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Going Bovine

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Overview

Can Cameron find what he’s looking for?

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, ...

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Going Bovine

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Overview

Can Cameron find what he’s looking for?

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.

2010 Michael L. Printz Award winner

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Editorial Reviews

Melanie Hundley
Mad Cow Disease? Who gets that? All Cameron wanted to do was get through high school with minimal effort; then he is diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jacob (Mad Cow Disease). This diagnosis changes Cameron's life and his relationship with his relatively dysfunctional family. Before his illness, Cameron had been reading the story of Don Quixote, and as his illness progresses, he finds himself battling Dark Wizards and Fire Giants. Cameron's battles, or hallucinations, parallel Don Quixote's in both their epic nature and their hopelessness. His Dulcinea, a punk angel with a serious sugar habit, tells him there is a cure for his illness if he will search for it. Cameron embarks on the wild journey, or hallucination, joined by his Sancho, named Gonzo, a death-obsessed master gamer. He and Gonzo battle cults and vigilantes, encounter physicists and jazz musicians, all in the hope of finding the cure and what matters most in life. Reviewer: Melanie Hundley
Lisa Von Drasek
…manages to turn a hopeless situation into a hilarious and hallucinatory quest, featuring an asthmatic teenage dwarf, Gonzo; a pink-haired angel in combat boots, Dulcie; and Balder, a Norse god who is cursed with the form of a garden gnome…Libba Bray not only breaks the mold of the ubiquitous dying-teenager genre—she smashes it and grinds the tiny pieces into the sidewalk. For the record, I'd go anywhere she wanted to take me.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Cameron Smith, 16, is slumming through high school, overshadowed by a sister “pre-majoring in perfection,” while working (ineptly) at the Buddha Burger. Then something happens to make him the focus of his family's attention: he contracts mad cow disease. What takes place after he is hospitalized is either that a gorgeous angel persuades him to search for a cure that will also save the world, or that he has a vivid hallucination brought on by the disease. Either way, what readers have is an absurdist comedy in which Cameron, Gonzo (a neurotic dwarf) and Balder (a Norse god cursed to appear as a yard gnome) go on a quixotic road trip during which they learn about string theory, wormholes and true love en route to Disney World. Bray's surreal humor may surprise fans of her historical fantasies about Gemma Doyle, as she trains her satirical eye on modern education, American materialism and religious cults (the smoothie-drinking members of the Church of Everlasting Satisfaction and Snack 'N' Bowl). Offer this to fans of Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy seeking more inspired lunacy. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Bovine, as in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, that is to say, mad cow disease, which sixteen-year-old Cameron is not thrilled to find out he has, given that this is an invariably "fatal virus that eats holes in your brain." Cameron used to think "it would be cool to die young. Honestly, things weren't going so well in the life department. Death seemed infinitely more glamorous and, you know, kind of hard to f—- up." But the trouble is that he has never really lived. So it's time for a road trip, accompanied by a germ-phobic dwarf, a Norse god yard gnome come to life, and a tough-talking angel: maybe together they can find the mysterious Dr. X who offers the only hope of a cure - and in the process save the world from Dr. X's dark energy that otherwise is going to destroy the universe. Oh, and maybe in the process Cameron can finally understand jazz, lose his virginity, become the object of a nationwide manhunt, bowl a lot of strikes, and eat a lot of vanilla smoothies. This is a huge book in every way: an epic, picaresque 480-page journey; a scathingly observed social satire of the ways in which we numb ourselves to avoid the pain and risk of actually engaging with our lives; a stay-up-late-to-finish-it page-turner; and a sprawling, hilarious, and deeply moving meditation on what it is, in the end, that makes life worth living. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
VOYA - Laura Panter
Sixteen-year-old Cameron Smith is a social outcast and known slacker. He has no desire to care about anything in life until he is diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, otherwise known as mad cow disease, and discovers that he is going to die. As Cameron's health continues to worsen, he sinks into a dreamland that resembles a world on a bad drug trip. Hope arrives in this parallel universe with punk angel, Dulcie, who makes Cameron believe there is a cure for his illness. Cam's journey for that cure takes him on a cross-country road trip from Texas to Florida where he makes friends with a dwarf nicknamed Gonzo and a talking garden gnome who believes himself to be the Viking god Baldar. Together they encounter mythical jazz musicians, battle fire giants, escape a happiness cult, meet universe-hopping physicists, dodge wacked-out snow-globe police, and befriend fame-obsessed teenagers. Bray portrays Cameron so realistically that he is every teen struggling with his or her identity. At times, readers will both love and hate Cameron as his adventures are alternately comical, nail biting, and heart wrenching. Readers will be rooting for Cameron to overcome his obstacles to save himself and claim his love for Dulcie. The novel is a laugh-out-loud, tear-jerking, fantastical voyage into the meaning of what is real in life and how someone can learn to live. It is a must-purchase for any libraries wanting to reach out to all teens who need to know there are stories out there for them. Reviewer: Laura Panter
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—In this ambitious novel, Cameron, a 16-year-old slacker whose somewhat dysfunctional family has just about given up on him, as perhaps he himself has, when his diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jacob, "mad cow" disease, reunites them, if too late. The heart of the story, though, is a hallucinatory—or is it?—quest with many parallels to the hopeless but inspirational efforts of Don Quixote, about whom Cameron had been reading before his illness. Just like the crazy—or was he?—Spaniard, Cam is motivated to go on a journey by a sort of Dulcinea. His pink-haired, white-winged version goes by Dulcie and leads him to take up arms against the Dark Wizard and fire giants that attack him intermittently, and to find a missing Dr. X, who can both help save the world and cure him. Cameron's Sancho is a Mexican-American dwarf, game-master hypochondriac he met in the pot smokers' bathroom at school who later turns up as his hospital roommate. Bray blends in a hearty dose of satire on the road trip as Cameron leaves his Texas deathbed—or does he?—to battle evil forces with a legendary jazz horn player, to escape the evil clutches of a happiness cult, to experiment with cloistered scientists trying to solve the mysteries of the universe, and to save a yard gnome embodying a Viking god from the clutches of the materialistic, fame-obsessed MTV-culture clones who shun individual thought. It's a trip worth taking, though meandering and message-driven at times. Some teens may check out before Cameron makes it to his final destination, but many will enjoy asking themselves the questions both deep and shallow that pop up along the way.—Suzanne Gordon, PeachtreeRidge High School, Suwanee, GA
Kirkus Reviews
In a marked departure from her Victorian-era Gemma Doyle trilogy, Bray offers a novel about a road trip undertaken by surly Cameron, a 16-year-old mad cow-disease sufferer, Gonzo, his hypochondriac dwarf hospital roommate, and a sentient garden gnome who is actually the Norse god Balder. This decidedly fantastical premise mixes with armchair physics and time-travel theory as they make their way from Texas to Florida. Or possibly Cameron is just hallucinating his way through his last days in a hospital bed. Whichever view of this at times too-sprawling tale readers take, along the way there is plenty of delightfully funny dialogue ("Okay, Balder? Could you and your Norse goodness do me a solid and take a hike? I need a minute here") and enough real character development, in spite of all the purposefully zany details, to cause genuine concern for their respective fates. Fans of the author's previous works will not be disappointed, and it may appeal to science-fiction and fantasy fans with a taste for dry humor as well. (Fantasy. 14 & up)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Booklist, August 1, 2009:
"An unforgettable, nearly indefinable fantasy adventure."

