Wednesday, April 14, 2010
by Libba Bray
All sixteen-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school - and life in general - with a minimum of effort. It's not a lot to ask. But that's before he's given some bad news: he's sick and he's going to die. Which totally sucks.
Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure - if he's willing to go in search of it. With the help of Gonzo, a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf, and a yard gnome who just might be the Viking god Balder, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America of smoothie-drinking happiness cults, parallel-universe-hopping physicists, mythic New Orleans jazz musicians, whacked-out television game shows, snow-globe vigilantes, and disenfranchised, fame-hungry teens into the heart of what matters most.
To be totally honest, I kept picking this book up and then putting it back down. It was a vicious cycle...check it out from the library...return it...check it out from the library...return it. Ugh. I really couldn't get past the cover! I felt weirded out by the image of the steer carrying a yard gnome. Even now having read the book, I still personally would have liked a different cover.
Okay, that being said...I am SO glad I finally read this book. I thought it was funny, poignant, heartbreaking, uplifting...so many things. There were a lot of little quirks that Libba Bray threw into the book that made me giggle; I love when I can pick out the exact "thing" that an author uses to create the world in a book. For example, the CESSNAB cult was so funny, yet so derivative of where our culture is heading in regards to materialism... it was a little eerie...even as I was giggling at the ridiculousness. I can't even get into the YA partyhouse/MTV correlation!
The characters were wonderful in this book! I loved Cameron. He felt...real. His relationships with his sister, his mother, and his father all felt genuine. I loved how he eventually bonded with Gonzo. Balder...Balder, Balder, Balder. I think that Balder was my favorite character of all. Although, there is also Dulcie...awesome punk rock angel extraordinaire.
Take it from someone who originally gave this one a pass based on looks. DON'T DO IT HERE! This is a book that is WORTH the read!!
Full disclosure: Copy obtained from Publisher (though I did check it out from the library first...twice!!)