Alice lost both parents when she was 9 years old. She was forced to move from San Francisco to live with her aunt, uncle and cousin Leo in Chicago. Nine years have passed since then; Alice and Leo are now inseparable and have brought fellow classmate Teddy into their fold. While Alice secretly harbors a crush on Teddy, she’s too afraid to let him know. On Teddy’s 18th birthday, Alice decides to play the odds and buys him a lottery ticket, and miraculously he wins. Teddy, also no stranger to hardships, gladly accepts his prize. He goes on spending sprees and enjoys his newfound fame, owing it all to Alice. But when he offers Alice a portion of the winnings, she declines, and a chasm opens between the two.
Jennifer E. Smith’s latest novel will have readers laughing out loud as often as wiping away tears. Alice is easy to fall in love with, from her courage in dealing with her parents’ deaths to insisting on making decisions on her own terms and her ability to adapt when things don’t go as planned. With a tight set of characters, complete with realistic relationships and issues, Windfall fearlessly explores the impact of wealth, particularly when it is sprung on a teen. Smith pulls at readers’ heartstrings as Alice, Teddy and Leo struggle to find themselves in the midst of the unexpected.
A novel with crossover appeal, Windfall is an excellent choice for older teens to read with parents or mentors.