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, August 3, 2009:
"Bray's surreal humor may surprise fans."

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—In Libba Bray's unconventional novel, winner of the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award, Cameron, the 16-year-old down-and-out protagonist, meanders through varied phantasmagoric experiences after being diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jacob ("mad cow") disease. Cam has given up trying to succeed at home, in school, or as one of the cool kids. Instead, he sinks further into disassociation from his world until he is visited by Dulcie (reminiscent of Quixote's Dulcinea), a possibly hallucinatory punk/angel, who convinces Cam there could be a cure, if he is willing to assume great risks in searching for it. And so begins Cam's bizarre quest to thwart evil, unravel the mystery of the disappearing Dr. X—who may hold the key to a cure, but might also be plotting to destroy the world—and beat his terminal diagnosis. Cam is accompanied on this dark roadtrip of an increasingly spongy mind by Dulcie, a hypochondriacal dwarf named Gonzo, and a resilient yard gnome who could possibly be the ancient Viking god, Balder. Erik Davies ably narrates this psychedelic ride, with a deft touch of teenage angst and ennui. There is so much going on that listeners could easily lose the twisting thread in an instant of inattention. Filled with slang, four letter words, humor, pathos, satire, absurdities, sex, drugs, rock 'n roll, and the fight between good and evil, this is not a journey for the faint of heart.—Roxanne Spencer, Educational Resources Center, Western Kentucky University Libraries, Bowling Green
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385733977
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/22/2009
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 623,522
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL680L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 1.53 (d)

Meet the Author

Libba Bray

Libba Bray is the author of the New York Times bestselling Gemma Doyle Trilogy. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her at www.libbabray.com.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE
In Which I Introduce Myself

The best day of my life happened when I was five and almost died at Disney World.

