Going Bovine by Libba Bray has the potential to be that book.
Ok that’s all I got, enjoy!
Fine, I’ll tell you a little more.
Libba Bray works very hard in this novel to relate to her audience and write from the perspective of a teenage boy. In my humble opinion, she does a pretty good job. I find this even more impressive after watching this interview of her and realizing that she is someone that her main character, Cameron, would probably laugh at politely in order to find a quick escape before revealing just how creeped out he is becoming.
The basic premise is that Cameron, a sixteen year old male epitomizing the phrase “youth is wasted on the young”somehow catches mad cow disease. This allows the author to use his subsequent insanity as a vessel to create a modern day retelling of Don Quixote.
Cameron has a series of wacky encounters with extreme examples of modern American ideals and pop culture. As one would expect he also takes a personal journey and grows up a little. One of the things I appreciated about the book is that he doesn’t grow up too much. By the end he is still a teenager. His perspective on life has been widened, he has made some decisions that are less selfish than where his character was at the beginning of the book, but he is FAR from being a true adult or having figured out life.
One of the most noticeable ways in which Bray tries to relate with her audience is through her language. I feel like an old curmudgeon for pointing it out but you should know that if colorful language is something that turns you off to a book, you may want to steer clear. For me it brought up a sort of twisted nostalgia as I realized that my friends and I really did swear this much when we’d be talking in the hallways back in high school.
At the end of the day, I liked this book. I like the pop culture references, I like the humor and I like the heart that manages to sneak through every so now and then. The book won the 2010 Printz Award so obviously it has struck a cord with someone besides me.