Going Bovine

by Libba Bray

Brief Summary: Cameron Smith is coasting through life. And by coasting I mean skipping class, occasionally getting high, avoiding pleasantries with his family at all cost and basically just trying to make it through high school. Until he’s diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, aka Mad Cow’s human cousin. Which doesn’t exactly have the best outlook. Before Cameron has a chance to really understand what’s going on Dulcie appears. Dulcie, with her punk-rock pink hair, ripped fishnets and white wings spray-painted with cows. Cameron thinks the hallucinations have begun, but Dulcie explains there is a way to stop his illness – and all it involves is a road trip, a neurotic dwarf, a Norse god entombed in the body of a yard gnome, music and universe hopping. And that’s just the first week.

Kell’s Chatty Review: (Spoiler Alert here kids) Going Bovine is a ridiculously pleasureful read. It had me laughing out loud more times than I can count, but it also tugged on my heartstrings more than once. What I loved most about this book is that throughout the story, there are really two narratives. Cameron’s quest and Cameron’s dreams. I don’t want to elaborate too much more for fear of out-right spoilers, but I need someone to read this so we can compare theories on this. (Confusing, much? I know. But spoilers SUCK.)

On Cameron: Oh, Cameron and I did not get along at the beginning of the story. Not even a little bit. He’s self involved and mean (although he does have snark which I enjoy…but I’m getting off topic here), but he has such an organic change as the story progresses. He doesn’t loose the edge, but he grows up. Literally. By the end, totally swoon worthy.

You could call it: a coming of age story, I guess. But I’d have to say it’s a coming of age story on crack. To steal every musician’s favorite phrase: it’s coming of age taken to the NEXT level. (an 11, maybe?)(had to throw in the Spinal Tap reference)(which if you’ve never seen This Is Spinal Tap. Go rent it. Now. Anywhoodle…) Most coming of age stories seem to be told via struggle and strife and crying and overcoming, etc., etc. And Going Bovine does all this. But it does it with a GNOME who is a Norse god.

If that doesn’t scream READ ME, I’m not sure what does.

I’ve Sung: Libba Bray’s praises on here before for her Gemma Doyle trilogy. Which I adored. The lyrical, beautiful-ness of those three books – heart! But I think Going Bovine made me love Libba Bray more than I can say because it’s completely opposite of the GD trilogy. It’s still beautiful writing, but it’s done in a snarky, name-dropping-but-still-insulting, kinda way that literally had me double-checking that they were written by the same author. And I’m not sure if there’s anything more awesome than knowing an author can reinvent themselves that much.

And did I mention: It has a HYSTERICAL book trailer? Oh, because it does.

What life lesson I learned after reading this book: There’s an obvious one, but I’m going to go with this very simple one: microwave popcorn rules.

What I most wanted to do after reading this book: Go to Disney World! and New Orleans! And the beach!

Re-Readability Rating: 11.

But Let’s Be Honest: Balder is the most kick-ass yard gnome in literary history.

Where this book came from: ARC from ala! For Free!

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