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

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Libba Bray's Going Bovine is an awe-inspiring book that takes you on a journey over the fantastic landscape of a seemingly normal United States. It begins with the introduction of Cameron in Disney World on the “It's a Small World” ride. We find him searching for a way to reach a mysterious door within the ride. Since he is just a child, he falls into the water, almost drowning. His curiosity has driven him to discover what hides behind the door.

Then this flashback ends, and we are left with a teenage stoner who is trying to slip through high school unnoticed. The true literary artistry of Bray is brought out in screaming colors when we find that Cameron has contracted mad cow disease. Vivid images of his hallucinations are played out as if we are right there with him. We find ourselves actually feeling like we are going to New Orleans, or being attacked by the fire giants, as we follow him on his journey to find a cure for his disease. The imagery is incredible and allows us have a relationship with these characters.

The majority of the book follows Cameron through the hallucinated journey brought on by his disease. The meaning of the experience to Cameron is more important than anything he could have experienced in reality, making it hard to determine what is truly important in our own lives.

This story depicts life perfectly. The struggles that Cameron deals with in both his real life and his imagined one are a reflection of reality. These struggles include a lack of belonging, social structure, relationship building, life, death, and much more. You may find the talking yard gnome character to reflect a true relationship that exists in our own world.

Going Bovine is definitely a comedy. Bray's personality is woven throughout and leaves us often laughing out loud, though a turn of the page can then bring us to tears, as his emotional battle tears our hearts open.

This book is a must-read if you enjoy fiction that is not too serious and in the end has an underlying message. I would recommend Going Bovine to anyone looking for an easy and enjoyable read. Don't turn away from this book if you think it sounds too quirky. The oddness is very different from other books out there and is ­really refreshing.

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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