I read A Great and Terrible Beauty and was like, *non-committal face, wanders off to find chips* so nothing really URGED me to pick up Going Bovine until Beauty Queens came out and everyone was like, This is sort of not so good, Going Bovine was much better. And I am nothing if not suggestible.
Remember mad-cow disease, you guys? That was a thing we all thought we were going to get. (Also anthrax. Also West Nile. The early-to-mid-aughts were a fear-mongery time.) Except Cameron actually does get it, so hypochondriacs beware.
And THAT sucks. But also filed under ‘sucks’ are his parents’ unravelling marriage, his twin sister’s new-found popularity, and his own no-one-likes-him-much-able-ness. Except that once you have mad cow, everyone is like POOR YOU, except that also you have mad cow. OH AND a super-hot (punk-style, because in YA to be traditionally hot is to be shallow and bitchy) angel shows up like, You need to save the world and here’s how and take that little person with you.
So Cameron escapes from the hospital with Gonzo, the aformentioned little person (Dwarf? Hypochondriac, anyways), and they go to find Dr X who accidentally let some dark matter into the universe and INCIDENTALLY can cure Cameron as well so there’s your carrot, and along the way they acquire a talking garden gnome who is also a Norse god and they end up temporarily part of a cult and on a game show for a bit and one of them is accidentally turned into a snow globe and it is WACKY. Obviously.
And it’s meant to be a bit starker-nuts, like magical realism with a sense of humor, which I digged. I enjoy knowing any old thing can happen, it leaves your Anticipation Gates wide open. And the writing is 90% Invisible Prose, 5% Actually Hilarious Jokes, and 5% Jokes That Make An Effort And Really That’s What Counts (No It Isn’t). And that particular blend isn’t one that I rush to the store for, but I will drink it if it’s placed in my hand.
Did I mention there was a moral to the story? And that I didn’t hate it, even though it showed up in a sandwich board and carrying tracts, just in case I missed it? I can’t be mad at you, Obvious Moral, when you are something awesome like CARPE DIEM and VIVE LE RESISTANCE, which are things that I shout on a regular basis.
So this was fine, but has sort of reinforced my non-need to read Beauty Queens. The next thing Bray comes out with that is touted as being EVEN BETTER than Going Bovine, I will consider. She’s hilarious on The Twitters, anyway (and the acknowledgements in GB are to DIE for).