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Girl on the Ferris Wheel by Julie Halpern, Len Vlahos Book

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Girl on the Ferris Wheel by Julie Halpern, Len Vlahos Read Book Online And Download

Overview: 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?

Girl on the Ferris Wheel by Julie Halpern, Len Vlahos Book Read Online And Download Epub Digital Ebooks Buy Store Website Provide You.
Girl on the Ferris Wheel by Julie Halpern, Len Vlahos Book

Girl on the Ferris Wheel by Julie Halpern, Len Vlahos Book Read Online Chapter One


I don’t think I’ll ever get over the fact that my guidance counselor’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 degree 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 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 presents 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 got a C.”

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 actually good news.

I stop my bouncy walk.

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


School days after gig nights are the worst, especially if the gig was on a Sunday. As if Mondays need any new reasons to suck.

My mother’s already yelled up the stairs three times—the first two in English, the last one in Greek—for me to get out of bed. It’s not until Yia Yia, my grandmother, pokes her head into the room that I finally stir. She’s wearing the same plain gray dress she always wears. One of these days I’m going to sneak into her closet to see how many of these dresses she owns. She either has like fifteen, or she wears the same one over and over again. Inquiring minds want to know.

“Dmitri-moo.” Her accent is thick, but her voice is sweet. “Don’t make you mother work so hard. Nico ees downstairs already, you go too, nαι?” I like it that Yia Yia speaks to me in English. I know more than enough Greek to converse with her, but she works hard at trying to fit in, to be more American, and I appreciate it. She definitely works harder than my parents.

“Dmitri!” My mother’s voice rattles the window. “Ελλα εδώ τώρα!” Come here, now!

“He coming!” my grandmother shouts. “Give boy a chance!”

“Thanks, Yia Yia,” I say through a yawn. She turns, winks at me, and leaves the room.

I reach for my phone and scroll through the texts from last night. “Great gig!” “You guys killed it!” “The drums never sounded better!” I flop my head back on the pillow and smile.

When I hit the kitchen dressed and ready to go, my brother, Nico, two years younger, is already at the table reading a book. Nicky always has his face buried in a book. I swear it’s why he needs glasses. This one is something called The Last True Love Story.

“How was the gig?” he asks, looking up.

“Great,” I answer. “There were a ton of kids there. What are you reading?”

Nicky kind of smirks. He does that like he’s in on a joke and no one else knows the punch line. “You’d like it. It’s got a punk rock theme with a kick-ass girl bass player.”

“Yeah?” I ask, intrigued.

“Language!” my mother barks at my brother’s use of the word “ass.” She’s emptying the dishwasher.

“When did you learn curse words, Mitera?” Nicky taunts.

“Enough. Read you book and eat you breakfast. What you want, Dmitri? What I cook for you?”

“You don’t have to make me breakfast, Ma. I can handle it myself.” I open the cupboard and reach for the cereal.

“I like to help!”

“Let the boy get his own breakfast.” I didn’t hear my father come in. He’s dressed in a suit, the same gray suit he wears every day. I wonder if he and Yia Yia shop at some secret gray clothing store just for Greeks. “You out too late again last night.”

“Sorry, Dad, but the gig went long. And then, you know, we had to pack up and stuff.”

“Gig.” He spits the word like an olive pit. “You concentrate on schoolwork. In two years you apply to colleges. You need scholarship money.”

I pour some Cap’N Crunch in a bowl but don’t answer. How can I tell my dad I have no intention of going to college? What good will college do if all I want is to play music? He’s either gonna have a heart attack or ground me for life when he finds out. Probably both.

Nicky looks up from his book and glances at me. He knows my post–high school plans but has been sworn to secrecy. We make eye contact, he shrugs his shoulders and goes back to his punk-rock love story.

“Hurry,” my mom says to my father, “you going to be late for work.”

“I never late for work!” my father answers with pride. It’s actually true. My father has never been late for anything in his entire life. It’s weird, like he’s some kind of time lord. We can leave our house at four thirty to go someplace an hour away, and somehow we still arrive by five. Just. Weird.

I take the drumsticks out of my back pocket—I always carry sticks in my back pocket, because, well, you never know—put them on the table, and sit down. I prop my phone against a small vase of flowers my mother likes to keep fresh, and plug in the earbuds.

“What is this?” my father asks, an annoyed look on his face.

“I’m going to watch a movie.”

“A movie?” he bellows. “Our people did not invent physiki, mathematics, and drama for you to watch movies at the breakfast.”

“It’s ‘at breakfast’ or ‘at the breakfast table,’” I correct him. “And actually, Dad, they kind of did. Streaming content on a phone is the perfect blend of science and art, don’t you think? Aristotle would be proud.” I’m not sure if my dad understands that I’m tweaking him. His sense of humor is more slapstick than subtle. He laughs himself stupid at old Mel Brooks movies. I have to admit, I kind of do, too. “It’s okay,” I assure him. “This is for school.”

“You watch movies … for school?” His annoyance blends with confusion.

“Yeah, for my film studies class. We’re getting grounded in classics before we start to learn how to make our own movies.”

“Movies in school,” he half says, half mutters. “How this country become superpower is mystery to me.”

“Hurry,” my mother admonishes again, “you going to be late!” Mom creates a constant aura of free-floating energy that attempts to consume all in its path, like something from a science-fiction story.

“Baaaah,” my father grumbles, as if the mere thought of being late is ridiculous.

“What movie?” Nicky asks.

“North by Northwest. It’s kind of long, but Mr. Tannis says the way Hitchcock framed certain shots to create tension was groundbreaking.” I shove a spoonful of the Cap’N in my mouth and add, “I’m liking it.”

Yia Yia enters the kitchen, takes her favorite teacup—fake porcelain, blue with a noticeable chip—and pours a small serving of thick black coffee. Yia Yia drinks more coffee than a cop. “When you boys get girlfriends?”

Nicky and I groan in unison.

“What? They not have Greek girls at you school?”

Nicky just shakes his head and goes back to his book.

“Yia Yia,” I answer, “between my band and school, I don’t have time for girlfriends.”

Yia Yia smiles, this time like she’s in on a joke no one else understands. At least now I see where Nicky gets it. “Time and love are like river. Sometimes they take you where you do not know you need to go.”

Great. My Greek grandmother is now writing copy for cookies.

The truth is, I’ve never had a girlfriend. I did have one date in the eighth grade: Jessica—long hair, straight bangs, and a really nice laugh. We went ice-skating, which meant that she did twirls in the middle of the rink while I hugged the wall. I might be the only boy in Minnesota who doesn’t know how to skate, let alone play hockey.

Anyway, when we got hot chocolate and hot pretzels after, she talked about books and current events like she was a college student or something. I was intimidated. I’m not dumb, but I didn’t think I was smart enough for her.

It was really soon after that I got into the band.

It’s not that I haven’t noticed girls since then, but really, it’s easier to just focus on the band. There’s less drama this way. Well, mostly.

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