I’m sixteen now, so you can imagine that’s left me with quite a few days of major suckage.

Like Career Day? Really? Do we need to devote an entire six hours out of the high school year to having “life counselors” tell you all the jobs you could potentially blow at? Is there a reason for dodgeball? Pep rallies? Rad soda commercials featuring Parker Day’s smug, fake-tanned face? I ask you.

But back to the best day of my life, Disney, and my near-death experience.

I know what you’re thinking: WTF? Who dies at Disney World? It’s full of spinning teacups and magical princesses and big-assed chipmunks walking around waving like it’s absolutely normal for jumbo-sized stuffed animals to come to life and pose for photo ops. Like, seriously.

I don’t remember a whole lot about it. Like I said, I was five. I do remember that it was hot. Surreal hot. The kind of hot that makes people shell out their life savings for a bottle of water without even bitching about it. Even the stuffed animals started looking less like smiling, playful woodland creatures and more like furry POWs on a forced march through Toonland. That’s how we ended up on the subterranean It’s a Small World ride and how I nearly bit it at the place where America goes for fun.

I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced the Small World ride. If so, you can skip this next part. Honestly, you won’t hurt my feelings, and I won’t tell the other people reading this what an asshole you are the minute you go into the other room.

Where was I?

Oh, right—so much we share, time aware, small world. After all.

So. Small World ride, brief sum-up: Long-ass wait in incredibly slow-moving line. Then you’re put into this floating barge and set adrift on a river that winds through a smiling underworld of animatronic kids from every country on the planet singing along in their various native tongues to the extremely catchy, upbeat song.

Did I mention it’s about a ten-minute ride?

Of the same song?

In English, Spanish, Swahili, and Japanese?

I’m not going to lie to you; I loved it. Dude, I said to myself, this is the shit. Or something like that in five-year-old speak. I want to live in this new Utopia of singing children of all nations. With luck, the Mexican kids will let me wear their que festivo sombreros. And the smiling Swedes will welcome me into their happy Nordic hoedown. Välkommen, y’all. I will ride the pink fuzzy camel in some vaguely defined Middle Eastern country (but the one with pink fuzzy camels) and shake a leg with the can-can dancers in Gay Paree.

Bonjour.

Bienvenido.

Guten Tag.

Jambo.

I was with the three people who were my world—Mom, Dad, my twin sister, Jenna—and for one crazy moment, we were all laughing and smiling and sharing the same experience, and it was good. Maybe it was too good. Because I started to get scared.

I don’t know exactly how I made the connection, but right around Iceland, apparently, I got the idea that this was the after-life. Sure, I had heatstroke and had eaten enough sugar to induce coma, but really, it makes sense in a weird way. It’s dark. It’s creepy. And suddenly, everybody’s getting along a little too well, singing the same song. Or maybe it had to do with my mom. She used to teach English classics, heavy on the mythology, at the university B.C. (Before Children) and liked to pepper her bedtime stories with occasional bits about Valhalla or Ovid or the River Styx leading to the underworld and other cheery sweet-dreams matter. We’re a fun crew. You should see us on holidays.

Whatever it was, I was convinced that this ride was where you went to die. I would be separated from my family forever and end up in some part of the underworld where smiling kid robots in boater hats sang nonstop in Portuguese. I had to keep that from happening. And then—O Happy Day! Salvation! Right behind the Eskimo igloo (this was before they were the more politically correct but slightly naughty-sounding Inuits), I saw this little door.

“Mommy, where does that door go to?” I asked.

“I don’t know, honey.”

We were headed for certain death on the River Styx. But somehow I knew that if I could just get to that little door, everything would be okay. I could stop the ride and save us all. That was pretty much it for me. My five-year-old freak-out meter totally tripped. I slipped free of the seat and splashed into the fishy-smelling water, away from the doe-eyed, pinafored girl puppet singing, “En värld full av skratt, en värld av tårar” (Swedish, I’m told, for “It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears”).

The thing is, I didn’t know how to swim yet. But apparently, I was pretty good at sinking. You know that warning about how kids can drown in very little water? Quite true if the kid panics and forgets to close his mouth. You can imagine my surprise when the water hit my lungs and I did not immediately start singing, “There’s so much that we share.”

The last thing I remember before I started to lose consciousness was my mom screaming to stop the ride while crushing Jenna to her chest in case she got the urge to jump too. Above me, lights and sound blended into a wavy distortion, everything muted like a carnival heard from a mile away. And then I had the weirdest thought: They’re stopping the ride. I got them to stop the ride.

