most powerful theme in this novel, how much can somebody care for you and what changes money brings in you.

I was invested in this book partly because of the sweet and cool narration style and mostly because of the plot. I enjoyed how Alice did not believe in patterns and yet she chooses a lottery number which makes Teddy rich in a blink of an eye.

I would specially like to appreciate the spacing and font size which made the reading experience better for me. I found the pages turning themselves. The cover was super admirable. I could not prevent myself smiling over this.

Although the book started a little slow but caught up the speed pretty fast. It was an interesting time seeing how money changes you and it changes you so quickly.

Recommended to Young Adult readers and Jennifer's fans!
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,304 reviews27.9k followers
July 29, 2017
I guess my expectations were just too high? This book is exactly what you would expect it to be and nothing more. A girl buys her best friend that she's secretly in love with a winning lottery ticket and he goes from being incredibly poor to incredibly rich overnight and it goes straight to his head. Then, character arc, then end. I guess I just expecting something more form this story. My favorite character is Alice's gay brother Leo because he was the most interesting character by far. Other than that this story is 100% forgettable, like most of Jennifer E. Smith's books unfortunately.
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,866 reviews2,240 followers
April 29, 2017
3 stars

We've all had that thought. You know, what you would do if you won the lottery? The choices and actions you would make. This book answers that question, but more like if you won the lottery at a young age.

When Alice buys a lotto ticket for her best friend Teddy on his 18th birthday, the very last thing she expects is for him to win. But he does, making him the youngest lottery winner ever. Since both Alice and Teddy had a less than privileged upbringing, Teddy is overjoyed with his good fortune. They promise things will never change, but money has the ability to change everything....

I enjoyed this what if scenario in a teen book. I think most adult readers going into it can predict what will happen, but for younger readers it's a good lesson on greed, responsibility and friendship. I had a hard time putting this one down, it's a very interesting concept and reads very quickly. What I didn't really care for was Teddy himself, I found him to be selfish and undeserving of most things in his life. And Alice seemed to be a bit of a doormat heroine.

This book will make you want to go out and buy a lotto ticket! A fun, fast read for any age.

An arc was provided by the publisher

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Profile Image for Aditi.
920 reviews1,345 followers
November 16, 2017
“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”

----Dalai Lama XIV

Jennifer E. Smith, am American author, has penned an entertaining and light hearted young adult contemporary story called, Windfall that centers around an orphan teenage girl randomly buying a lottery ticket, but later giving it to the guy, on whom she has a huge crush on, as a gift, who also surprisingly wins the ticket, followed by the winning money drama between the two. But what they together discover is that, money's power is beyond friendships and love, and that it certainly can change things.


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.

Alice, the high school teenager, finds herself blessed with a lottery ticket. But when she gives away that lottery ticket to Teddy, the guy whom she has forever loved secretly, and surprisingly he wins the lottery, she never once regrets it. Instead, she feels glad and happy for him. Orphaned at a tender age, she has been brought up by her deceased father's brother and his wife at their home, where they only gave her ample of love and bounty of opportunity for her better future. Leo, her gay brother, feels that Teddy's win as a remittance to his father's gambling habits that left Teddy and his mother destitute. On the other hand, even though Teddy wanted to share his winning sum with Alice, yet Teddy begins leading a lavish lifestyle on his own. But can Alice live with her random decision? Will she find herself as well as the love in Teddy? Or can Teddy live with such good fortune generously?

This is the first time that I read any books by this author, even though the synopsis sounds but unique, yet it wasn't that compelling enough to draw attention. Still I managed to grab this book and read it cover-to-cover, as I found the story line to be very realistic and entertaining enough to keep me glued to the story. The central story line revolves around how teenagers handle good and sudden fortune in their lives, mainly not to feel overwhelmed, instead to feel humble towards Windfall.

The writing style of the author is okayish but layered well enough and tightly with light emotions, that will hit the readers aptly. The narrative is often engaging but at times, dragged a lot. The pacing of the book is really fast, but then again, the climax will disappoint a bit to the readers. As it felt like the author tried enough to not to paint the story line with any cliched moments, but failed to keep the climax free of a forced-dramatic-happy-ending.

