Friday, June 17, 2016

Goldfish Blog Tour: Guest Post from Nat Luurtsema

I'm so excited to be participating in this blog tour! I read Goldfish back in May and thought it was really cute and funny. This was one of the few books I've read in the last couple of years that featured a competitive athlete MC. They seem few and far between, and it's weird to me because many teens grow up playing sports and competing seriously. I think books should definitely feature them more often, especially in YA. And I'm so happy to be sharing a guest post from Nat Luurtsema about this very subject!

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Why More Books Should Feature Competitive Athlete Main Characters
Admittedly, athletes aren’t always the most gregarious, articulate of folk. You’ll see them interviewed after a football match or a race, talking about how the team really pulled together and it looked like they were going to lose it in the first half but the team really pulled together and it’s a great result and a testament to how the team really pulled together. Sigh.

In their defence, if your job is to run really fast, lets say, and you go to a race and you run really fast and you win…. When a journalist puts a microphone in your face and says ‘how do you think that went?’ there isn’t much more to say than ‘well, I ran really fast. As was the plan. And it worked and now I have a medal.’

But that’s the beauty of a book, it has the ability to burrow inside a person’s mind and soul and show you how it really feels to win, to lose and to dedicate years of your life training to achieve something.

One of my favourite books with an athletic main character is The Art Of Fielding by Chad Harbach. I know nothing about baseball and I’m fine with that. I think a person can have only so many interests and I am all about writing in the sunshine with my kitten on my lap. But, Chad Harbach takes you so deeply into the world and the wants of Henry Skrimshander that as a reader I’m rooting for him all the way and I feel his set-backs and struggles as keenly as any baseball fan.

I think it’s a very particular mind-set to be in, to have such a determined, narrow focus on a certain goal. Most of us won’t experience it too often and it’s really interesting to step inside someone else’s mind for a while.

That’s why YA literature is so important. I remember as a teenager, trying out other peoples’ lives and loves through the books I read and searching for who I wanted to be. I think I’m as influenced by Roald Dahl and Elizabeth Bennett and JK Rowling as I am by anyone I’ve ever met. And the mind of an athlete is such an unusual place to be, I think more readers should have the chance to poke around inside one and see if it’s something they’d like to be.


About the Book

Title: Goldfish
Author: Nat Luurtsema
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: June 7th, 2016!
Get It: Amazon

From Goodreads...
Lou Brown is one of the fastest swimmers in the county. She’s not boasting, she really is. So things are looking pretty rosy the day of the Olympic time-trials. With her best mate Hannah by her side, Lou lines up by the edge of the pool, snaps her goggles on and bends into her dive…

Everything rests on this race. It’s Lou’s thing.

… or it was. She comes dead last and to top it all off Hannah sails through leaving a totally broken Lou behind.

Starting again is never easy, particularly when you’re the odd-one out in a family of insanely beautiful people and a school full of social groups way too intimidating to join. Where do you go from here? Finding a new thing turns out to be the biggest challenge Lou’s ever faced and opens up a whole new world of underwater somersaults, crazy talent shows, bitchy girls and a great big load of awkward boy chat.

Lou Brown guides us through the utter humiliation of failure with honesty, sass and a keen sense of the ridiculous. This girl will not be beaten.