Going Bovine by Libba Bray tells about the adventures of Cameron, a teen who has contracted Mad Cow disease and is dying. That may seem to be a grim idea to write a book about, but in Libba Bray’s talented hands, Going Bovine becomes a masterpiece of one teenager striving to live life to its fullest in the time he has left to him. It has its sad moments, but it is a celebration of life, and Cam’s cross-country travels to find the mysterious Dr. X who may hold the key to curing the disease and saving his life.
There are references in the novel to Cervantes’s famous novel, Don Quixote, and Cameron’s trip to New Orleans a fellow student (who also happens to be a dwarf), where he meets up with the Norse god Baldur, who has been transformed into the form of a lawn gnome by the trickster god Loki, is one of the book’s many highlights.
The trio end up headed to Florida during Spring Break, and to a Beach House that is being used by an MTV-like television program. Loaded with tons of musical and cultural references, as well as the ones to Norse mythology, Going Bovine is one of the best Y/A novels I’ve had the pleasure to read during the last decade. It’s very different from other novels Libby has written, such as the Gemma Boyle trilogy which concluded with The Sweet Far Thing. It demonstrates Libba’s ability to stretch her creative abilities to their utmost. It’s a book you’ll want to add to your reading lists, and one I highly recommend!