[review] Going Bovine by Libba Bray

One day Cameron almost died at Disneyland. Now he’s dying of mad cow disease, and to defeat the thing that gave him the disease he will need to go on the coolest roadtrip ever.

Going Bovine

This is the kind of book you’d find in a grade 12 English classroom of the “cool” English teacher. There are so many details in this book that you could easily write essays on multiple topics, reading into seemingly random occurences and insignificant details.

The narration is fairly dark, as is the story overall, but still the humour shines through. The word “morbid” comes to mind, but it’s not quite that. There are also shocks that reveal truths about life. Sometimes these truths are things we’d rather ignore, so I think the book is worth the read for that alone.

That being said, it is a very slow moving book, especially in the beginning. Even when the “action” begins, there was never a feeling of rushing, despite the fact that the protagonist is in a race against the clock. However, try not to let this put you off to the book. Slow in this case doesn’t necessarily mean poorly paced. This is the kind of book you should savour: a long-distance run instead of a sprint.

Books with similar aspects

Liar by Justine Larbalestier

This one time with Julia by David Lampson

recommended to fans of intricate but fun books with endings that can be read in different ways

not recommended to those who prefer concrete conclusions and books that get to the point

Don’t just take my word for it!

“This book was very funny and I was definitely entertained for the duration. ” Jen @ Almost Grown-Up

“Heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time.” Marissa Meyer (author of Cinder)

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About megtao

Student. Writer. Nerdfighter. Fights for love, justice, and awesome.
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7 Responses to [review] Going Bovine by Libba Bray

  1. Candice says:

    I could definitely see this book being in a “cool” English teacher’s classroom. I like that you bring up slow pacing… I can’t stand when people talk about how slow books are as a negative thing. I mean, if the book is slow because the plot/pacing is bad or off, then that’s one thing… but like you said: sometimes a book isn’t fast paced because it’s meant to be savored! I love savory books :)

    • megtao says:

      I think a lot of readers think that a book needs to push you forward, but I think a sign of a good book is when you want to continue reading not because you NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT but because you want to.

  2. I devoured this book when I first read it. Made me fall in love with Libba Bray. I honestly didn’t really find the beginning slow moving. I loved every moment of it. <3

  3. I quite like long distance run books and LOVE Libba Bray’s writing and own a copy of this, but alas haven’t actually read it yet. SOON. I will totally read it soon.

    • megtao says:

      It does seem like a book you’d like. I think it was Cameron that reminded me of you…but it might have been a different book and different character…

  4. I always see this book but I honestly have no idea what it was about. The cow on the cover always freaked me out.
    It does sound really interesting however and I think I would like to read it at some point. Especially if its as intricate as you say. I love books that make me think.

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