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Going Bovine

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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  20,626 ratings  ·  3,049 reviews
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 w ...more
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Published May 15th 2010 by Random House (first published 2009)
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Stephanie I think it would have been too long between when that happened and when he got sick. I thought he got it from the Buddha Burger place, it fits in with…moreI think it would have been too long between when that happened and when he got sick. I thought he got it from the Buddha Burger place, it fits in with the satire of the fast food restaurant, happy cows happy to be recycled... (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Barry
I'm biased, of course. Libba's not just my client, she's my wife. But this is one of the funniest books I've ever read, and will break your heart at the same time.

She wrote the first draft of this book in one month, for a workshop organized by Cynthia Leitich Smith. It just poured out of her, and I knew it was something special when she'd talk about it with this little gleam in her eye.

Fans of the Gemma books may not initially think this is for them, but I think the romance, the humor, the quir
...more
Annalisa
Apr 12, 2010 Annalisa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: beware of an overuse of the f word, blah
Recommended to Annalisa by: YA book club
Bray takes on the great Don Quixote and delivers more than a modern satire. She gives us a wild ride worthy of Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz that is not only fun and hilarious but moving and exceptionally written. This novel is a monumental undertaking and somehow Bray accomplishes it.

In the beginning, I found Cameron wholly unrelatable, but Bray is so witty and has such a way with sarcastic metaphors and sneaking in description so you see and smell and hear and feel the book without
...more
Thomas
Sixteen year old Cameron Smith confidently states that the best day of his entire life was when he was a toddler and his family visited Disney Land. During that day he almost got himself killed in a freak drowning accident. Already it is evident of Cameron's mindset, or the teenage group he fits into: the lazy, jaded, underachievers that dwell within the restrooms of high school smoking pot. Things can't seem to get any worse until Cameron learns he has contracted Mad Cow Disease and that his de ...more
Nomes
me + this book = fail.

I made it to page 93 and still wasn't feeling it. I think it was just a touch too random and there were so many tangents from the main story-line that I wasn't engaged enough.

Also, the quirky anecdotes and asides just didn't do anything for me. Perhaps as an Aussie I just have a different sense of humour and found it too hard to relate?

Once I started doing the skimming thing (I was trying to zoom ahead and see if I could stumble across the plot, somewhere, hidden in there.
...more
Jonathon Arntson
Wow. This book is f*ing A-Ma-Zing! In fact, it's not a book. It is an HBO mini-series playing in your mind, if LotR met Dude Where's My Car, had a baby, that baby grew up and met every epic teen novel and movie from the last fifteen years and they all had one big literary orgy. Protection was used. Kinda.

Going Bovine is more than an unusual book; it is abnormal, bizarre, controversial, and extraordinary. I am a quick reader; you could say that I am a big fan of quickies. This book took me TWO WE
...more
Caris
In 1995, Paramount Pictures released a movie called Clueless. I remember when the previews were out, and, honestly, there was nothing I wanted to see less. This was, after all, the same year that 3 Ninjas Knuckle Up, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, and Mortal Kombat found their place on the big screen. Alicia Silverstone’s crowning glory was just not at the top of my eleven-year-old Big List o’ Shit.

A year later, I was chilling with my cousin, a bona fide teenage girl. Clueless was on HBO and she i
...more
Kat Kennedy
Okay, here's my review:

It started out good although very reminiscent of a modern-day Holden Caulfield.

Then it went really psychedelic.

Then I finished it and found something else to read.

Great concept - just kind of average execution.
Eric
As I plow through this sludge, I'm reminded of a favorite quote, which I think is from Charles Ives, "Awards are the badges of mediocrity." I am becoming cynical and distrustful of any work, fiction or otherwise, that wins any award.

I don't read a metric tonne of YA, I like much of it, and this book looked interesting. The cover, title, and premise of this novel intrigued me; but since I insist on doing idiotic things, like reading forwards, after I return home from the library, I should have k
...more
Morgan F
There will be spoilers at the end of this review. Don't worry; I'll give you plenty of notice. I just hate clickin that little spoilers box, because if the rest of the world is like me, no one will read this review because of the energy it takes to open the page.

