Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mad as the Cows about this book

If this cover doesn't sell you the minute you see it, then honestly? What will?
I was introduced to the great and wonderful Libba Bray (you thought I was going to say OZ weren't you?? She's crazy like OZ it's a good comparison to come to, and look! you did it all by yourself!) at the annual Balfour Book sale in Toronto, the biggest shopping day of my year. Every book in the store is 50% off and I usually walk away with easily 20-40 books of every possible description, and a couple of winters ago one of those books was the first of Libba's Gemma Doyle trilogy

I ripped through it and then in post-good read ritual, I searched the author to see what else I could find of hers. And that is when I found Libba's hysterical LJ.

And I officially fell in love.

At that point she was already talking about this strange story she was writing about a boy with Mad Cow disease, and how it was getting really weird but she loved it. In late November i found it on the shelves in Chapters, Going Bovine, and the cover sold me. I delved in, and wasn't disappointed by either the tales of weirdness, the crazy cover, or the sheer fun I was embarking on.

Cameron is 16, the looser twin, to his sisters cheerleading, A+ average, born again boyfriend, perfection. He almost died on the It's a Small World ride, and life has never been the same. You would think it can't get worse...but you should know by now, it always can. Cameron suddenly discovers that not only is he dying of Mad Cow disease but the world is coming to an end and he's seemingly been hand picked to save it.

Sent on the road with a vintage ride ticket bracelet to try and keep his death at bay, an angel that never shows up when he needs her most, a dwarf who's probably the most neurotic person on earth, and eventually a Norse God, in the form of a yard gnome, you just know this story is going somewhere different. But the great part is, it's funny and makes you appreciate the joy of living in a whole new way.

What struck me most about this book is how very Libba it was. Now don't get me wrong, I love her, but i don't know her. However, this story resonates as real, even though Libba was likely never a teenage boy with mad cow...though she's pretty crazy so you never know. It felt like a natural extension of her blogs more than a fictional novel. And somehow it felt like some of this crazy, funny, sincere blogging author lived inside the characters of this book.

One way or another she has done something fantastically right, and not just by my standards, because a few days ago it was announced that she's the winner of this years Michael L. Printz Award (for excellence in literature written for young adults, awarded by the American Library Association). Take a look at her blog to see her reaction, a truly wonderful and classic Libba Bray LJ moment.

Libba, if you're out there and you're reading this...I always wanted to be the Queen of England when I grew up too.

Going Bovine, By Libba Bray
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers, September 2009


  1. I thought this book was great as well. I wish I could adopt the yard gnome, truly one of the best characters I've come across in a long time.

  2. See! there you have, boys like it too!