The characters are well developed, but laced depth thoroughly and I felt it difficult to connect with them. Even their demeanor lacked basic emotions to make the readers feel for the story or for their plight. The main character, Alice, is a sympathetic young lady, whose good upbringing makes her a kind and benevolent human being. I bet some teenager might find it hard to relate to her situation, yet Alice can be a good role model. The rest of the characters aren't that interesting enough to strike a chord with the readers. The story itself is fun enough to read and stick to it till the very end.

In a nutshell, this is quite a delight book with a teenage girl giving away her lottery ticket to her crush and later, her crush winning that lottery, and the drama follows after.

Verdict: Subtly captivating and a perfect light read for a lazy afternoon.
Profile Image for Susane Colasanti.
Author 19 books4,015 followers
April 19, 2017
Jennifer E. Smith brings us yet another sweet, sensational story to fall in love with. WINDFALL explores the complexities of friendship, family, and finding your place to belong. Beautifully written and brimming with emotion, this charming book becomes an instant fave.
Profile Image for MaryJane.
319 reviews76 followers
October 16, 2018
This book is the equivalent of a warm summer day.
This book cleared my skin and watered my crops.
It was so pure, and wholesome, and healing in such a cute light-hearted way.

My heart is so full. I am overwhelmed with feelings. I loved everything about it.
Profile Image for Bee.
430 reviews847 followers
April 12, 2017
This is closer to 2.5 that 2 stars.

Things I didn't like:
1) Saint Alice.
The lottery ticket she gives to her best friend for his birthday is the winning ticket and she feels absolutely NO jealously whatsoever! Surely, you'd feel just a modicum of regret and loss that you weren't the winner? Also, she volunteers at a soup kitchen for the homeless, helps children learn to read, and loves helping charities. She's the most selfless teenager ever. While that's commendable, her character fell completely flat because she didn't have any passion. She was ready to judge Teddy for how he was spending the money, but she declined any share of it (without thinking about how her Aunt and Uncle would feel missing out on not having to pay for her college education - she risks putting her family in debt, just so that she can be on the higher ground? Uh....no.) so she has no right to be disappointed when he doesn't immediately start helping charities.

2) Gay Sidekick trope.
Leo is Alice's cousin and his boyfriend Max wants him to go to Michigan uni so they can be together but Leo wants to go to art college. This sub-plot didn't fully emerge until half way through and I feel like it was only included so there could be more conflict. Leo was reduced to Alice and Teddy's sidekick even though they were supposed to be a trio of best friends. While having a gay character is still more than Jennifer's other novels, it wasn't the representation he deserved.

3) 'I'm doing this for my parents and I'm doing this for me.' Uh, no, girl, you're clearly doing this for a boy.
I know we were supposed to believe that Alice's decisions were made based on what she wanted (and what she wanted was to make her parents proud) but I honestly felt like everything she did was so she could be closer to Teddy, so she could improve Teddy's life. The fact that the whole romantic concept of this book is: 'girl fawns over guy, guy doesn't know/treats her like crap but she still loves him. Better guy comes on the scene but her heart is only for douche-guy who she must work to save' was so cliche and made me lose a lot of respect for Alice.

4) Teddy.
It's obvious that a character arc is forced upon him. He needs to go from frivolous douche to lovable idiot for this whole thing to work, right? He's so naive, but we don't get to see him objectively because of Alice's rose-tinted glasses. Although I appreciated his character development in terms of plot, it was predictable.

5) Repetition
There's only so many different reactions you can have to someone winning the lottery, and it's normally always some sort of gasping and disbelief. There's also only so many times I could read Alice telling Teddy off for not being more considerate when it's not up to her to make him a better person! This book was waaay too long for the concept and that's why the sub-plots featuring Leo and Teddy's gambling dad felt see-through. Considering this was Alice's story, I think it would've worked a lot better from Teddy's perspective.

Things I liked:
1) Alice's homelife.
Her parents might have died when she was nine, but she is so loved by her Aunt and Uncle and I really liked the revelations that Alice had at the end, even though they came way too late, and family should've been a much bigger theme in the book.

2) The message of send-it-on.
This doesn't come into play until the end, but I think it had a strong message about money and charity and just being kind. I just wish we'd got that sooner! Why weren't these characters watching Ellen?

