The Windfall App by Teresa Richards
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Marina Berghman is a classical piano prodigy with parents who’ve had her life mapped out since she was in diapers. But their plan leaves no room for her secret love of alternative rock, or Sean, the edgy guitarist who recently moved to town.
When Marina buys a lottery ticket on her eighteenth birthday via the new Windfall app, she expects it to be nothing more than a rite of passage. But she wins—the grand prize of five thousand dollars a day, for life. Suddenly given the means to break free from a life she never felt in control of, she’s quick to cut her family ties and turn her back on everything she knows.
But her lottery win was no lucky break. Her prize comes with strings attached, and Marina soon finds herself at the center of someone else’s life or death game. When she discovers evidence linking her dad to the intrigue, she turns to Sean for help. But he’s harboring secrets of his own. Now Marina must sort out who to trust and who’s pulling the strings, before her prize turns into a noose.
This book is a page-turner! I started to realize pretty quickly that all was not right with this lottery. While it's fun to read about how logical Marina spends her winnings, the underlying dread is what propels this story forward. Whether it's someone following Marina home one night or the flirty yet slightly creepy anonymous texts she gets, these were the little things that kept me from being able to put the book down.
The romance in the book is sweet and well-written. I also really loved the setting. San Francisco figures so prominently in the book that it made me want to visit. And Marina's best friend Darya is such a great character that I wish there was a spin-off novel that starred her! If you're looking for a fast-paced book with all the elements of a great YA, this is a perfect choice.