The Houseboat

The Houseboat
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.45

     challenging words:    houseboat, mosquito-eaters, overindulge, self-proclaimed, onboard, pointed, fanned, threshold, makeup, rips, clutching, air-conditioning, cramped, luxury, reality, cash
     content words:    Rex Winn, Team Diva, Team Drama, Seven Steps, Getting Along

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The Houseboat
By Brenda B. Covert

1     The dingy houseboat was crawling with green algae. That was Eva's first clue that she had been tricked. The second clue hit her in the face as she stepped across the threshold.
2     "Ugh! What's that smell?" she cried, waving the fumes away with a hand that sported red fingernails.
3     "Sorry about that," Rex Winn said glibly. "The cleaning crew is working on it."
4     Clutching a small suitcase, Eva looked around the permanently docked houseboat with growing unease. Dust coated the pink floral curtains. If there was a cleaning crew, its members might be responsible for the stench. Perhaps their dead bodies were stashed in the cabinets. The vinyl sofas had small rips and cracks from age. The galley looked too small for anything beyond making a sandwich. At least the refrigerator was full size!
5     Eva squeezed past Rex to look over the rest of the boat, whose interior was arranged similar to that of an RV. Her next discovery was a bathtub the size of a shoe box! Worse yet, the bathroom was hot and stuffy! In the hall beside the bathroom door was a ladder to the ceiling that led to a loft with a mat for sleeping. The short hallway led to the aft bedroom; it was so small that the bed touched three of the four walls. Eva swung her suitcase onto the bed, effectively claiming the room for herself. She neither knew nor cared where the others would sleep. How would four teenagers survive a week in the cramped space of a "luxury" houseboat?
6     While Eva was exploring, the other three girls arrived. Together they formed Team Diva. Team Diva had agreed to compete in a reality show against Team Drama, four teenage boys whose houseboat was visible on the other side of the lake. The cash prize was $25,000.
7     Rex called the girls together. Their faces wore expressions of alarm and confusion as they surveyed the reality of what had been advertised as a luxury houseboat. "Girls, the rules of the game have been -- rewritten," Rex said, winking at the TV camera in the doorway.
8     "What does that mean? We were supposed to prove that four different girls could get along and have fewer fights than the boys' team while living on a houseboat," Eva said with her arms folded.

Paragraphs 9 to 24:
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