So, 'Windfall' isn't my favourite Jennifer E. Smith, and it definitely doesn't portray healthy male-female friendships, but the premise was a blast and I had fun thinking about what I would do with all that money. I'm pretty sure Kasie West has written a book with a lottery winning girl protagonist too, so I'll have to get my hands on that for a comparison!
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,796 reviews486 followers
May 10, 2017
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I really enjoyed reading this fun story. The first thing that really got my attention was the cover of this one. Isn't it gorgeous? After reading the description, I knew that this was a book that I would need to read. I just love the premise. I don't really play the lottery but anytime the jackpot is at an outrageous level, I do buy a single ticket. I know that odds are that I will never win but from the moment I put the ticket in my pocket until the numbers are drawn, I can dream about it. I have some pretty big dreams when it comes to lottery winnings. Usually by the time I find out that I didn't win, I have thought of twenty different plans for handling the money. While I read this book, I really thought about what would I have done if I had that kind of money as a teenager and it wasn't pretty.

Alice, Leo, and Teddy have been best friends for a long time. Alice has been living with her cousin Leo and his family ever since her parents died. Alice decides to get Teddy a lottery ticket for his 18th birthday just because he is now legally old enough to buy a ticket. Teddy is having party in the small apartment he shared with his mother and the whole group celebrates his birthday. The next morning when they hear the numbers that were drawn, they are in for a big surprise.

Alice lost both of her parents when she was only nine years old. She tries to make them proud through her actions. She volunteers at a variety of organizations and is very focused on getting into the college of her dreams. Leo is trying to decide which college he really wants to go to along with figuring out his relationship with Max. Teddy didn't really have a lot of plans before winning the lottery and he has a lot to figure out once he does.

I liked the characters in this story and thought that they felt realistic. Teddy handled everything better than a lot of adults would have but he was impulsive enough that it felt genuine. Alice was very reserved and not quite sure if she was making the right choices. Leo was supportive of his friends but also having a hard time making some of the important decisions that need to be made at this stage in his life.

This story really hits on all of the highs and lows of coming into a sudden fortune. There is also a small bit of romance to keep things interesting. All three of the main characters learn a lot about themselves and each other over the course of the story. They do open up about a lot of things that have been unsaid for a long time.

I would recommend this book to others. It was a fun read that moved quickly. This is only the second book by Jennifer E. Smith that I have read but I do enjoy her writing style. I hope to read more of her work very soon.

I received a review copy of this book from Delacorte Press via Blogging for Books.

Initial Thoughts
This was a really cute story. I can't tell you how many hours of my life I have spent planning out what I would do if I were to win the lottery so it was fun reading about these kids who actually had that happen.
Profile Image for Megha.
284 reviews85 followers
August 18, 2017

It was certainly a pleasant read. Reminded me a lot of Lucky in Love which I literally just read before starting this.

So, Teddy wins a big hefty lottery which was a gift for him from Alice (our main character). Naturally after winning, Teddy starts spending big and that bothers Alice. She is the kind of person who does not like change so when she sees Teddy act different it doesn't sit well with her. Also, she has been in love with him and him not acknowledging those feelings back plays a part in her irritation. Alice is also an orphan who stays with her aunt and uncle.

The whole book Alice pretty much wants to do good so she can validate her parents memories, wants Teddy to spend his money on good and return her feelings. It was kind of frustrating. But it all ended well and good.

I really did like the writing. It was raw and emotional. It made me fly through the book. Overall, it was a pretty enjoyable read.
Profile Image for kate.
1,224 reviews949 followers
April 26, 2017
Windfall was an enjoyable contemporary read, with a depth to it I wasn't expecting.

I think what made this such a pleasantly surprising read, was the fact that the romance wasn't the main focus. Instead the focus was on other aspects; such as family, friendship, love, loss, money and grief. I personally wasn't too invested in the romance itself (I personally would have much preferred it, had it been platonic) but what I did love, was the different family dynamics and the discussions on what family means. It was fantastic to have a cast of characters who, despite having been through a lot separately and not always seeing eye to eye, were all incredibly supportive and caring. Positive and warm family relationships in books get a big tick from me and the family dynamics in Windfall definitely warmed my heart. The variety relationships throughout this book was wonderful, making it an interesting and lovely read. Although I didn't entirely warm to the characters, I liked that they were each an individual, with their own troubles and not simply a vessel for a romantic plot.

