Going Bovine by Libba Bray
TEEN BOOK CLUB KIT
Cameron Smith, a disaffected sixteen year-old who, after being diagnosed with Creutzfeld Jakob's (aka mad cow) disease, sets off on a road trip with a death-obsessed video gaming dwarf he meets in the hospital in an attempt to find a cure. This title is recommended for ages 9 and up.
Genre: Disabilities, Road Trip, Mad Cow Disease
2010 Michael L. Printz Award Winner
2010 Locus Award for Best Young Adult Book
5 Copies of Going Bovine
1 Audio Book Copy of Going Bovine* (12 CDs)
1 Copy of Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen
1 Discussion Guide. This discussion guide contains discussion questions, activities and other information to foster discussion of this book. You will also find information on starting and running a book club, earning a scout badge, and other information. Please do not write on these materials and return all pages, books, and contents of this kit. You may make copies of any of these materials.
*A downloadable audio version of Going Bovine is available to check out and download at www.ebtpl.org.
If you liked Going Bovine, you might like these books:
TEEN FICTION BAR
Tales from a Madman Underground: An Historical Romance 1973 by John Barnes
TEEN FICTION GIL
Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill
TEEN FICTION GRE
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
TEEN FICTION CUT
Deadline by Chris Crutcher
An Interview with Libba Bray from YPulse Magazine, September 30, 2009
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. Just think about and respond thoughtfully. Please share your own group’s discussion questions and comments by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to check the Library’s teen pages at www.btpl.org for additional questions and comments from other book groups.
Did you enjoy this story? What were your expectations before reading it and did it live up to your expectations? Would you recommend this book to your friends? Why or why not?
What did you think of Cameron Smith, initially? Do your views of him change over the course of the novel? If so, do they change because you get to know him better...or because he has changed?
At the beginning, Cameron describes himself as slacker: "I’m a drifter—right downstream and over the falls with the rest of the driftwood.” Is that an apt description of him? Is there another metaphor you could use? Why is he the way he is? What has caused his alienation? Is he typical of today's youth?
Was it all a dream? Did you believe Cameron was hallucinating the road trip? Or did you read the novel as fantasy, like J.R.R. Tolkein? Which were you hoping for—or expecting—realism or fantasy?
Are Gonzo, Dulci, and Balder appealing characters? Do you come to feel affection for them? Do you have a particular favorite?
Did you catch the Don Quixote references throughout the novel? Why might Bray have chosen Quixote as a pattern on which to base her novel?
Is Going Bovine depressing? Why would anyone want to read about a dying teenager (see The Fault in Our Stars, for one)? Does Bray hold your interest—if so, how does she do it?
Is the book funny? Does Bray make you laugh? If so, is she treating a tragic subject too lightly? Is her approach disrespectful or cynical? Why would an author choose to use humor in this kind of novel?
Cameron comes to realize that "It's not all sand castles and ninjas." What does his statement mean in the larger scope of things?
Ultimately, what does Cameron learn by the end of the novel—how has he changed? And what, by the end, have you learned? Has this novel enlarged your own view of life? What are the large questions explored in this book?
Do you agree with the statement that "There is no meaning but what we assign. We create our own reality"? Is that true...or is our life's meaning determined by a higher reality?
Was the novel's ending satisfying to you? Can you explain how—or where—Cameron and Dulcie end up?
*Some of these questions were taken from Litlovers.com. Others were submitted by BTPL teen patrons.
Please submit your discussion group’s questions and comments for this title.