This novel turns a teen’s fatal condition into a hilarious and hallucinatory quest. Use our free chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis of Going Bovine. It helps middle and high school students understand Libba Bray’s literary masterpiece. From the author of the Gemma Doyle trilogy and The Diviners series, this groundbreaking New York Times bestseller and winner of the Michael L.

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The book skewers many things, including standardized tests. Some teens rebel against it. Other targets for derision include reality TV shows and “realitymercials. Cameron is a slacker who shows up late for work, gets bad grades, doesn’t keep his promises, and says his religion is “apathy.

He eventually learns to care about people besides giong. Gonzo is very fearful and attached to his mother but becomes more independent and daring he gets a tattoo. Cameron and Gonzo sneak out of ny hospital without telling their parents. Cameron’s sister Jenna diets and barely eats.

Minor characters do bad things: A girl gives Cameron tips on shoplifting, and her boyfriend bashes mailboxes with a baseball bat. A guy steals Balder. The fire giants burn and destroy things. Cameron and Gonzo get blamed for this and are considered terrorists.

Teens rebel against a mind-control youth group. A cashier shoots at Dulcie and Cameron.

Dulcie can see into the future and says one teen will get killed when he joins the army and steps on a land mine.

A football player does “the horizontal mambo with sympathetic cheerleaders. Cameron mentions masturbation, getting hard-ons, or going “a little expansive in my Fruit of the Loins” several times. He has sex without a condom with a girl a letdown and then again with an angel better.

Cameron believes his father is having an affair with his young assistant. Gonzo kisses his boyfriend. One of Cameron’s curses is “Holy Shiite Muslim. Characters flip each other the bird. Other language is milder, such as “pissed,” “hell,” “crap,” “damn,” and “turd. There are many mentions of a fictional movie called Star Fightersa thinly veiled lbiba to Star Wars.

The Disney ride “It’s a Small World” also plays a key role in the plot. Overall, the author mostly mocks society’s over-consumption. Cameron smokes pot at home and with a group of stoners in a school bathroom; he drinks alcohol at a party.

He abstains from drinking when he knows he will drive. Other teens smoke, use fake IDs to buy beer, and drink to excess at a TV-show sponsored “party house. Parents need to know this wacky novel features a teenager’s death, a punk angel, and plenty of edgy behavior by teens condom-free sex, drinking, pot-smoking, and running away. Lots of salty language, too. Add your rating See all 5 parent reviews. Add your rating See all 11 kid reviews. When Cameron, a high-school slacker, finds out pibba has fatal mad cow disease, he sets out on an epic quest to find a cure and maybe save the world, too.


Accompanied by his friends — Gonzo, a dwarf, and Balder, a Viking gray disguised as a long-suffering yard gnome don’t ask — Cameron faces an increasingly bizarre series of misadventures involving a punk angel, New Orleans jazz musicians, and snow globes in this very bovihe retelling of Don Quixote.

Fans of Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy A Great and Terrible Beauty will recognize the alternative-world fantasy elements in this book, but any resemblance ends there. Though the middle section stretches too long as Cameron moves from one absurd situation to the next, readers will stick with Bovine for its male bonding and humorous send-ups of fast-food restaurants, self-esteem, and reality shows. The over-the-top elements ultimately serve a quieter purpose, asking teens to ponder what it means to really live an engaged life.

Was it a utopia or dystopia? Would you want to participate in a “realitymercial” where you could order custom-made lives? What is the author trying to say about “reality” TV?

Going Bovine – Wikipedia

Common Sense Media’s unbiased libbz are created by expert reviewers and aren’t influenced by the product’s creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners. See how we rate. Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase.

Thank you for your support. Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential. Learn how we rate. For Your Family Log in Sign me up. Is it OK for kids to read books outside their reading levels?

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Going Bovine

Based on 5 reviews. Based on 11 reviews. Get it now Searching for streaming and purchasing options Common Sense is a nonprofit organization.


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The parents’ guide to what’s in this book. What parents need to know Parents need brat know this wacky novel features a teenager’s death, a punk angel, and plenty of edgy behavior by teens condom-free sex, drinking, pot-smoking, and running away.

Continue reading Show less. Stay up to date on new reviews. Get full reviews, ratings, and advice delivered weekly to your inbox. User Reviews Parents say Kids say. Parent of a 2, 5, and 13 year old Written by PoppyViolet January 27, Great book this is a great book! It’s hilarious, and very realistic. Adult Written by MissIcia November 24, libb A philosophical bocine funny and heart wrenching novel This book is easy to read and is humorous at most times, despite the overall theme being sad.

The characters are very diverse, and feature both realistic and fa Teen, 16 years old Written by gy May 29, Teen book Good book problem is swearing eg a– f–k “bone” and other profanities.

Teen, 14 years old Written by Benny December 1, Only Appropriate for Yound Adults Now this is a book for the older teens or young adults. Is it any good? Talk to your kids about Why do you think the author chose to make a yard gnome a key character in the novel?

Delacorte Press Publication date: September 22, Publisher’s recommended age s: For kids who love adventure. An Abundance of Katherines.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Comic slacker-geek lit is fun for the right teen. The Bovie Guide to the Galaxy: Hitchhiker’s Guide Series, Book 1. The acme of British science-fiction humor. Art and emotion both lost in retelling of classic. The Secret Life of Prince Charming. Teen’s quest for truth is compelling; some strong profanity.

Duff finds trouble while driving cross country. About these links Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase.

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