Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Blog Tour + #Giveaway: Girl on the Ferris Wheel by Julie Halpern & Len Vlahos @XpressoTours

Girl on the Ferris Wheel
Julie Halpern, Len Vlahos
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: January 12th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

In Girl on the Ferris Wheel, Julie Halpern and Len Vlahos expertly tackle this quirky and poignant romance that explores what first love really means—and how it sometimes hurts like hell.

Tenth graders Eliana and Dmitri could not be more different. He’s an outgoing, self-confident drummer in a punk band called Unexpected Turbulence. Eliana is introspective and thoughtful, and a movie buff who is living with depression.

Dmitri quite literally falls for Eliana when he sees her in gym class and slams into a classmate. The pair then navigate the ins and outs of first love. Exciting, scary, unexpected, and so much more difficult than they ever imagined. They say opposites attract, but they soon realize that there is so much they just don’t understand about each other. It begs the question: How long can first love possibly last when you’re so different?

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I don’t think I’ll ever get over the fact that my guidance coun- selor’s name is Mr. Person. Is that his real name? Would someone who chose the field of guidance counseling give himself an alias? What if he had to? What if Mr. Person is not merely a guidance counselor? By day, he sits in his five foot by five foot, poorly lit office, weaving his schedule-balancing magic. By night? He squeezes his desk-trapped gut into figure-flattering spandex and flies around the city of Minneapolis, valiantly moving people’s cars out of unexpected snow tow zones.

“What brings you here today, Eliana?” Mr. Person knows my name without looking into my file. Mr. Person keeps my file in a special place on his desktop for easy access. This is not my first visit to Mr. Person’s rodeo. (Maybe he’s a rodeo clown?)

“I want to drop out of physics,” I tell him. This sounds as pathetic to me as I feel. “Dropping out” is such an extreme expression, like first it’s physics, and then high school, and then I’m competing with Girl Scouts outside the local Walgreens for spare change. But I don’t have any cookies to sell because I also dropped out of Girl Scouts!

“You don’t like Ms. Keeter?” He assumes. I have left three classes since my freshman year based solely on negative teacher vibe. Not this time. “No, she was fine. She seemed to know what she was doing.”

“Glad to hear that.” Mr. Person barely contains his sarcasm. Let it out, I say. The more the merrier.

“I got a C on a test,” I admit.

He waits for more. I have no more. “So I want to drop out,” I say, hoping that he understands. “Eliana, a C on a test is hardly reason to drop out of a class. Have you never received a C before?” Mr. Person clicks on his keyboard. A piece of me is bummed he doesn’t have my grades memorized.

“I’m sure I have. At some point.” I pretend I don’t remember the exact test and date (seventh grade, algebra, I had a 103 fever that day and argued for a retest).

“A C is average, Eliana, and it’s just one test. I’m sure you will do even better on the next one. Why don’t you give it another couple of weeks—”

I cut him off. “Mr. Person, it will be midterms in a couple of weeks. I don’t want to do better. I want out. I don’t like physics. I don’t get physics. I won’t use physics. Just get me out of the class.” He looks down at me scoldingly until I add, “Please?”

“You need at least one more science class before you graduate to fulfill your requirements.” He does his keyboard clicking thing again. I am nearly certain he is not looking at my file but playing Words with Friends.

“I’m only a sophomore. I can take an earth science next year. That will be more practical. I live on Earth. For now.” My head takes me to that sweet place where Doctor Who arrives in the TARDIS just outside Mr. Person’s office to whisk me to a far-off planet where I won’t need a guidance counselor to reschedule my day into a slightly more bearable state than it is currently in.

Mr. Person rudely interrupts. “I have another appointment in three minutes, Eliana. Do you really need to leave physics?” Click. Click. Clickety click click.

“Would I be wasting your time, Mr. Person, if I didn’t really need something?” I realize I’m potentially setting myself up for a roasting, but Mr. Person knows this is a battle he will not win. Not without his spandex suit, anyway.

He puffs out a deflated sigh, does his clicking magic, and pres- ents me with this option. “If we don’t want to rearrange your entire schedule, and I really do not want to do that, we need to fill your third period.”

I’m about to spew a truly inappropriate joke about maxi pads when Mr. Person saves me. “Looks like your only two choices are study hall or the Art and Craft of Cinema.”

“I thought that class was filled! I tried to get into that last year.”

“I recall that appointment,” Mr. Person nods, and I flash back to how I completely lost myself and both cried uncontrollably and called Mr. Person a dicktag when he couldn’t make that happen. I guess he would remember that.

“Is there really an opening?”

“Looks like someone dropped out last week. Maybe they gotaC.”

I ignore the guidance counselor sass and relish the rare good fortune. “Can you put me in? Please?” I smile my brightest fake smile at him, which makes no sense because this moment is totally deserving of a real smile, but sometimes my face just can’t make the leap. Click click and click. “Done. You are now a physics class dropout and a film student. Your future’s looking bright, Eliana.”

I sneer at him in that charming way I have and say, “Thank you, Mr. Person. Your guidance counseling skills are once again top notch.”

“I’ll put that on my tombstone,” he retorts.

I leave the tiny office with a reprinted schedule in hand and a spring in my step. Stuff like this never happens to me. I’m out of physics and in film class? That’s luck. That’s kismet. That’s actu- ally good news.

I stop my bouncy walk.

What terrible crap is going to happen to balance it out?

Author Bio:

Julie Halpern is the award-winning author of seven young adult novels, one novel for adults, and one picture book for young readers. In her imaginary spare time she enjoys traveling, making cosplay for her kids, and eating baked goods. Julie lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Caldecott-winning author and illustrator Matthew Cordell, and their two children.

Len Vlahos dropped out of NYU film school in the mid ’80s to play guitar and write songs for Woofing Cookies, a punk-pop four piece that toured up and down the East Coast, and had two singles and one full-length LP on Midnight Records. After the band broke up, he followed his other passion, books. He is the author of The Scar Boys, a William C. Morris Award finalist and a #1 Indie Next pick, and Scar Girl, the book’s sequel. Len lives in Denver with his wife and two young sons, where he owns the Tattered Cover Book Store.


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Giselle said...

Thanks for sharing! :)