Customer Reviews for

Going Bovine

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Absolutely Hilarious!

Wow, the book got a prize! I'm not surprised; it is possibly the most random, hilarious story I have ever read. If you're looking for something pretty much completely random and pointless that you will never quit laughing at/about or quoting, then look no further than "...
Wow, the book got a prize! I'm not surprised; it is possibly the most random, hilarious story I have ever read. If you're looking for something pretty much completely random and pointless that you will never quit laughing at/about or quoting, then look no further than "Going Bovine": you will not be disappointed! I think that it's best for geeky types: there are a number of references to the science of parallel dimensions, supercolliders, and my hero, Stephen Hawking. :D Not hard to grasp, though. Just really, really funny.

posted by neji_pwnz on February 23, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Great story!! But what's up with the language??

This story was very creative. But was the foul language necessary to portray the teenage drama this kid is going through? Libba Bray is a talented and funny as all get out author, but the language was way too much in this book!!

posted by expectgr8things on December 5, 2009

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  • Posted September 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    One crazy journey

    First off, I know one ought not to judge a book by the cover, but how could I not be interested in a book called Going Bovine with a standing cow holding a garden gnome? Also, I would say that the story is not entirely what I expected it to be, but considering the description, a story like this could be just about anything. Seriously though, punk rock angel with pink wings, blobby fire demon things that destroy stuff, and a bad guy that takes the form of a knight with a space helmet. How can you not be surprised every few pages?

    All that said, it was far more like an epic story such as The Odyssey or The Aeneid than I would have thought it to be. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if Bray didn't attempt to mirror something of epic legend through each of the scenarios throughout book. It does start out a bit slow, but once you get past the first 150 pages or so, it really picks up. Cameron is also not necessarily the character you would root for because of his lethargic outlook on life, but since he narrates it, you grow to love his sardonic inner dialogue. I actually laughed out loud a few times. I recommend this book to lovers of eccentric fantasies with a heavy helping of satire.

    -Lindsey Miller,

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2010

    Take This Funky Trip!

    I laughed out loud reading the acknowledgements so I knew I was in for a good ride. Libba Bray has her finger on the pulse of the American teenager, in fact, I was continually amazed how she was able to get inside the head of the modern teenage male. The book is clever, witty, edgy, emotional and so imaginative! The characters are very current, comical and accurate but refrain from being simple stereotypes. The story is a wild fantasy and topic not often explored in teen lit. Libba Bray has found a way to allow us all to experience what is important at 17 by putting her main character in a life & death situation. I still find myself thinking about the ending.

    The book had been compared to my favorite book CATCHER IN THE RYE so I picked it up to preview it before giving it to my 13yr old daughter. After reading it, I think she needs to wait t o read it until she is closer to 16. Not just because of language and sexual content, but because I don't think the book will be anything but "sensational" until she can actually relate to the characters emotionally. I recommend this book for teens in high school and especially their parents so they can get inside their teen's head and remember how we saw the world when we were young.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2013


    The best, most random, heartful, odd, energetic, funny, emotional (in it's own ways), and creative teen read EVER WRITTEN! I recomend for ages 13 and up. This novel was just. Plain. Awesome.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Going Bovine definitely caught my attention, first of all, with

    Going Bovine definitely caught my attention, first of all, with the summary. Mad cow disease? How many YA books are about that? The second portion of the summary confused me, but I began reading, thinking that this was going to be a realistic fiction book. Something like "It's Kind of a Funny Story", by taking a serious concept but making it a little un-serious. And I suppose it was, but not in the way I originally thought. I mean, there are talking yard gnomes, dwarves, punk-rock angels, and smoothie-obsessed cult freaks, but yet this story would teeter on the line of "realistic fiction". I won't tell you how, you'll have to figure that out for yourself.
    The characters were funny, especially the main guy, and I loved the originality the author gave everyone. Cameron's character was like an explicit version of Percy Jackson. While some people didn't like the crude humor in the pages, I found them pretty amusing at times. I also enjoyed the random plot in the story. Sure, he wants to find the cure to his mad cow disease while saving the world, the things that he has to do to accomplish that? Weird, to say the least.
    The only reason I give this book a four star instead of five is because, to be honest, the ending blew. Majorly. It kind of left me a little angry and thinking, "Well, this book is kind of pointless." I felt a little empty inside and I half-expected the next page to shout "April fools! Here's what really happens:" But it didn't, and that was pretty upsetting.
    But if you think you can handle that, I'm sure you'll love this book. Its unique, its fun, and really gives you a lot of lessons to learn from.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer


