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Going Bovine
Cover of Going Bovine
Going Bovine
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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...
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...
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Description-

  • 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
 

Awards-

Excerpts-

  • 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...

About the Author-

  • Libba Bray is the New York Times bestselling author of the Gemma Doyle trilogy (A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and The Sweet Far Thing); the Michael L. Printz Award-winning Going Bovine; Beauty 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.

Reviews-

  • DOGO Books meowmeow - There have only been two books that have ever made me cry, and this was one of them. I absolutely loved it!!!!
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 3, 2009
    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.

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2009
    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 hallucinatoryor 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 crazyor 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 deathbedor 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, Peachtree Ridge High School, Suwanee, GA"

    Copyright 2009 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    August 25, 2009
    It sucks to be Cameron. He has no idea why he sees things that no one else sees or why, at the most inappropriate times, his hands shake uncontrollably. Then the results of his MRI come back. Cameron has a rare case of Creutzfeldt-Jakob (mad cow) disease. Sent on a quest by the angel Dulcie, he and his dwarf roommate break out of the hospital to save the world from dark energy and Dr. X. Why It Is for Us: When fate deals you a one-in-five-billion blow, do you go out living or dying? You are advised to keep a Cliff's Notes edition of Don Quixote handy as you read-though instead of windmills, Cameron tilts at Disney's Tomorrowland. Bray has not written a teen problem novel about mad cow disease. She swims in deeper water, defending the importance of friendship, family, and life purpose in the face of mediocrity.-Angelina Benedetti, King Cty. Lib. Syst., WA

    Copyright 2009 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • The New York Times "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."
  • Publishers Weekly, Starred Review "Offer this to fans of Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy seeking more inspired lunacy."
  • Booklist, Starred Review "An unforgettable, nearly indefinable fantasy . . . wholly unique, ambitious, tender, thought-provoking, and often fall-off-the-chair funny."
  • The Horn Book "Readers will have a great time."
  • The Denver Post "Here's one book about dying that has a wicked sense of humor."
  • VOYA "A laugh-out-loud tear-jerking fantastical voyage into the meaning of what is real in life."
  • Guys Lit Wire "A very messed-up book, but in a good way. . . .Hilarious, random, surreal and thought-provoking."

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    Random House Children's Books
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