Tilting at windmills
In a departure from her Victorian-era trilogy for teens, Libba Bray dishes out a multi-layered dark comedy in her latest book, Going Bovine. Sixteen-year-old Cameron Smith, a self-absorbed slacker from Texas, is dying from Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, the human variant of Mad Cow.
Doctors don’t give Cameron much time, but Dulcie, a punk angel with pink hair, explains that the prions attacking his brain are from dark energy released by Dr. X. While parallel world-hopping, this mad scientist opened a wormhole, allowing dark energy to penetrate Earth. If Cameron can track down Dr. X, he’ll not only find a cure for his Mad Cow, but also save the planet in the process.
Cameron sets out on a farcical road trip to Daytona Beach, where Dr. X may be hiding. With help from his hospital roommate (an anxious, hypochondriac Little Person named Paul Henry “Gonzo” Gonzales), guidance from Dulcie and messages from tabloids, the pair tackles a series of hilarious, Don Quixote-like battles.
During the journey, Cameron begins to appreciate his parents, reconnect with his near-perfect sister and most importantly, learn about himself and how to trust, love—and live. While enjoying the hijinks, readers will have to decide whether Cameron’s escapades are really happening or merely the result of his deteriorating spongy brain, an element that adds to the madcap fun.
Read an interview with Libba Bray for Going Bovine.