July 17, 2011

Review of "Going Bovine"

"Going Bovine"
Libba Bray
Going Bovine

Pub. Date: September 22, 2009
Pages: 480
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Synopsis:  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.

I was very skeptical of "Going Bovine", even after hearing rave reviews and it winning the Printz Award.  I read "A Great and Terrible Beauty" and it was good, but didn't live up to the hype.  I am happy to report that "Going Bovine" was AWESOME!  At first I wasn't sure how I felt about the book- the characters treated Carter like crap and it was driving me nuts- but then the book switched gears completely and Carter started his quest to save the world and himself.  This book reminded me of the first time I watched "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", at first I wasn't sure how I felt about the movie, it was kind of strange, but by the time the Time Warp scene was over I was hooked! 

Why is this book awesome?  It has EVERYTHING.  There are memorable characters that include punk angel, a garden gnome who may or may not be a Viking god, and a dwarf who is afraid of life.  The book is hilarious, ridiculous, touching, and shows the difference between being alive and living.  I also thought the uses of "Don Quixote" and Wile E. Coyote vs. Road Runner were really cool (this is one of those statements that you won't understand until you read the book and if I go into details I will spoil part of the book).

This book straddles the line between being completely bizarre and genius, it is brilliant but at the same time doesn't take itself too seriously.  I would highly recommend "Going Bovine", but this book isn't for everyone, it deals with mature situations, including drug use, sex, and coping with a terminal illness.  This is a book I can see becoming a classic for teens with some parents pushing for banning, but isn't that the way great books should be.  "Going Bovine" truly deserves the Printz Award and I hope it continues to be a must have in any library.  I will definitely be reading "Beauty Queens" VERY soon!


  1. GOing Bovine was indeed excellent and just wait til you read Beauty Queens! It is literally my new favorite book. :)

  2. Jessica- "Beauty Queens" will be one of the next books I read... probably will start it after "Passion"!

  3. Fantastic review! Here's mine if you don't mind: http://lorxiebookreviews.blogspot.com/2013/02/going-bovine-by-libba-bray.html

    Thanks and have a nice day!