Saturday, May 16, 2009

Going Bovine by Libba Bray Book Review

Going Bovine by Libba Bray
(Random House, Hardcover, September 2009)


Cameron's main goal in life is to coast through high school. His younger sister is the over-achiever in the family, so Cameron has given up on trying. He has a hard time connecting with his parents, his classmates, and even music, save for one awful sounding band called the Great Tremelo. Then Cameron is diagnosed with mad cow disease and his life really begins. Dulcie, a cute winged punk angel, comes to him and presents him with a quest to save the world. With nothing to lose, Cameron heads out on the ultimate of road trips.

Going Bovine is a weird mix of string theory, classic literary references, and teenage sarcasm that actually works—in fact, it works quite well. Cameron's voice is smart, disillusioned, and priceless; take his thoughts on high school English class, for example:
"These works—groundbreaking, incendiary, timeless—have been pureed by the curriculum monsters into a digestible pabulum of themes and factoids we can spew back on a test." (p.6)
The dilemma that Bray presents is irresistible: the underachieving, yet extremely smart high school boy thinks that he has all the time in the world to experience life, but he doesn't. Cameron's road trip buddies, a hypochondriac dwarf named Gonzo and a Norse God turned yard gnome named Balder, offer tons of fodder for existential musings and crude teenage boy humor. Libba Bray has definitely established herself as a leading voice in contemporary literature. Though this book is nothing like her Gemma Doyle trilogy, I devoured it with the same interest and intensity. And if any booksellers or librarians are reading this review, you are selling this book short if you let the teen label on the back define your audience for it.

You can read this novel in two ways, either Cameron is lying in a hospital bed, hallucinating as the disease eats away at his brain, or Cameron really is battling the forces of good and evil while seriously crushing on a candy-addicted punk angel. Either way you see it, Going Bovine will have you laughing out loud, folding down pages that have some of the best quotes you've read in years, and vowing that, starting today, you will live your live to the fullest. As the old lady in the hospital tells Cameron,
"I don't think you should die before you're ready. Until you've wrung out every last bit of living you can." (p.97)

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Heart Is Not a Size Book Cover

Beth Kephart has posted the cover for her next book, The Heart Is Not a Size, coming out in March 2010.  Isn't it gorgeous?  I love the hands in the shape of a heart.  And the color scheme is very striking.  The picture of the girls makes me think that this book will deal with issues of loneliness and friendship.  The heart, though, tells me that this story will most certainly capture my imagination and my heart.  I can't wait to read it!

Beth has a beautiful excerpt from the book up on her blog.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Poetry Friday : Nocturne

by Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Up to her chamber window,
A slight wire trellis goes
And up this Romeo's ladder
Clambers a bold white rose;
I lounge in the ilex shadows,
I see the lady lean
Unclasping her silken girdle,
The curtain folds between.

She smiles on her white rose lover,
She reaches out her hand.
And helps him in at the window,
I see it when I stand,
To her scarlet lips she holds him,
And kisses him many a time.
Ah me! 'twas he that won her
Because he dared to climb.


To learn more about Poetry Friday, visit Big A little a. This week's Poetry Friday round-up is at Kelly Polark.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Undercover Poetry Contest and Paperback Release

I've been so busy lately that I haven't posted anything, but I couldn't miss out on posting about this...

Beth Kephart is having a poetry contest on her blog to celebrate the paperback release of Undercover.  Three lucky winners will be selected on May 10th.  So, go get your poesy on and submit one of your best poems!   Each winner will receive a signed copy of the wonderfully fabulous (and now with bonus material!) Undercover.

Read my review of Undercover.