If you're looking for a cute but not so fluffy contemporary read; with discussions of family, grief, friendship and growing up, Windfall is something I'd definitely recommend!
Profile Image for Leyna.
57 reviews34 followers
July 22, 2017
Wow was this a great book. It was just so much fun to read, and was really eye opening. It was full of cliches but somehow it just made the book so much more enjoyable. There were a lot of subjects discussed in this book, and I felt that the author could have expanded a bit more on them. The characters were fun and I absolutely adore them all. And I just have to applaud the author for creating an AMAZING main character. She was so relatable, and she reminded me so much of myself. In ways, she's been through the same situations I've been through in my life. I love how the main character is able to be happy, confused, scared, nervous, and lost. It just makes her character so much more well rounded. The ending, and technically the entire message of this book was so positive, I can't stop smiling when I think of it. I recommend this book to anyone who needs a light, fun read.
Profile Image for Eli.
222 reviews98 followers
June 28, 2021
Dieses Buch... WAR WIRKLICH WIRKLICH GUT! Ich habe absolut nichts erwartet, Contemporaries sind immer so eine Sache aber das hier... Ich habe alle Charaktere geliebt (außer Teddy) und fand vor allem Alice wirklich toll und so liebenswert. Man darf sich nicht von dem Cover in die Irre führen lassen, der Plot ist viel tiefsinniger als es den Anschein hat!
Profile Image for Kyla Harris.
345 reviews252 followers
August 8, 2018
Plot - 12/20
Characters - 13/20
Creativity - 14/20
Writing - 14/20
Pace - 8/10
Ending - 7/10
64/100 = C
3/5 stars

No, I won't go out of my way to recommend this but I defiantly didn't hate it. Fast read, amazing beginning I feel like you can just dive into the story but Teddy I tell you... haha anyways: Happy Reading!
Profile Image for Sylvie .
686 reviews959 followers
August 21, 2018

Spoilers ahead!!

I have this weird habit that whenever I start reading a book and know that there’s another book with a very similar plot I read the other one immediately after finishing the previous book. In this case it was Lucky in Love (which I disliked it very much) and I'm glad I read Windfall after that because this was so much better.

This was my second book by Jennifer E. Smith and I have no complaints about it, it was just what I needed to be and more. It was a sweet, hopeful, light but also complex, sad and beautiful at the same time, and that somehow gave me a happy bubbly feeling. The author introduced us to two characters who developed a deep connection because of the tragedies in their pasts, but whose current good fortune could tear them apart. She writes about family, and friendship, and generosity, and second chances, and difficult choices, and possibility, and unrequited love. That's why I like her books, they're not just fluffy but with depth as well.

I think it’s great that the author decided to make the lottery winner the boy (not the main protagonist) and not the girl (the main protagonist), because otherwise this book would have been from his point of view and I didn’t love him that much as a character till I reached the 3/4 of the book.
Alice, Teddy and Leo have been thick as thieves for nearly a decade, thus on Ted's 18th birthday Alice decides to buy him a lottery as kind of a ''joke'', and guess what happened? He won the lottery ''shocking'', it’s not only Teddy’s circumstances that will be radically altered with it but her entire world is at risk of being turned upside down and so it complicates everything for her, for him and for the people around them. Oh, and also she's been in love with Ted for a very long time. Typical but enjoyable, because from friends to lovers is my absolute favorite.
Alice lost both her parents; her mom on July 13th and her dad exactly 13 months later on August 13th, and that's why she's a little superstitious with that number, honestly everyone is superstitious with that number, however I personally think that it's just a number, othing to be weirded out by. After losing her parents her aunt and uncle along with their son Leo took her under their wings and she's been living with them ever since.
Of course the money didn’t magically erase all of Alice and Teddy’s problems (who've been trough a lot and still are). It didn’t rewrite their pasts. It provided opportunities and chances, but it also created problems where none had existed before. And it forced them both to confront things they’d managed to avoid for a long while.

Favorite part:
I loved when they gave each other nicknames; Alice to Teddy: Ted. E. Bear and he to her Al. E. Gator, it showed how close their friendship has gotten over the years. Ted loved Alice, (with whom he’s been best friends for 9 years) in his own way, he didn't show it at first but I knew it all along.

