May 18, 2012

Review: Going Bovine

By: Libba Bray
Published: September 2009 by Delacorte
Format: Hardback, 480 pages
First Reviewed: March 2011
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
Add it on Goodreads

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.

Rating: 5/5

So, I didn't know what I was going to think about this book. I had read both great and terrible reviews and everything in between, so when I finally listed it on my wishlist, I was on the fence. Part of me expected to love it, but then part of me thought that well, it's probably going to be one of those books that bores the crap out of me or that just has writing I don't care for or characters I dislike. However, I'm happy to say I'm siding with those who loved this book, because I sure did!

Hello! Road trip...ish. I won't spoil anything, but I loved the setting. For one, it wasn't the typical big city or small towns and all places had a purpose.

Love! Love! Love! The Characters. Okay, I have to spoil this a little, but I can't help it: There's a freaking awesome gnome in this book! Okay, that's all I'll say before I get too much into the characters. All of them were developed to the fullest, in my opinion, especially Cameron. He had a voice right off the bat, one that didn't annoy me or give me that "ugh, this is a boy book that I can't get into" feeling that I sometimes get with boy narrated works (can't help it, y'all). And I related to him completely, which is something I don't get very much of in YA book world anymore, it seems. Anyway, and the supporting characters were fantastic. Even the "Extras" had personalities and distinct voices. Quite simply, I loved Bray's characterization.

Bray has some of the best writing. For real. She has some skills! For one, she made me bust out laughing from the beginning all the way through. And I hardly laugh with books. Maybe occasionally, but usually they just generate a smile. No, not here. I laughed! But that's not all, I felt. I had a very strong emotionally connection to this. The prose was strong, the dialogue was incredibly believable, and Bray managed to make mature language, thoughts, and scenes (only one major one, really) readable. I'm someone who doesn't really like cussing in books or sex scenes, but Bray handled those aspects so well that I never felt uncomfortable. (And, for the record, the sex scene is only a few paragraphs and it's not detailed. If I read it and was fine, then you will be. Ha! Trust me.) Anyway, I don't know how Bray captured so many raw emotions into this book and made them so realistic, but she did, and it paid off!

Okay, random, but at first I didn't like the cover at all, especially at the store, but after reading the book, I love it!

The plot? Amazing! Original. Fun. Emotional. One of those books that deserves a second read, but not just for fun, but to catch connections you didn't the first time. It didn't start off following "the rule" of fiction: Start when everything changes. And I'm sooo glad it didn't. It built on the character and his life before it changed, which I felt worked perfectly for this story. Though even though beginning chapters held great connections to the rest of the story. There were a couple of scenes that confused me a bit, but that's about it. This story is filled with so much meaning that I have a feeling I'll be thinking about it for days. Weeks, maybe. Right now, I can't stop reflecting on it and thinking about life. If you don't already know, I love books with a meaning and purpose and this is one of them.

Overall, this was beautiful. Funny. All around amazing! This book is a slower read, but never once was I bored and Bray's great writing and characterization made me turn the page. This is most definitely a creative premise that makes you think, feel, and even laugh.

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