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Going Bovine
Cover of Going Bovine
Going Bovine
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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  • 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-

  • From the book

    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...

About the Author-

  • Libba Bray is the author of the New York Times bestselling Gemma Doyle Trilogy, which comprises the novels A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and The Sweet Far Thing. She has written short stories about everything from Cheap Trick concerts to The Rocky Horror Picture Show devotees to meeting Satan worshippers on summer vacation. Libba lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, son, and two cats. Her dream is to stop sucking so badly at drums in Rock Band. You may visit her at www.libbabray.com, and you don't even have to call first.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine Sixteen-year-old Cameron Smith doesn't like much, has few friends, and, frankly, isn't that likable. But when he finds himself in a hospital, he plans to escape to seek a cure--and then the journey begins. Bray crafts a fantastical story that is creative, laugh-out-loud funny, and poignant. It demands a creative narration. Erik Davies gives Cameron a steady, almost- nonchalant voice as his journeys take him to a jazz club, a cult, Daytona Beach, Disneyland, and other places. Davies relishes the characters Cameron meets--and there are many. They're challenging, but all receive unique voices and accents. His best are Cameron's sidekicks, a teenage dwarf and a talking gnome. Witty dialogue and creative voices make this production a standout. M.B. (c) AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine
  • 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.

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