I don’t remember a whole lot after that, just fuzzy memories filled in by other people’s memories. The story goes that my dad dove in and pulled me out, dropping me right beside the igloo, and administered CPR. Official Disney cast members scampered out along the narrow edge of EskimoSoontoBeInuit-land, yammering into their walkie-talkies that the situation was under control. Slack-jawed tourists snapped pictures. An official Disney ambulance came and whisked me away to an ER, where I was pronounced pukey but okay. We went back to the park for free—I guess they were afraid we’d sue—and I got to go on the rides as much as I wanted without waiting in line at all because everybody was just so glad I was alive. It was the best vacation we ever took. Of course, I think it was also the last vacation we ever took.

It was Mom who tried to get the answers out of me later, once Jenna had fallen asleep and Dad was nursing his nerves with a vodka tonic, courtesy of the hotel’s minibar. I was sitting in the bathtub with the nonskid flower appliqués on the bottom. It had taken two shampoos to get the flotsam and jetsam of a small world out of my hair.

“Cameron,” she asked, pulling me onto her lap for a vigorous towel-drying. “Why did you jump into the water, honey? Did the ride scare you?”

I didn’t know how to answer her, so I just nodded. All the adrenaline I’d felt earlier seemed to pool in my limbs, weighing me down.

“Oh, honey, you know it’s not real, don’t you? It’s just a ride.”

“Just a ride,” I repeated, and felt it sink in deep.

The thing is, before they pulled me out, everything had seemed made of magic. Like I really believed in this crazy dream. But the minute I came to on the hard, glittery, spray-painted, fake snow and saw that marionette boy pulling the same plastic fish out of the hole again and again, I realized it was all a big fake. The realest thing I’d ever experienced was that moment under the water when I almost died.

And in a way, I’ve been dying ever since.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 247 )
Rating Distribution

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(133)

4 Star

(58)

3 Star

(31)

2 Star

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(15)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 249 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    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 "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.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 15, 2010

    An Excellent Journey into Insanity

    As a person who is constantly reading, it's a little easy to slip into that stream, the mainstream of books that are all sort of the same. And I'm not just talking about vampire romances, but more like those recommended feel-good books of the summer and the year's best fantasy novels. It was in the middle of my search for something different, something truly good, that I found Going Bovine. The first thing that got me was, yes, the cow with the gnome tucked under one hoof on the cover. I mean, seriously. That is pretty cool. Also, the author, Libba Bray, according to the 'about the author' on the back tab has a life dream of getting better at the drums on Rockband. I felt we immediately bonded even before page 1. Honestly, I wasn't really sure what to expect when I started, just that this kid got Mad Cow Disease and apparently drove across the nation. When I began reading it surprised me how deep the thoughts were running through this teenager's mind, and I instantly was hooked on the language and what this narrator had to tell me. It is set in the perfect small Texas town, with this perfect, quirky 16-year-old Cameron to guide us through the problems of his high-school life. He himself, is a cheesy-music loving, pot-smoking, sarcastic loser with the popular, pretty sister he has to deal with in his same grade. But everything changes when he begins to go through spasms in the middle of class and experiences sudden hallucinations of human-destroying fire giants. The doctors tell his family Cameron has been diagnosed with the human form of Mad Cow Disease, the disease that makes cows go... well, mad. And unfortunately, it does the same to humans. It gets worse and worse with many more mirages in his mind- feathers left for him with messages on them, strange websites telling of a cosmic tear in the universe... Cameron eventually blacks out after a particularly bad episode and is taken to the hospital. This is where the book gets very interesting. It is written in first-person, no doubt the best way to personally escort us into Cameron's mind, but Cameron has lost grasp on what is truly real. Though he's in the hospital for the whole time, within his mind, he is traveling cross-country, searching for a cure with a dwarf named Gonzo and a talking invincible yard gnome with the wisdom of Dulcie to guide the way, a winged punk angel with quite a thing for sugary foods. Cameron learns what's truly important, why living is living, and why death is a part of it along the way of this semi-epic, hilarious tale of space-knights, famous jazz-horns and of course, Disney World. This book had me involved the whole time, following the maybe-real journey into Cameron's mind, and loving it all the while. Definitely one of my favorite books of all time, and that's saying a lot. I recommend this to readers, non-readers, people who like cows, or are part of a happiness-cult that supports perfect bowling. (Yes, that last one is a part from the book.) Going Bovine, a truly excellent novel worth checking out and reading at least six times. So go follow Cameron in this book, and let's hope you become insane along the way.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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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, www.lindseyslibrary.com

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2010

    Caution when buying for youth!

