Young Adult, Fantasy, Contemporary
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
September 22nd, 2009
All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school—and life in general—with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which totally sucks. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure—if he’s willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most.
It’s not a surprise that I loved Going Bovine, given what a fan of Libba Bray’s writing I am. But I was a bit surprised at the emotional impact this tale packed. It’s hard to describe: part coming-of-age, part social satire, part straight fiction, but all humor and cheek.
The premise is that the main character, a teenage guy who is sarcastic and a bit of a loner, has a rare brain disease. His journey is amazing, but Bray always gives us hints: is he on an actual quest? Or is this the brain damage altering his perception of reality? Or is he even still alive, and dreaming this?
I won’t deny it- I cried during this book. I also put it down and thought about the big-picture questions a few times. I also stayed up way too late, many nights in a row, in order to read “just one more chapter”. The character voices are so unique and individual, and I absolutely love the attitudes they have. They’re not spot-on to my memory of the teenager experience, but these characters are people I would want to hang out with right now. And of course, there’s plenty of humor and satire.
This is definitely a new favorite. I highly recommend it for everyone, across the board.