I was really hoping that this book would be my next favorite, but it ended up being kind of blah. I'll admit, I was really only interested in this book because the cover is freaking gorgeous. Those colors just spoke to me and I really hoped that the story would be as beautiful as the cover.
The main issue with this book is that it's predictable. Imagine the cliche story about someone winning the lottery and you have this entire book nailed. It has all the elements that someone would usually come up with from the extravagant spending of money, wanting to do something nice for the mom, a gambling father that isn't around, and one best friend in love with the other. Add in the token gay best friend, the fact that the main character is an orphan and I'm sure you could figure out the main plot, if not the entire book.
Unfortunately, the predictability of the story wasn't the only downfall. The main character, Alice, was very hard to connect to. She was perfect in every way imaginable, and not in the good way. She spends a lot of time volunteering at soup kitchens, teaching a child to read, and doing various other charitable things. When she is offered a portion of the winnings, without hesitating she turns it down. What kind of person turns down that kind of money, at least without thinking about it first? She then thinks that she has the right to judge how Teddy spends his money and looks down on him for not immediately donating it to charity.
The romance was also quite bland. You're supposed to root for Teddy and Alice, but honestly I didn't really care for either of the characters. Teddy was not the greatest friend and it was hard to see why Alice was in love with him. As I said before, Alice spends a lot of time telling Teddy what he should do with the money and it almost felt mom-like, which isn't something you want in a relationship that is potentially romantic.
The redeeming qualities of the book were not many, but they were strong. Strong enough to keep me reading and make me nearly cry. Alice has been through a lot due to losing her parents. There was an underlying theme of belonging throughout the book, that really should have been the center focus. The moments between Alice and her relatives were poignant and heartfelt. Seeing Alice's character develop and accept that she no longer had her parents was something I would have liked to have more of a focus on that.
While this isn't my favorite book, it wasn't bad by any means. I wish that certain things, like the romance was less of a focus and there was more of an emphasis on family.