    I've read a lot of funny & weird books (Hiaasen, Christopher Moore,etc.), but this was different....only word that seems to fit. As it starts we are introduced to Cameron, a rebellious teenage boy, who is no stranger to getting into trouble. However, Cameron starts doing things he didn't mean to do, like dropping things. He thinks nothing of it and neither does anyone who knows him, because he is usually such and ornery kid. Soon, he has an episode which may be an hallucination or some kind of a seizure, which sends him to the hospital for tests. It is discoverd that he has mad cow disease (big bummer and fatal). What follows is the story of his stay in the hospital and his quest to find a cure and save the world....maybe.
    Whether it's an hallucination or real, it's a funny, poingnant, sweet, philosophical epic. He is joined on his quest by a gaming dwarf, a garden gnome, and an angel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2010


    i loved this book! i read all 480 pages in two days! it was a bit confusing at times but it eventually explains everything! there is a lot of language used in this book...but that's fine with me i guess...i kind of just ignored it. and the ending is really shocking! point is i reccomend it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2012

    Pretty Good

    I found this book fairly funny. The ending was a bit depressing though.

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  • Posted August 2, 2011

    Weirdly Wonderful.....

    All in all this was a good book. Some parts of it were just a little bit too odd for me like the scenes at Disneyworld and the beach. I would have given this five stars if not for the ending which disappointing.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 15, 2011

    Its a great book for anyone to fall in love with

    when i first found this book i was merely curious. my library didnt have the summary of it so i picked it because the cover intrigued me and i was bored. when i first began reading i wasnt really into it but as i delved more into the story i really became interested and emotionally touched. it was a great story and had a bittersweet ending

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  • Posted February 5, 2011

    brilliant, a must read

    from the beginning, you think this book is just a realistic fiction for teens. but by the end you will be blown away by the great writing, exiting plot, and surprisingly sentimental ending. vaguely percy-jackson-ish in writing style. a big thumbs up!

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  • Posted January 31, 2011

    great book

    this book is funny and exciting the end sorta leaves you hangin. but great book read it

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  • Posted June 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Live like you're dying!

    Going Bovine is an incredible book about the meaning of life and living life to its fullest.
    When Cameron gets mad cow disease, he begins to hallucinate. In the hospital Cam meets a dwarf named Gonzo and an angel named Dulcie who sends him on a quest to find the mysterious Dr. X...the only person who can cure him.
    On a twisted journey full of jazz, snowglobes, teen celebrities, happy cults, yard gnomes, Disney World and dark matter, author Libba Bray links reality with fantasy.
    As Cam takes the journey of a lifetime, he begins to realize what was missing from his life was life itself. As his time in this life draws to a close, he lives more than he'd ever lived before. He makes friends, sleeps with girls, hears amazing music and learns that when you find THE ONE, you have to pursue her.
    This book is confusing and exciting and shows the beauty of living each moment to its fullest.
    From the inside cover, this book looks like it could be a stupid fantasy novel but it's anything but. It's a masterpiece about life and definately a book worth reading!

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  • Posted May 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sarah Bean the Green Bean Teen Queen for

    All Cameron wants to do is graduate high school - and maybe get a date with popular girl, Stacy. When 16-year-old Cameron is diagnosed with Mad Cow Disease, his life takes a crazy turn. A punk rock angel named Dulcie shows up and tells Cameron there's a cure with a mysterious Dr. X - he just has to go and find it. With the help of a dwarf named Gonzo (who has some mother issues) and a yard gnome who just might be a Norse god, Cameron is off on the trip of a lifetime.

