Published On: May 2, 2017/May 4, 2017 (UK)
Published By: MacMillan
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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.
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
Jennifer E Smith has done it again with another adorable, fun contemporary. I've been a bit hit or miss with her work before, some I have loved and others not so much, but I absolutely loved this story. The plot was fun, the romance was cute, the characters were great and we got the perfect amount of depth and emotion to balance out the fun and pull on your heartstrings.
I loved the premise of this book. When a book starts out with winning the lottery, you know you're in for a rollercoaster journey and it was such a fun journey to go on. Who doesn't want to win the lottery? It was such an enjoyable aspect of the book, particularly getting to see Teddy spending the money on some really thoughtful, and sometimes just extravagant, things. It was also a really great way to introduce some of the deeper topics, which I think was done really well.
As well as the lottery aspect of the story, we have the adorable romance. I love friends to lovers stories and I loved the way this one was written as you never really knew if they would ever end up together, I couldn't predict the outcome at all. Alice and Teddy's friendship is so important throughout the book and I think the fact that it wasn't ignored in favour of the romance aspect really emphasised how important it is. They never lose their friendship, no matter how much they argue, which I think is really special. I didn't think the addition of Sawyer as another love interest was all that necessary but I did like his character.
All of these characters are great and have some relatable aspects. I enjoyed Alice as a main character, I could relate to her a lot. She developed a lot throughout the book and this was one of my favourite things about it. She discovers so much about herself through her best friend's lottery win and becomes her own person. I loved all of the side characters and family members but Leo was a particular favourite. His sarcastic comments never failed to make me laugh. I specifically liked the fact that his being gay wasn't a big deal. I find so often that author's are trying so hard to make their characters diverse that there is such an emphasis on a character being gay and often a lot of stereotypes are introduced. I really enjoyed reading about an average guy with boyfriend troubles learning how to make love work.
There is an emphasis on family within this book that I think is incredibly important. Alice talks about feeling like an island since her parents died and this analogy develops as the plot does. Alice's struggles with finding home and family really highlight the fact that family does not always mean in the traditional sense. We have two different 'non-traditional' families and the love they all show one another throughout the book is important in showcasing that family can look different to everyone.
As I mentioned, this book deals with the fun of spending all this lottery money but we also get the depth and emotion to balance this out. There are some tough subjects discussed, essentially within the context of winning the lottery. Prominently, we have Alice still struggling with her grief after her parents died 9 years ago. It was so unique the way this lottery win was used to help Alice delve into her past, open up about her struggles and begin to move on and live her own life. I don't cry at book all that often, I'm more of a tear up kind of person, but there were so many moments throughout this book where the tears were rolling down my face. That's when you know a book has had an emotional impact.
Overall, I think this was a great contemporary story from Jennifer E Smith. I laughed, I cried, I swooned over the adorable romance and got frustrated by Teddy's outrageous spending. I was emotionally invested in this story and these characters, and thoroughly enjoyed experiencing both develop. I would definitely recommend picking this up if you are a fan of Jennifer E Smith, or contemporary in general.