    I try to read books I think might be good for our teen grandchildren. This book was recommended by an area newspaper as summer reading so I expected it to be worthwhile. I can not recommend this book for young people because of the bad language and the contempt for all authority. The serious illness described in this book could have been explored without including so much crude.

    6 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2009

    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!!

    6 out of 14 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 January 21, 2013

    Amazing Book!

    I saw this book in my schools library numerous times but never read it, until one day I decided to give it a try. Reading Going Bovine was one of the best choices i have ever made. Through out the entire story I was laughing uncontrolably and then sobbing like there was no tommorow. Going Bovine makes you realize how fragile and short life really is and that you need to do those things you have always wanted to do, that you need to take that chance because you never know what could happen. This is now my favourite book and I reccomend it to everyone.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2012

    Hey

    I love this book it was written thoughtfully and says things some autors are hesitant to say (like the matter of male/female attraction)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2012

    Cameron Smith was born below average, and his all-too-perfect tw

    Cameron Smith was born below average, and his all-too-perfect twin sister Jenna got all the luck. Seriously. When Cameron is diagnosed with Mad Cow disease, his whole life grinds to a halt. No more smoking weed in the fourth floor men's bathroom, no more working long hours at the Buddha Burger, and no more dealing with a despondent father. After being moved to the hospital, an angel appears to him. The angel asks a very real question- do you want to die in here having done nothing with your life? Cameron is scared, so he decides that he wants to live a real life in the few weeks he has left. Now that he is ready to go, he decides to bring his new friend from school. His new friend is a death-obsessed video gaming dwarf nicknamed Gonzo. As Cameron and Gonzo go on their journey to save the world from dark energy, as the angel Dulcie told them, they meet strange people and do strange things. This story is full of randomness and laughter. The funny parts still hold meaning, and the deeper theme of living life is always shown.

    My favorite things about the book was the total randomness and cleverness shown in the book. With evil Wizards, fire giants, Norse gods, party houses, and a punk-rock angel, this story never failed to keep you guessing. The ending was particularly fantastic, but you'll have to read it to find that out now won't you?

    I recommend this book for anyone who can follow a crazy story and has the maturity to handle a more adult-like book. I give this book five stars because of the fantastic randomness of this book. Read it, and you won't regret it. Plus, you get lots of "why does your book have a cow carrying a lawn gnome on the front"s which are always interesting... So read the book and it will be one of the greatest stories you will ever read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2010

    Parents Beware!

    This book is not at all suitable for younger tweens or teens who read above their grade levels. It is chock full of curse words, has explicit drug use, and sexual references including extra-maritial affairs. I quit reading after chapter 13 and will not let my 13yr old son read this for some years.

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2013

    WOW.

    Wow. Just wow. This book... read it. Pay no attention whatsoever to the bad comments on this book, for they are the most ill deserved reveiws in history. This book is definitely one of the greatest books I've ever read, and that's really saying something considering the sheer amount I read. I read the first half of this book while on a cruise, and had to leave the book aboard as it belonged to the ship's library. Needless to say I had to track this book down the minute I hit solid land. The charachters, the plot, the absolute maniac absurdity of this book, just.......WOW? I definitely reccomend this book to anyone who can read, and a few that can't. AND THE PLOT TWIST OMG

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2013

    Wow

    I am a person who never reads. Ever. I had to pick up this book for summer reading and i was literally glued to it. For a girl who rarely reads, i think ive finally enjoyed reading because of this book. I feel like i was transported through time to a different world and i could clearly see every character and every scene. This has never happened to me. Although i may have to reread the last chapter for clarification, i am so glad i read this book. Hats off to thr author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2013

    Perfect.

    Absolutely stunning.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2013

    Awesome.

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    N/A

    This is the best book i have ever read . I wish that more books were like it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2012

    Libba Bray absolutely flabbergasts me. I had read all of the Gem

    Libba Bray absolutely flabbergasts me. I had read all of the Gemma Doyle books and could hardly believe someone who wrote something like that could write something so hilarious. I laughed and I cried and found it amazing how she could mention something in the beginning of the book, only to have it be a key point much later in the novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    Great book

    Though i agree that there is so much swearing and definately something anyone under 15 or maybe 14 shouldnt read, it was really funny and amazing. the ending was really sad and i sort of wish it was happier, but i think it just makes it so much more memorable. :) loved it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2012

    Brillant

    Laughed from beginning to end

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2012

    Loved Every Moment Of This One!

    It's not a surprise that I loved this book, 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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2012

    Different

    Really interesting,funny, unique, and original

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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