I loved this book! Everything about it. The writing flowed. The characters were complex and believable. The story, powerful. By the end of the book, I was smiling and feeling all giddy, which rarely happens to me with books nowadays.
This was inspiring, heartwarming, and incredibly moving, it wasn't about a love story between two best friends or how to spend millions and millions of dollars after hitting the jackpot, it is a story about love and loss, and about good luck, bad luck, and no luck. It may not makke sense, but it was what the book was about, It’s also about being true to oneself, about taking chances, about moving forward, and about making a difference. It’s an utterly enchanting and totally addictive read that is sure to make the reader smile and make them wonder how their lives might change with a windfall.

This book is for those who believe in luck over fate, one doesn't always has to be dependent on fate but they must give luck a chance too.
Profile Image for Layla (Between the Lines).
612 reviews891 followers
January 26, 2019
“It's not easy, you know? To get the thing you want most in the world in the worst way possible.”

Imagine this: you're eighteen, you're in love with your best friend, and you just won the lottery. Okay, technically he won the lottery, but you're the one who bought him the ticket. What happens next?

Windfall is about the whirlwind of luck and fate experienced by two otherwise unlucky teens, both with their fair share of familial baggage. These characters were authentically developed and relatable, even for someone as old and grumpy as me. I found them all to be likeable, yet flawed, just as humans should be. The side characters could have used a little more development but I am pleasantly surprised at the execution of these characters in general.

In the end I just found myself to be a little bored because the outcome is predictable from the first page. That doesn't mean it isn't worth reading though. It's just lacking the excitement I'm looking for.

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Profile Image for Cesar.
365 reviews237 followers
July 9, 2017
3 stars

Alrighty then, so I had a day to dwell and think about my thoughts and overall feelings on Windfall and I think I'm ready to give out my honest review.

If you've been keeping an eye on my progress of this book, then you would know that I wasn't necessarily happy with a few things.

This is my first Jennifer E. Smith book and I now understand why so many people either like or dislike her books. I'm falling somewhere in the middle after I read Windfall. Believe me, I do have some issues in regards to the characters, but I liked it enough to give it a solid 3 stars. Keep in mind, a 3-star review is fairly positive from my perspective. I may not have liked every bit of it, but a few things did make the book more easy to get through.

Enough about my ramblings, let's get onto why the majority of the readers have mixed reviews on Windfall.

Windfall follows the story of Alice, an 18-year-old who hasn't had the best luck in her life. When she was young, her mother died and a year later, so did her dad, leaving her an orphan. She then moves in with her aunt, uncle, and cousin as she begins to adjust to her new life in a different state. Through her cousin, Leo, she meets Teddy. For the most part, his life was fairly okay until his father spends the majority of their money gambling. He leaves and Teddy and his mother are then forced to live in a one-bedroom apartment where his mom sleeps on the couch and works the night shift as a nurse, leaving Teddy alone most of the time.

Clearly, Alice and Teddy don't have the best of luck when it comes to life. But that all changes when Alice decides to buy Teddy a lottery ticket. And to everyone's surprise, Teddy wins not $1 million, not $2 million, but $140 million!

Their lives are completely changed after that. Teddy can now afford to do things he normally couldn't do and even pay off his father's gambling debts. Even move back into their previous apartment. It all seems fine and dandy. But now, it seems like this newfound wealth is affecting Alice and Teddy in different ways. This windfall is separating them instead of bringing them together.

I'll start off with the pros of this book because it's much more easy for me to write about them.


Family dynamics

There is a theme of family and the closeness of it. The lottery affects not only Alice and Teddy but their families as well. The money opens up a lot of conversations between them and that part really got to me. Alice is an orphan and this sudden change in Teddy makes her question her own life and what she wants to do. Since she lost both her parents, she is scared of things changing. But even through that, she begins to understand that there is more to her life, even if she doesn't know what awaits her. And the heart to heart moments between her and her aunt, uncle, and Leo is just so heartwarming. They are her family, and she loves them.

For Teddy and his mom, I had to admire them both. As soon as Teddy wins the lottery, his mom wants him to put some of that aside for Teddy going to college. It's nice to know she still wants Teddy to achieve his goals while taking care of him. Even Teddy wants to help his mom after everything she has done for him.