Cameron is just your average teen guy. He's lazy, aimless, and the highlight of his day is smoking pot in the school rest room. But then the unexpected happens: he get's mad cow disease, which is fatal in every single case. The only cha
...more
kari
Wow! What a wild ride! Beautiful and sad.
Cameron is leading a boring teenage life; doesn't really fit in and doesn't really seem to care. He's mostly just going through the motions of life without really thinking about what matters to him or what his future holds.
Then, after having halucinations, he's diagnosed with Mad Cow Disease and that's when things get interesting. The pieces of his memories, random thoughts from his life are scrambled with physics and philosophy, reality and alternate un
...more
Madeline
This book starts out like any typical YA novel - our narrator is Cameron, a sixteen-year-old kid who is dealing with the typical family issues, going to a typical high school, and having typical sixteen-year-old problems and thoughts. We get through about sixty pages of this, so Libba Bray can set up Cameron's personality and situation, and then BAM. She flips everything on its head, and suddenly the book takes a U-turn into Crazyville.

Cameron is diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, better
...more
Rad
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Holy Terror
This book was funny, sad, and thought-provoking. I have to say this is probably one of the best teen books I've read in a while. And I agree with what Bray's husband said in his review; "this is one of the funniest books I've ever read, and will break your heart at the same time. "

The beginning starts off with Cameron in High School. He's an outcast and is pretty apathetic about life. Then he starts to have hallucinations and loses control of his body at times. His parents think he's doing drugs
...more
Ashley Poston
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
~Tina~
Feb 16, 2010 ~Tina~ rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ~Tina~ by: oliviasbooks
Going Bovine is one of those really cool books that you didn't know existed till it's in your hands and your madly flipping the pages to find out what's going on. Now this is a book that has so much meaning, so much heart, so much soul, but with a twisted witty humor to entertain every page of this masterpiece.

This book was a really trip and a half! I didn't know where Cameron's hallucinations start and where his reality ended. The lines are very fuzzy, but the adventure getting there was amazin
...more
Melissa
Well....I enjoyed the first chapter.

In all, the book was quite slow paced (480 freaking pages of it) and entirely predictable. The tone drove me absolutely insane. It sounded as if Bray was trying too hard to make her character witty and sarcastic. So instead of using the "Less is more" technique, Bray succeeded in creating a character that thinks they are incredibly funny and witty, when in reality, was extremely irritating.

I will admit that the concept of the book was original. But, sadly, poo
...more
Stephanie
I really loved the writing in "Going Bovine"; Libba Bray can write very well. I very much enjoyed the snarky dialogue but could have lived without the angst-y teenage BS. Cameron is not a lovable kid; he's miserable and transmits his misery page after page. His parents and sister are so unbelievably self-absorbed that I just could not connect with them or Cameron after wading through more than half of the book. I realy hate not finishing a book but I had to let this one go. However, since I real ...more
Cyrus
My favorite book of all time. Imagine Brian Lee O'Malley surrendering his masterpiece Scott Pilgrim series to Bob Dylan, Scott Adams and Jack Kerouac. The constraints are Scott Pilgrim is now a stoner who has mad cow disease, Ramona is a punk rock angel who flies in and out of Scott's life, and Wallace is a hypochondriac dwarf human. They all take a road trip through the dirty South and face many a task. New Orleans blues legends, smile cults, eskimo rock bands, evil snowglobes and the occaision ...more
Rebekah
There were things I liked about this book. The first 100 pages are pre-mad cow where the reader gets a taste of Cameron, his family, and school. Things that "happen" post-mad cow hark back to pre-mad cow. Which was cool. Because everythings connected. It was fun to see how different parts of Cameron's life popped up on his adventures.

It's also really well written, witty, and funny. Sad because Mad Cow is fatal

What I didn't like? It was boring. I slogged through this book for six weeks. SIX WEEK
...more
Kristy
You'd think a book involving Disney World, talking garden gnomes, dwarfs, punk-rock/combat boot wearing Angels and a teenager with Mad-Cow disease would be a riot, right?!?!?! You thought correctly my friend, it was quite the wild ride (to say the least). Honestly I have no idea where to even go with this review.......

Possible Spoilers

3.5 stars

Cameron is just your normal, albeit slightly dorky teenage guy. No one really pays him attention, he is just coasting by; he's got his life set on cruise
...more
Addie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
Oct 02, 2009 Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* by: YOUR MOM. ...just kidding, i just wanted to say that.
Wowww alright. I really don't know where to start. It was like Alice in Wonderland and Catcher in the Rye combined or something. I loved it –but I have a feeling that it's one of those books that I'll, like, recommend to someone and they'll be like "WTF? Brigid, how on earth could you like this book?" Okay, so it is about this kid with mad cow disease who has to save the world from evil fire giants ... which I know sounds totally bizarre. Wait, it is totally bizarre. But somehow, when you're rea ...more
Kim

ROAD TRIP! Who doesn’t love a good road trip? (rhetorical) Who doesn’t love to read about a road trip? Huh? C’mon… On the Road, Travels with Charley, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? Anything?

Well, I do enjoy reading about them. More so when they involve hypochondriac dwarves, punk rock angels, fire giants, stellar trumpeters, time traveling vegan gurus, frenzied smoothie loving cultists who bowl, slutty cheerleaders, hermatic Inuit jam bands, wizards of reckoning, Viking yard gnomes
...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
This book is too long, I don't like the cover, and yes, it's weird, and has swearing, and not everyone will like it. It won the Printz Award for best teen book of the year, which is debatable, as these things always are. I don't know who's going to read it, besides youth services librarians and the occasional nerdy teen bookworm. But, it's a great book. It was sarcastic, and creative, and unique - how many other books can you think of where someone has mad cow disease? Exactly!

Cameron is a slack
...more
Synesthesia (SPIDERS!)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Arlene
Going Bovine, by Libba Bray, is truly different from what I've ever read before. What a great book! Probably one of the most bizarre, yet sad books I've read in a long time.

I’ve been a fan of Bray for a couple years and truly enjoyed reading the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. Well, she does not disappoint with her novel Going Bovine. However, when I was reading this book, it didn’t feel like it was written by Bray, which in my opinion is the markings of a talented author who has an exceptional ability to
...more
Krystle
What-the-heck. This book was off the charts weird. If you were something in the vein of her Gemma Doyle trilogy, step back now because it’s way, way, way different.

The first thing you notice is her writing style. It’s sarcastic, snarky, and light-hearted. Not to mention it’s got eccentric weaved in all over it. I’m not sure if I was fan of it because it felt overly forced and she tried, maybe, a bit too hard making it sound quirky. But then again her journal entries, interviews, and everything e
...more
Eddie
This year compared to previous years, I've been having a hard time staying with books and not putting them down after I start them. I've put down more books this year than I have finished, I think. I almost did it with this book too. It was one of the strangest things I've read to date. I felt like I had to be high on certain points to really get into it. Not that I ever smoked weed and read a book at the same time, mind you. But nevertheless, I felt that I did need to be. And since I wasn't hig ...more
Lars Guthrie
Fun and funny enough to have kept me going to the end, but geez, Bray, in line with her name, paints with a broad brush. She gets by on brashness, and tosses out anything that is even close to subtle. Forget about nuance with 'Going Bovine.'

The premise—sixteen-year-old slacker from severely dysfunctional family gets mad cow disease and goes on hallucinatory quest to find Dr. X and save the universe with hypochondriac midget, talking gnome lawn ornament, and riot-grrrl angel as sidekicks—should h
...more
Cinda
Libba will make you laugh.
Until you cry.
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
What does this book MEAN? 11 127 Apr 18, 2014 08:12PM  
Libba Bray "Going Bovine" Review 3 30 Mar 06, 2013 02:06PM  
Book Loving Kiwis: Going Bovine 14 36 Feb 14, 2012 02:16AM  
Young Adult Book ...: Cameron and Family 19 76 Feb 28, 2011 02:11PM  
Young Adult Book ...: Cameron and other characters 19 63 May 03, 2010 07:04AM  
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2526
What is it about writing an author bio that gives me that deer-in-headlights feeling? It's not exactly like I'm going to say "I was born in Alabama…" and somebody's going to jump up and snarl, "Oh yeah? Prove it!" At least I hope not.

I think what gets me feeling itchy is all that emphasis on the facts of a life, while all the juicy, relevant, human oddity stuff gets left on the cutting room floor.
...more
More about Libba Bray...
A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1) Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, #2) The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3) The Diviners (The Diviners, #1) Beauty Queens

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“These are hard times. The world hurts. We live in fear and forget to walk with hope. But hope has not forgotten you. So ask it to dinner. It's probably hungry and would appreciate the invitation.” 256 likes
“People always think they know other people, but they don’t. Not really. I mean, maybe they know things about them, like they won’t eat doughnuts or they like action movies or whatever. But they don’t know what their friends do in their rooms alone at night or what happened to them when they were kids or if they feel fucked up and sad for no reason at all.” 234 likes
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