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In Jennifer E. Smith's WINDFALL, readers are introduced to teenagers Alice, Leo and Teddy. The three have been best friends for a long time---in fact, 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 shares with his mother and the whole group celebrates his birthday together. The next morning when they hear the numbers,  they are shocked to learn that Teddy has won!

Alice lost both of her parents when she was only 9-years-old. Because she cannot see them, she tries extra hard 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. Similarly, Leo is trying to decide which college he really wants to go to along with figuring out his relationship with Max. Teddy, however, doesn't really have a lot of plans, so his mega-win is quite the, well, windfall. Of course, no good thing happens without any complications and Teddy will soon learn that his win comes with a lot of losses.

"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 favorite."

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, like a real teen. Alice was very reserved and not quite sure if she was making the right choices. I believe that lots of teenage girls will relate to her desire to do good and uncertainty when it comes to rea life. 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. Readers will love watching as they open up about a lot of things that have been unsaid for a long time. Smith does not hold back here, but she does not weigh the plot down with useless details, either. Truly, WINDFALL is a pitch-perfect young adult novel with all of the highs, lows and life lessons that readers have come to expect and the plot twists and character arcs that keep the book original.

In WINDFALL, Jennifer E. Smith delivers 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 will become an instant favorite.

I would recommend this book to teens who enjoy contemporary romances with a fun twist. It was an enjoyable 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.

Reviewed by Audrey Slater on May 10, 2017

by Jennifer E. Smith