Going Bovine

Going Bovine

by Libba Bray
4.1 243

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Overview

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

From the author of the Gemma Doyle trilogy and The Diviners series, this groundbreaking New York Times bestseller and winner of the Michael L. Printz Award for literary excellence is "smart, funny, and layered," raves Entertainment Weekly.

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.

From acclaimed author Libba Bray comes a dark comedic journey that poses the questions: Why are we here? What is real? What makes microwave popcorn so good? Why must we die? And how do we really learn to live? 

"A hilarious and hallucinatory quest."—The New York Times

"Sublimely surreal."—People

"Libba Bray's fabulous new book will, with any justice, be a cult classic. The kind of book you take with you to college, in the hopes that your roommate will turn out to have packed their own copy, too. Reading it is like discovering an alternate version of The Phantom Tollbooth, where Holden Caulfield has hit Milo over the head and stolen his car, his token, and his tollbooth. There's adventure and tragedy here, a sprinkling of romance, musical interludes, a battle-ready yard gnome who's also a Norse God, and practically a chorus line of physicists. Which reminds me: will someone, someday, take Going Bovine and turn it into a musical, preferably a rock opera? I want the sound track, the program, the T-shirt, and front row tickets."—Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375893766
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 09/22/2009
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 169,090
Lexile: HL680L (what's this?)
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Libba Bray is the New York Times bestselling author of the Gemma Doyle trilogy (A Great and Terrible BeautyRebel Angels, and The Sweet Far Thing); the Michael L. Printz Award-winning Going BovineBeauty Queens, an L.A. Times Book Prize finalist; and The Diviners series. She is originally from Texas but makes her home in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, son, and two sociopathic cats. Visit her at www.libbabray.com and at @libbabray on Twitter and Instagram.

Customer Reviews

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Going Bovine 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 243 reviews.
neji_pwnz More than 1 year ago
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.
gcsoa More than 1 year ago
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.
Lindsey_Miller More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book it was written thoughtfully and says things some autors are hesitant to say (like the matter of male/female attraction)
PenningrothRac More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely stunning.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book i have ever read . I wish that more books were like it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Laughed from beginning to end
Goddess_Beth More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really interesting,funny, unique, and original
titania86 More than 1 year ago
Cameron Smith was an apathetic, wallflower kind of kid in high school. He was a slacker, who was uninterested in college and smoked pot in the bathroom during school. He also has a perfect, perky sister that makes him look even worse by comparison. That is, until his uncontrollable movements and hallucinations are diagnosed as Creutzfeldt-Jakob diseases, AKA mad cow disease. This disease is a prion (mutated protein) that pretty much pokes holes in the brain. It's incurable and fatal. He is spurred by a cute punk rock angel named Dulcie to go on a quest to save the world (and find a cure to his disease) along with a hypochondriac dwarf named Gonzo and a Norse god turned lawn gnome named Balder. Along the way, Cameron battles evil with a legendary jazz musician in New Orleans, narrowly escapes from a crazy happiness cult, helps a group of scientists with an experiment, and goes to Disney World. Libba Bray has created a crazy and unique retelling of Don Quixote. I actually didn't realize it was based on a specific novel until I read other reviews of it. I saw it as more of a modern version of the hero journey in mythology as illustrated by Joseph Campbell. Although the book is almost 500 pages long, I was completely sucked in and wanted to read it in one sitting. All of the characters were striking, original, and complete. Cameron was initially not a very likable character. He was rude to his friends and family and was just generally selfish. From the initial diagnosis to the end of the novel, he undergoes a transformation with every person he meets and every crazy situation he encounters. He slowly turns into a true hero. He gains appreciation for music and develops close relationships with the people around him. The things he revered in his old life are revealed to be shallow and meaningless in the new one. The journey was largely an internal one for Cameron. It can even be debated if the journey actually happened at all or if it was just the product of a deteriorating mind. This isn't a typical teen novel. It's one of the most unique books I have ever read in the young adult genre. I really respect the author that writes teen characters that curse and have sex because real teenagers (and people in general) curse and have sex. It's a part of life and pretending it doesn't exist or that's not how real people act does more harm than good in the lives of teenagers. I really enjoyed this novel. It was funny, tragic, and disturbing at times. I had so much fun the wild ride with Cameron and his friends. My only complaint was that the ending took a little bit away from my enjoyment of the novel. I felt it could have been more ambiguous in the end and a little less off the wall. Other than that it was awesome. I would recommend this book to pretty much anybody.
TheShort1 More than 1 year ago
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.
NikkiT More than 1 year ago
While it may not have been exactly the best book ever, I truly dug the tone it presented. It was exactly how I felt at the time and I couldn't have asked for a better book to read. I definitely recommend it. Read it; trust me you'll like it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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! kinda...my point is i reccomend it!
Anonymous 8 months ago
THIS IS NOT A CLUE:im gonna wait until 9 other people get here , if you are readng this it means that you are either one of the top ten or you are a 11 and under and you got here right before i posted the top ten list ( you' ll find out when i post the list), i told you to post something with a name / thing you want me to call you so i could post a list of the top ten people with names so you could know. I WILL POST THE NEXT CLUE UNDER THE LIST OF THE TOP TEN PEOPLE! PS . Great job you got this far!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books. I loved reading it. I recommend this book to everyone.
Edentatus More than 1 year ago
The story of a teenage boy dealing with a fatal disease is a funny and insightful examination of what it means to be alive. I laughed through most of the book and cried over the last few pages. I plan to read it again this winter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago