Welcome all to the Blog Tour for Girl on the Ferris Wheel written by Julie Halpern and Len Vlahos! A book about first love with a gorgeous cover and I am delighted I am part of the tour! dances
For today’s tour I got an excerpt (Eliana’s POV), a giveaway (open US only, sorry), and book/author information.
Let’s get this tour started~
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?
Buy this book here: Amazon
About the Julie Halpern:
Find her here:
About the Len Vlahos:
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.
Find him here:
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.
Itake my time walking the one-point-two miles home from school. No matter how painful the heft of my backpack, the pinching cold of the weather, or the size of the hole worn into the
bottom of my ratty and beloved Chucks, I always take my time walking home from school. School equals nearly two thousand people bumping into me in the hallway, gagging me with body spray in the locker room after gym class, and answering every inane question in English Lit with “Is that going to be on the test?” I shuffle up so many stairs behind groups of people who find it necessary to walk with their friends in a spread-out line, as if they’re playing Red Rover and Eliana can’t come over, making me late for class. I buy Nutty Buddies for lunch out of a vending machine in order to gain myself solo time in a desolate corner of the library, only to find a jock couple making out. I cannot find any space in which to be alone. Anywhere. Ever. It’s no wonder I can’t manage to keep my depression at bay.
When I arrive home, shoulders aching from the weight of the books in my bag, I unlock the front door in slow motion. The instant I click and open the door, I am bombarded. “Hey! Ellie’s home!” It’s my dad, who is also home. All of the time. Like, every second of every day and night. He used to run his own business, previously a video store when videotapes were a thing, which, out of necessity, morphed into a DVD store, which then, also out of necessity, closed when people stopped renting DVDs. I hate all of the people who stopped renting DVDs, because now not only do we have a basement filled with old DVDs that my dad con- stantly watches and fails to sell over the Internet, but my dad has nowhere to go. In the three years since his store closed, he hasn’t found another job that holds his interest enough. Hence, the “Dad-is-always-home” situation. He is a fine dad and tries to be helpful when Mom is at work (high school science teacher and traveling basketball team referee), which is most of the time. But since I’m the eldest of five, it feels like the moment I get home he wants me to be second mommy. I have no plans to have any chil- dren of my own after witnessing four home births, so is it really my responsibility to take care of my siblings?
I know. I’m an asshole. I’m a horrible person for not wanting to help my bumbling dad and my hardworking mom and my four poor, defenseless brothers and sisters. I hate me, too.
Before I can make it up the stairs and into my tiny bedroom sanctuary, there is family to attend to.
“Hey, guys,” I say, depositing my backpack next to the front door. My shoulders thank me.
The littlest ones, Ava and Asher, always greet me first. “Ellie!” they scream, and ram me with hugs. Asher, the youngest at five, is a professional cuddler, but Ava always manages to jab me with a sharp part of her body—an elbow, a knee, and in this case a chin straight to my gut. I resist the natural urge to vomit into her curly rat’s nest of hair. “We made weather predictors in school today.” Ava extracts her chin from my abdomen and thrusts into my face a paper plate dotted with scribbly images of four weather conditions: sunny, rainy, snowy, and cloudy. She uses the arrow mounted with a brad in the center to mark “sunny.” “See? Now you always know what the weather is.”
I stop myself from commenting on how it would be just as easy to look out the window for the same effect. Because the project is sweet, and so is Ava, which is why it is all the more painful that I can’t muster up the energy to care. Will she recognize my forced smile? “That’s great, Ava. Put it on the fridge so you can set it every morning before we get dressed.” She scuttles over to the refrigerator and fails at all attempts to hang the paper plate with a weak Wall Drug magnet. Asher regales me with a story about a kid throwing up at recess into the twisty slide, and I nod enthusiastically while a part of me dies inside at the prospect of another round of the stomach flu going through the house.
My ten-year-old brother, Isaac, and thirteen-year-old sister, Samara, sit at one end of the dining room table doing their home- work. The other end of the table is strewn with jigsaw pieces and half of a completed puzzle exhibiting a pyramid of old tin cans, a family project meant to keep idle hands busy. I used to have a passion for the puzzles, but these days I only manage to build the border before I tire of the physical and social exertion that comes with putting together a puzzle with four brothers and sisters and a dad with no life.
“Hey,” I say. “Need anything?” I ask this out of habit, out of guilty obligation for my mom and pity for my dad.
“Nah.” Isaac shrugs. Samara doesn’t even bother with words, just a lazy dismissive wave. My cue to grab my backpack and escape to my room.
The original parental plan was to give me, the eldest and wisest of the spawn, the basement when I turned into a “woman” post bat mitzvah. Thanks to my dad’s career choice and the world moving on without him, the basement was handed over to four thousand seven hundred twenty-three inanimate objects. The only option to claim any space of my own in our three-bedroom house was to move into the meager walk-in closet attached to the Sisters Room (what we call the girls’ bedroom in the house, even though it has a somewhat terrifying polygamist-sounding title). I fit in a single futon mattress plus a compact IKEA bookshelf. Lucky for me there is a small, octagonal window in the closet, so I can tell what time of day it is as well as estimate the weather without a paper plate.
It’s not as bad as I’m making it sound. Except on those days when I just want to be alone. Which is pretty much most days. I feel like my medication should take care of that more than it does.
I struggle past my sisters’ bunk bed with my backpack and heave it onto my futon mattress, pulling my door closed. Solitude. I click on the overhead bulb and the string of Jack Skellington lights I bought at Walgreens for ambience. The small and high window provides little actual light. I have often imagined whether I could escape through the eight-sided hole if there were ever a fire or a home intruder.
I roll out the futon enough to turn it into a makeshift couch and breeze through my homework. With physics out of the way, school should be relatively easy this year. At least the classes will be. Living through each day in that building, surrounded by peo- ple who either remember who I was or have no idea I exist, is another matter. My close friends all but abandoned me while I languished in a mental hospital last year, and the rest of the stu- dent body had no idea I was even gone.
This is one of those moments my therapist says I should call a friend or journal to escape my dark thoughts. Dark thoughts, however, pretty much smother all motivation to do anything but watch movies.
I pull out my laptop and stuff on my headphones, click on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and settle into my usual position until someone forces me to go downstairs for dinner. This is my favor- ite Harry Potter movie because, aside from (or because of?) the death, it is kind of romantic. Everyone is preparing for the Yule Ball, and you can practically smell the hormones wafting off the screen. Plus I really like all the shaggy hair. When I watch movies, I am able to leave my head for a spell. Go somewhere instead of here. Be someone instead of me. But sometimes a crappy thought can still sneak in. Would I be the depressed weirdo at Hogwarts, too?
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