I was a little on the fence going into this book - I've liked Smith's previous books, but they haven't been anything that absolutely blew me away, so my expectations weren't set too high with this book. However, I ended up really loving this book.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith.

The story follows Alice, who, after the illness and death of her mother and then the sudden death of her father shortly thereafter went to live with her aunt, uncle and cousin in Chicago. Even though she's been in the city for 9 years, it still doesn't feel quite like home. She does, however, have some great friends, including Teddy, the guy she's secretly been in love with for 3 years. On the night of his birthday, Alice buys him a lottery ticket - not realizing that the action will change both of their lives forever. Now Teddy is a multi-millionaire and the two don't know how to deal with the rift the money is causing.

I was a little bit surprised to see how deep this story actually was. It addresses grief, especially that of a parent, as well as touching on lower-income families. Teddy's father walked out on him and his mother after gambling away their life savings and they've had to scrounge ever since. There were a couple of moments when I got a little teary-eyed, either with one of this social issues or just with the way it was being portrayed in the story, which really surprised me - it takes a lot to get me to cry in a book.

I think that in general, Smith did a great job describing the outcome after one wins the lottery. I've never personally experienced a win like this, but I would imagine that a lot of the feelings and reactions Teddy has are accurate. I was worried this was going to become the story of how he let everything go to his head and lose everything but Smith made sure Teddy redeemed himself in the end.

What's holding me back from giving this book a full five stars and calling it a new favourite is the romance. Now, like I've mentioned, I've read Smith's books before - I know she can write a romance - so I'm not sure what was going on with this one. First Alice secretly pines after Teddy, then there's a moment of hope he likes her back, but then he dismisses it. Alice is heartbroken as the story goes on and then at the last moment, he kisses her and now they're together? I don't know if I missed a page or something but it was so out of the blue that it didn't seem believable. I'm not even sure they're fully a couple at the end of the book - or just friends who've kissed a couple times.

Overall, this is actually a pretty deep read that for the most part, I enjoyed!