Going Bovine

cover image for Going BovineBray, Libba. (2009) Going Bovine. New York, NY: Delacorte Press.

Plot Summary:

Sixteen year old Cameron has been acting odd lately – even odder than usual.  He’s also been seeing things that…aren’t exactly ordinary.  When Cameron’s parents finally decide that maybe something is wrong with him after all (that, perhaps, he’s not simply acting up) they take him to a doctor who explains that Cameron has Mad Cow Disease.  As if that isn’t enough, not long after Cameron has to be taken to the hospital a punk rock angel comes along and explains that it’s his destiny to save the world.  It’s not like Cameron has much else better to do, but with being stuck in bed and all, so he accepts the challenge.  But first…he needs to find a way to break out of the infirmary.

Critical Evaluation:

I desperately wanted this book to be half as long as it was.  Not because I don’t read thick books, but because long drawn out adventure stories in which it’s entirely likely that only one person is real do not make for terribly engaging stories.  Bray makes some clever allusions to Don Quixote and there is just enough ambiguity to make the question of what really happened an interesting one.  There just was just too little possibility that his friends really existed to make me care about anyone but Cameron; the hints that he was merely in a coma were too early and too often to let myself get invested in the fates of Balder, Gonzo, or Dulcie.  Nevertheless, it was certainly different and intriguing and worthy of reading and discussion, most especially when it comes to the question of if it even matters if none of it was real or not.  Also, it’s not as if Bray doesn’t write well.

Reader’s Annotation:

Cameron is off the save the world – and possibly himself as well.

Author Information:

http://libbabray.com/

http://libba-bray.livejournal.com/

@libbabray

Genre:

Award Winners

Booktalking Ideas:

This book is full of weird and odd sh-, er…stuff.  I would probably pick one of the scenes in the book (probably the Small World scene, as it’s not really a spoiler) and use that the set the tone and scene of the story.

Reading Level/Target Age:

7th grade/14-19

Possible Controversy:

Drugs. Cults. Reality TV. Explicit language. Sex. There’s plenty here for people to object to, if they are so inclined.  There’s plenty to use to defend it as well, if needed – starting with the Printz seal on the cover.

Reasons for Choosing This Title:

I liked A Great and Terrible Beauty and the rest of the books in that trilogy.  So I thought I would try this one.  Wow.  No one is ever going to accuse Bray of not having range.

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