Book Review: Going Bovine

Going Bovine
Published By: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 2009
Page Count: 496
Buy it at Amazon or IndieBound
Source: Owned by Reviewer
Audience: YA 

I read this one awhile back, but its one that even almost a year later is still floating around in my brain. Libba Bray has a way of doing that to me. Her books are full of humor, satire, and social commentary. Beauty Queens was one of my favorite reads of 2011 and Going Bovine made my favorites of 2010 list. However, I read this one before Reading Lark was opened so I felt like this old favorite of mine needed a little love. Going Bovine was really the first Bray book that I loved. I tried to get into her Gemma Doyle books, but I didn't make it past the first one. The writing was solid in those; they just didn't appeal to me for whatever reason. Picking this one up was a gamble for me, but one that paid off.

You might be asking yourself how a book about a teenage boy who catches mad cow disease possibly be entertaining. I get it - I was right there with you when I picked this one up. I was expecting a book full of sadness and tragedy. Those elements are certainly present, but never fear, when Bray is in the drivers seat hilarious antics will ensue. Only she could take something as depressing as a fatal disease and make me laugh for 450 pages. (Note - Yes, I know that there are 496 pages in the book, but 46 of those pages were really sad.) In spite of the tragic circumstances, Going Bovine is full of laughter and hope. 

I loved the characters in this one and I would love to know how Bray comes up with this stuff. The main character, Cameron, is an average teen boy who happens to love his burgers. Poor guy - that tainted beef will kill ya. He's joined in his epic adventures by Gonzo, a dwarf with a disease complex, Dulcie, a pink punk angel, and Balder, a Norse God trapped inside of a garden gnome. How could this cast of characters not make you laugh? As always, its also nice to see a male narrator. I don't think that happens often enough in YA literature.

Fans of Beauty Queens who haven't spent some time with Going Bovine should surely remedy that in the near future. This is perhaps the most unique YA work I have seen in a long time.

One Last Gripe: I hated the ending - even though I knew it was inevitable 

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The humor

First Sentence: The best day of my life happened when I was five and almost died at Disney World.

Favorite Character: I loved them all, but if I must choose I'll go with Balder

Least Favorite Character: I didn't have one in this read


Can Cameron find what he’s looking for?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.


  1. I hated the ending too. Even though I think anybody could see that coming. It just seemed like the whole book was pointless since the ending sorta ruined it. Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed it, I didn't like it.

    Great review!

  2. I'm with you on this one, I loved it! Although I hated the ending as well, it was written in such a way that it didn't ruin the rest of the story (at least for me). And Balder was an awesome character! I'm looking forward to reading more from Libba Bray.

  3. Fantastic review! Here's mine if you don't mind:

    Thanks and have a nice day!


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