    So, I actually picked this up several times and was excited to read it, but the premise just sounded strange - and not like my typical read, so I kept putting it off. Then the Printz committee awarded this one with the Printz medal and I knew I had to read it. I actually listened to it on audiobook, which I think worked well with this book.

    It's a trippy book - and it's pretty hefty, coming in at almost 500 pages (or twelve audio discs in my case). It's also a book that won't work if you like everything to work out nicely and not be wondering was this a trip or was this real? It's definitely the craziest road trip book I've ever come across!

    I have to praise Ms. Bray's writing and I can see why this won the Printz. The writing captivated me. I really believe she writes boy characters better than any other female author. Cameron read just like my teens at the library - he felt real and his voice was spot on. Just for that, this book deserves your attention.

    Even though my knowledge of DON QUIXOTE doesn't go much past the Wishbon TV show version (sad, I know), from what I do know of the story, Ms. Bray gives us a modern twist with GOING BOVINE, and it's a perfect nod to the classic. I would love to see this one paired with DON QUIXOTE for a lit circle or book club - it'd make for great discussion.

    I didn't find it as laugh-out-loud hilarious as some other reviewers have, but I did find it to have lots of humor and lots of heart, which sometimes is a hard mix to pull off - but again, Ms. Bray does it seamlessly. Cameron's observations about life, love, family, and friendship are all things that teens will relate to, and I think many readers will be nodding along to Cameron's words. There's also some romance and adventure, which is always good.

    I think the Printz committee was brave and original for picking this one and I'm impressed with their choice. I'm eager to hear feedback from my teens about this title. I've had one girl read it already and she called it "interesting and different." I don't think it will appeal to all readers, but those that it works for will find a gem of a book.

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  • Posted April 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Wild Ride

    When I saw that Libba had a new book out I though tI would give it a chance, since I loved her previous series. Nothing could have prepared me for the wild ride that follows. This was at times very funny, and other times very hard to get through. The story does start very slow and the constant hallucinogenic flashes don't help with that slow start. But the character I have to laugh out loud at is the Garden Gnome. His lines are so funny and his outlook is so off the wall. The hypochondriac dwarf Gonzo is funny as well, if for the petrified way he views life. But deep down its a modern retelling of Don Quixote and the mental battles of the character Cameron. If you loved Libba's previous series, its nowhere near it, but if you want to have a 400 page novel to read, this is your best bet.

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  • Posted January 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    surreal and hilarious

    I knew I was getting myself into something truly unique when I opened the pages of Going Bovine and practically fell off the couch laughing after reading Libba Bray's acknowledgments section. Acknowledgments, you ask (skeptically)? Yes. Truly hilarious. That and the cover. And the title. The trifecta of reader hooks and I knew, no matter what, that those 480 dense pages before me would turn out to be one wild ride.

    As someone who has perfected the Art of Slacker, Cameron is an apathetic, Grade-A dork who just so happens to also be bitingly smart. He's become a master at doing the least possible in any situation while managing to not draw any attention to himself. But something happens to Cameron that suddenly makes him the center of his family and classmate's attention - he's contracted a fatal (and really rare) form of mad cow disease.

    While in the hospital, Cameron meets Dulcie - a punk angel with pink hair and combat boots - who informs him there is a cure for his disease, if he's willing to go out and search for it. Oh, and along the way he just might be able to save the universe too. Sort of a two-for-one deal. Joined by the hypochondriac little person Gonzo and an enchanted yard gnome Balder, Cameron sets off on a cross-country, modern day Don Quixote quest encountering not windmills but a happiness-driven cult, jazz musicians, Disney World, snow globes, and small-town diners.

    Sound trippy? In every sense of the word, yes.

    This book could essentially be divided into two sections: Cameron pre-mad cow disease diagnosis and Cameron post-diagnosis. Little details mentioned during the first section pop up later during the narrative, turning Going Bovine into not just a discovery journey for Cameron but the reader as well. It's like a giant connect the dots puzzle, spanning from Texas to Georgia with millions of tiny little stops along the way. Wherein nothing is a coincidence - everything is connected.

