A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Windfall, another charming romance by Jennifer E. Smith (The Geography of You and Me), is centered on two teens who have endured family traumas and who see their lives changed by a winning lottery ticket. Alice lost her parents in rapid succession, one to illness and the other to a car crash. Teddy is estranged from his father, a gambling addict who abandoned his family after losing their savings and home. Leo lives with a strong, supportive family (they've taken in Alice, his cousin), but he's struggling to maintain a long-distance relationship with his boyfriend. The romance is light and sweet, with just a bit of kissing but an abundance of thoughtful, caring interactions.
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What's the story?
WINDFALL begins with Teddy's 18th birthday party. Alice, who has harbored a secret crush on her best friend for years, marks the occasion by giving him a lottery ticket. They're shocked when he's one of three winners of the $140 million jackpot, changing their lives overnight. The happy-go-lucky Teddy she grew to love is suddenly more distant than ever, enjoying his newfound fame and riches. Alice and Teddy had supported each other through extraordinary ordeals: the untimely death of Alice's parents and Teddy's father's ruin and abandonment of his family. As a devoted do-gooder, Alice is dismayed to see Teddy increasingly absorbed by his fortune. She's never believed much in luck, and Teddy's windfall increasingly appears to be more trouble than it's worth.
Is it any good?
This romance unfolds slowly and as you might expect -- but the real pleasure here is in seeing Alice, Teddy, and Leo challenged to reexamine who they think they want to be. Windfall is a long 400-plus pages, but readers will enjoy the time with Alice, who has a kind but aching heart. Her romantic interest in Teddy, a classically rakish character, is less absorbing than the big questions Alice wrestles with.
Author Jennifer E. Smith takes a fresh look at the question of what you might do if you were rich, and teases out new threads: What if you had a chance to share in a friend's good fortune? If you've been dealt some terrible hands, can you accept good luck? If you've never suffered misfortune, should you feel guilty? What responsibility do we have to share good fortune with others? Windfall is a great conversation starter for families.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the enduring appeal of romances like Windfall. Do you like stories of seeing how two people get together, or do you prefer will-they-or-won't-they plots?
If you've read other stories by Jennifer E. Smith, how does this compare? What similarities do you see among her female main characters?
What do you think you'd do if you won the lottery?
- Author: Jennifer E. Smith
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, High School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Delacorte Press
- Publication date: May 2, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
- Number of pages: 432
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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