Friday, August 5, 2011
YA Fiction: Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Acquired: from Random Buzzers
Read: for my own enjoyment
Reading time: four days
From GoodReads: 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.
My review: The best way to describe Going Bovine is a YA version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams. It's random. It's funny. It doesn't always completely make sense (though I finally understand the purpose of Schrödinger's Cat now), but it's the random and humorous stuff that makes it great. Bray accurately captures the dialogue and minds of teenagers, and her quirky characters and odd plot sequence make Going Bovine a unique read. At over 400 pages, the novel can get a bit long, but it's never boring; the storyline is constantly moving, and I would have hated for Bray to take out any part of it because us short-attention-span readers don't usually like longer books. My only disappointment was that the ending didn't turn out the way I expected (I had thought I was so smart, figuring it out!), but the conclusion is satisfying (though for some reason my brother was in a state of confusion for a day and said it blew his mind). Anyway, read this book. It's one of the best YA books I've read: well-written, great with teenage minds, and with a fascinating plot that stays with you after you've finished reading.
For fans of Doyle's A Great and Terrible Beauty and series, Going Bovine is totally not like those. I had to look up Libba Bray on Wikipedia to make sure they were by the same author. Twice. My younger brother, who would never, ever, in a million years touch the Gemma Doyle books, loved Going Bovine and read it in less time than I managed.
Maturity Factor: Profanity and other remarks and thoughts common with your average teenager. Some non-explicit sex.