Aside from them, we also get to know Leo a bit. It surprised me how I grew to like him. With him, there's this uncertainty going through him with going to the college of his dreams or going to a different college to be with his boyfriend. In a way, I can relate to the uncertainty of certain future events. I worry about them sometimes to the point where it's a bit nerve wrecking, but it isn't bad. I can see myself in Henry and relate to him a lot.


Something I thought was well done is change. Change can be scary for so many people. Change can be both good and bad. A lot of people accept change while others don't. I think Windfall did a good job saying that even when there's a bad change, there's still the possibility of something changing for the good.

Now onto the cons.



I had a hard time liking Teddy for the majority of the book. To me, he wasn't exactly a good character. Not to say he's a bad person, he does care for Alice, Leo, and his mom. It's his attitude that got on my nerves. Sometimes he can be this lovable guy but can be a bit of a dick also.

One that annoyed me the most was his spending. Look, I get that if someone wins the lottery, they want to spend it on things they want. If I won the lottery, I would spend some of that money all for myself. But only on things that I want, like more books, a good house to live in, a nice car (a Tesla), some games, a PS4 (God I want one), and some other things.

Teddy did that, but he also bought some things that he didn't need. Two examples would be a jukebox and a replica of a samurai sword. Do you even need a sword, Teddy? You don't even collect weapons! It made me angry seeing him buy useless stuff he didn't need.


I'll warn you in advance, you are gonna have to suspend your disbelief a lot in this book. There are several moments in this book where I said, "That can never happen." This comes back to Teddy's spending. He may be a millionaire, but some of the things he did don't seem believable, especially for someone of his age.


Yes, even sweet caring Alice got on my nerves a few times. Not as much as Teddy, but a few times. When Teddy won the lottery, he wants to give half of the winnings to Alice since she bought the ticket. Except Alice doesn't take the money. Which astounds me. To Alice, the money is a change she isn't ready for. Which is understandable, her life did change when her parents died. But still, she is offered money which she can do a lot of good with. Donate to charities, go to different countries to help kids, maybe even have that money for college and a decent house. But no, she declines it.

She didn't even have to take it all. She could've taken a $1 million or 2 at least. Come on Alice, get it together girl.


I'll be blunt: I did not like the romance between Alice and Teddy. I felt nothing for them. Teddy was a bit of a dick on some occasions and Alice pines for Teddy because of reasons.

End of Pros and Cons

I do think that this book would've been a lot better had Jennifer decided to change a few things. Because like I said, it isn't a bad book overall, but some of the cons may turn off a lot of people. I know most of my Goodreads friends were mixed on this.

But one thing I will give props to is the feeling of gratitude. Think back on your life and ask yourself, what am I thankful for. Becuase while I had mixed feelings on Windfall, it did make me feel thankful for what I have.

I'm thankful I have a car. I'm thankful I have an apartment. I'm thankful I can go to college. I'm thankful I have a loving family.

This video on gratitude should help a lot. I definitely recommend watching it. It really opens your mind on gratitude.


There were parts of the book I didn't like, even the characters, but overall, I liked it. I liked the family dynamics and the theme of change. Those two are the strongest aspects of the book. Would I recommend it? It's best to get this from your local library.

Thanks for reading my review!

Profile Image for Lisa (lifeinlit).
695 reviews469 followers
April 7, 2017
It's no surprise that a contemporary-loving reader like myself enjoys Jennifer E. Smith's writing. She's actually one of my favorite contemporary writers. I adore how she's able to keep a book on the light and fluffy side, yet address very real and sometimes difficult issues so effortlessly in the process. Windfall was exactly that.

Alice, Leo and Teddy... the Three Musketeers. Each struggling through his or her teenage years dealing with a boatload of stress. Alice lost both of her parents at the young age of 9 and was taken in by her aunt, and uncle and cousin Leo, where she's lived most of her life. Though it's been nine years since their death, Alice is still struggling to live the life they would have wanted her to live, making them proud at every turn. Teddy lives with his mom in a tiny apartment after his father, who suffers from a gambling addiction, took the family's savings and left them. Teddy feels a strong desire to always take care of his mother and do the best he can as a son. Then we have Leo, who is struggling to understand why he's had it so "easy" all of his life, compared to his two best friends. Even his process of coming out to his parents about his sexuality went smoothly and perfectly. So why is everything so easy for him when it's so hard for his besties?

