Going Bovine by Libba Bray This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

November 12, 2010
In Going Bovine, Libba Bray delves into the sarcastic, skeptical, “couldn't-care-less” mind of Cameron Smith, a teenager who essentially has to save the world in order to save himself.

Does this book have action? You bet. Drama? There's some. Romance? Check. Crazy people who live in a utopia and try to convert everyone? Yes, this book has them too.

Going Bovine perfectly captures the struggles of being a teenager without using dreaded clichés. While a typical teen might undergo a rite of passage in high school, Cameron has bigger things to worry about and brighter cities to see. It's a fast-paced bildungsroman set to the soundtrack of the modern world, making it terrifically cool.

But more impressively, the book handles the realities of being a struggling teenager perfectly. Sure, Cameron has an incurable disease, but all teenagers can relate to feeling helpless and cynical. Yes, he has hallucinations, but everyone's caught up in their own mind to some extent. It's funny, it's tragic, and it's full of pithy quips to use on your friends. The whole story is a rollercoaster of emotion, humor, ­cosmic irony, and truth.

Moreover, Bray candidly handles issues such as drugs, alcohol, and dating without getting too serious. Nonchalance and a wry playfulness usually characterize her voice. At the same time, she allows sincerity to shine through. During the most mysterious and surreal parts, Cameron mulls over some heavy thoughts about being in the moment and taking life as it comes.

Libba Bray's Going Bovine is otherworldly on many levels. But most importantly, it will take you to an alternate dimension. Read it. You know you want to.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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