    Like many teens, Cameron truly believes he will have all the time in the world to experience life, to see and do all those things that will make his life worthwhile but in actuality he doesn't. It's not a far-fetched concept and one that is sobering in all it's underhanded and witty observances. Cameron's journey becomes an intricate coming of age/quest tale with an unreliable narrator twist. Which story will you believe? Is Cameron spending his final days in a hospital bed, suffering from extreme hallucinations or is he tearing across the country, surrounded by loyal friends and battling evil?

    It's no wonder Going Bovine was chosen as the 2010 Printz Award winner - the committee is notorious for choosing books that are slightly harder than average to puzzle through (like: how i live now or Jellicoe Road). They are also known for selecting books that make parents nervous (think: Looking for Alaska). Although Cameron is one of those narrators you instantly connect with (despite his lack of common ground with most readers), he has quite the foul potty mouth and isn't above making cringe-worthy remarks. Though his twisted chapter headings pretty much sealed his instant appeal in my book.

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  • Posted January 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    "Don Quixote meets Mad Cow" or "How I Spent my Christmas Vacation": A strange, yet enjoyable book I started to enjoy after several chapters

    There was a HUGE buzz around this book, and I love the YouTube video of Bray being interviewed in a cow suit, plus I LOVE gnomes for some reason, so I bought this book as an early Christmas gift to myself. It wasn't quite what I'd anticipated, based on what I'd heard in reviews and from reading the prologue online, but it was a very good read I was sorry to end. (I will admit I wasn't as crazy about it in the first few chapters, however. Sometimes a book has to grow on you.) The main character's life isn't that great when the book opens--be prepared for a very acerbic-yet-bitingly-funny narrative style--and it sucks big-time when he finds out he has mad cow disease. And thus his adventure begins when what may be sponge-brain-induced hallucinations spur him on. (The gnome is the best, and I'm not being prejudiced. Although the human/Pancho companion, Gonzo, is a great character as well.) The book plays with the concept of reality for the most part, and there are some repeated motifs that help blur the boundary. But I found some of those motifs a wee forced during the journey, and they sometimes took me out of the reading experience, and the somewhat serious matters of living life to the fullest and what reality really means, which the book confronts in a very interesting way. It's very possible it won't have the same effect on others--it was my small peeve. Mostly, I thought the book had a great story and had moments of literary brillance, but some of the silly jokes and ideas threw the book off. The book came so close to "must rave endlessly" excellence. Overall, I enjoyed the reading experience, and would recommend the book to those who like a somewhat edgy read and aren't afraid to stretch their mind a bit. But if you're not a fan of acerbic and oft negative narrators, or really wacky plots mixed with philosophy and classic novel reimaginings on acid, you might want to peruse the book a bit before purchasing.

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  • Posted September 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A teen with mad cow disease, dwarf, yard gnome and sugar-tooth angel - road trip to disaster or heaven?

    16 year old Cameron is your average under achiever who just wants to remain under the radar and stay out of the way of his cheerleader socially correct twin sister. Add to this the fact that Cameron is dying from mad cow disease and is told to save the world and himself by finding Dr. X and you have the recipe for a wild story. This is one road trip that sounds like a great idea until you are in the middle of it. Cameron breaks out of the hospital with his new buddy Gonzo (a dwarf), picks up Bader (a Norse god caught up in the body of a yard gnome)and mixes it up with a variety of characters along the way to find Dr. X and be cured. I won't be a spoiler but it isn't all that it is cracked up to be and there are hard lessons to be learned. If it weren't for the fact that the book is chockfull of the deadly- language, sex and drugs it would be my top choice for young teens. Sadly, this one rang a bell on the mommy meter and now I would strongly recommend it for older teens and young adults. It is hysterical!

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    Posted March 18, 2011

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    Posted December 22, 2010

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    Posted February 6, 2010

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