From here, (as you can gather from the title and synopsis) Alice gives Teddy a lottery ticket as a birthday present on his eighteenth birthday. This just so happened to be the winning ticket... and Teddy won over 100 million dollars. (Can you even imagine?!) As you can imagine, life is going to change... for everyone in Teddy's life. This is where alllllll of the fun begins. ;)

These three were the best of friends, and I adored the friendship they shared. Always having each other's back through everything, whether they were on-board with the specific decisions or not. Friendship is STRONG in this story, and that's a major plus for me!

“[...] Sometimes, through good luck or bad, through curses or fate, the world cracks itself open, and afterward nothing will ever be the same.”

I loved how despite this being a very light and fun read, it addressed several very sensitive and emotional topics. I really enjoy when an author can bring in such important topics, yet not make them feel forced and inserted haphazardly into a story. The way these issues were addressed was really quite perfect. It never changed the tone of the story, yet had me thinking on several different issues and what I would have done in a similar situation. Any author that can make me think while making me smile is a gem!

“We have all sorts of words that could describe us. But we get to choose which ones are most important.”

This coming-of-age story is definitely one to add to your list. While I wasn't blown away by it, I was definitely touched, and I loved how it made me think so much. Life isn't perfect, we're all well aware of that... but having the hope that things WILL be okay is something I always try to remember. Whether you believe in luck or fate, I believe this story will leave a lasting impression on you.


(Thanks to Delacorte Press for the review copy!)

Find this review and others like it at Lost in Literature!


Profile Image for Asheley T..
1,336 reviews118 followers
October 19, 2019
I can't say that I've ever thought about winning a lottery, but Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith will give readers the opportunity to daydream about just that. Eighteen-year-old Teddy ends up winning 141 million dollars from a ticket given to him by his best friend Alice and suddenly, his life completely changes.

Teddy isn't a stranger to hardship. He lives in a one-bedroom apartment with his mother because his father gambled all of their money away, then left. When Teddy wins enough money to change their lives, he is elated. And, of course, he begins to make changes to their lives instantly. But does the money change him instantly? Teddy doesn't think so - but Alice might think a little differently. She adores Teddy for who he already is, so when he suddenly begins to act differently, dress differently, and toss money around like he's always had it - well, it makes her pretty uncomfortable.

Alice knows hardship too: she lost both of her parents within about a year of one another. When they died, she had to move from her home in California to live in Chicago with her aunt, uncle, and cousin. She has grieved them since they died, and ultimately she has trouble discerning whether or not she is living her best life or the life she thinks her parents would have wanted for her.

Ultimately, Teddy has to figure out how he wants to spend the money and who he wants to become as a person with money. And Alice has to work out her feelings for Teddy and what she wants to do with the rest of her life. It may not seem so, but this is all interconnected and it is wonderful.

I love the way the author takes these topics that really could be super-heavy and places them in her story gently so we don't feel overburdened with sadness or grief or anything like that, but we are indeed fully invested. She makes the story fun and funny but at the same time, she doesn't shy away with all of the "serious" that Teddy and Alice are going through. The universe has dealt them some pretty crappy hands and we are here to witness their story. There are no twists here to shake up the story. What we are getting is exactly what is on the page, and I love that.

This is a story with a romance, but that doesn't push romance in our faces. It is there, but it doesn't overshadow anything. This is great, because the way the romance portion of the story works out is weaved into the rest of the plot. Alice experiences feelings that are a little clumsy and awkward and full of that longing that we all know, and Teddy's actions often (but not always) make us want to say WHAT ARE YOU DOING! but everything comes together so well. In the meantime, there are great family relationships written in (LOVE this) and these characters have wonderful support systems to help them through everything. I really did love seeing how this one worked itself out. And I couldn't put this book down while I was reading, which is pretty standard for me when reading a book by this author.
Profile Image for Syndi.
2,990 reviews689 followers
June 29, 2017
this book is ok. its about money and luck. money is not everything, u people. and money can turns into dangerous thing in an immature hands.

our heroine is a brave young girl. she is in love with teddy. and with a little luck called lottery, her destiny change. she is very mature beyond her age.

i feel this book lacks of something. it feels bland a bit. but overal i enjoy it.
Profile Image for Kirsty Hanson.
313 reviews55 followers
April 24, 2017
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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