Check back later this week for the I Read What You Write 5 Star Review of The Blu Phenomenon and Catherine Pike Plough’s 5 Question Interview
Buzz About The Book:
“This story portrays how China’s democratic movement might be globalized as a result of adoption and Chinese emigration. Using an inventive story as her vehicle, the author of The Blu Phenomenon conveys a hope that the people of China will yet dream of “change.” It is a hope shared by those of us at the Laogai Research Foundation as we seek to educate the world of ongoing human rights atrocities in China. This story is crafted to be both personal and global in its impact.”
— Harry Wu, Founder & Human Rights Activist
The Laogai Research Foundation
“An engaging read for all young adults … In particular, Asian and transracial adoptees will find that the cultural complexity presented will resonate with them in a deeply
personal and profound way.”
—Susan Soonkeum Cox, Vice President Policy & External
Affairs, Holt International
“As a teacher and a parent, I highly recommend this book for young adults. Beyond the engaging tale of international intrigue, The Blu Phenomenon touches on relevant topics, from cross-cultural adoption and Chinese history to technology, sports, and friendships.”
—Gifted Education Teacher
“This well-written mystery kept me in suspense to the very last page. I can’t wait to read other books from this author.”
HE WATCHED OVER THE BOY FROM A DISTANCE FOR THIRTEEN YEARS.
SHE SEARCHED HER COUNTRY FOR THE BOY JUST AS LONG.
Thirteen-year-old Chinese adoptee Cal Vandiver resides in California with his adoptive parents, plagued with an ever-present fear of being “taken,” exacerbated by his uncharacteristic blue eyes and extraordinary athleticism.
Cal and his band of friends discover someone really is watching him. What happens next thrusts his under-the-radar existence into the spotlight, forcing him to a place that’s anything but safe as he trains for the 2020 Olympic Games. The Olympian-in-training will be faced with decisions that will impact his future, as well as those for whom he cares—on both sides of the ocean.
This is an excerpt of a conversation between the main character, Blu, and the man he recently discovered is his birth father. His name has been removed to avoid a spoiler:
“If I raised you in China, they would have found you.” (birth father) spoke haltingly, revealing uncharacteristic emotion. “Such a tragedy would have set back China’s dream for decades.”
“So it was correct that I would be crippled by what I never knew rather than to grow into a man to make my own decisions?”
“Surely you see that she would have made you one of them!”
“What? A person of influence who lives in safety with lots of money?”
“She would train you up to lead the next generation of communists. No! You must be free in order to make correct decisions for yourself.”
“Why do you care?”
“How does anyone not care?” the man stood and paced. “Who dares make a law that tells families how many children they can raise? Who shames their own people by forcing them to produce inferior—even dangerous—products for little money until they die at their work or take their own lives? Who jails their own people for speaking out or for their faith or for exposing corruption? Who tells young people the reason they live is to do the bidding of their government? Who tells people that dreams are for the foolish?”
“You had a dream.”
“I still do.”
“Why did you bring me here?”
“You are here to remind the people of China that they can dream, and this time the dream will not be taken from them.”
“The second Tiananmen?”
“It is called the wave.”
About The Author
Catherine Pike Plough
Author, The Blu Phenomenon
A writing veteran, Catherine Pike Plough began her career as a news journalist, later freelancing for local and national publications. Along the way, she made her foray into fiction, taking first place in Charisma’s short fiction competition. The Blu Phenomenon is her first novel, birthed through the real-life experience of adopting a son from Hong Kong. Catherine and her husband live in their almost-empty nest near Charlotte, NC, where she is an avid student of China affairs and adoption-related topics.
Mid-juggle, Cal caught a glimpse of his friends sitting in the bleachers. Someone was with them. Was it his watcher?
Cal gave his friend a fist bump good-bye and began a slow jog toward the bleachers. As he neared his fans, Cal slowed, finally stopping centerfield. It was then that the Asian man stood and began to approach Cal. The two stood just out of earshot of their audience. When, at last, black shades met tinted sport goggles, the two stood at about the same height, and both were determined to have their say.
“Why are you here?” Cal demanded.
“Here to watch you play soccer,” the man responded evenly. “Impressive.” Cal drew a deep breath.
“Are you my father?”
Now the man reached up and slowly pulled off his sunglasses, revealing clever, though traditional dark-colored eyes. “No, I am sorry.” Sliding his glasses back on, the man announced, “My Chinese name is Bai Zhao Man. You can call me Jack.”
“Why would I call you anything? What are you to me?” Cal asked with angry disappointment.
“I am a coach, of sorts; I was sent here by the U.S. Center for Adoption. You know of it?”
“My parents told me about it. It’s been tracking me.”
“That is correct,” Jack confirmed. “But in your case, it was not your academics that drew the attention of your reviewers.” Cal felt a stab of embarrassment. His grades had never met anyone’s expectations. “Concern has been expressed by the reviewers that you have exceptional abilities—athletic abilities—that are not being appropriately developed.”
“What does that mean?” Cal suddenly felt cornered. “Whose business is it what I do?”
After giving Cal a moment to cool down, Jack responded calmly. “I would expect that attitude from an American.”
Cal pulled off his goggles and spoke unapologetically. “I am an American.”
“So you are. But you are also Chinese. And as a USCA participant, you have duel citizenship with your country of origin.” Cal was speechless. He was also a citizen of China? Did his parents know that?
“It is the position of the center that as a child of China—wherever you live—you must not neglect your abilities. It is a matter of national pride.”
“What do you want from me?”
“The USCA wants me to make sure you are growing as an athlete.” Then his tone turned sarcastic. “I must be able to tell them you are doing more than running in the streets and swimming at the YMCA.”
“What does it matter?” Cal felt exposed by the man who knew the habits of his private life.
“Learning with others, having a coach to push you …” Jack gestured toward the field, “… it will move you toward greatness. Then you will honor your gift.”
“And if I refuse?” “It will likely to be harder for other Chinese children who have no families to be adopted into the States.”
“So my playing soccer will make these people happy? That’s all you want?” Cal was incredulous that he was a pawn in a game between two powerful countries.
“Perhaps for now. But I have learned much in my study of your abilities and have taken a personal interest in your future.”
“Tell me.” Cal was growing impatient. “What do you want from me?”
“It is the same thing you secretly want for yourself when you push the limits of your body.”
Cal held his breath, feeling as though the man was seeing inside of him.
“You have been preparing for this moment.” Jack looked out over the field then turned to face Cal. “Now I ask you to permit me to make you an Olympic champion.”
About the book:
Title/Author: The Blu Phenomenon/Catherine Pike Plough
Publisher: White Stone Publications
Date of publish: December, 2015
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