EDIT 3: I'll also try to have as minimal spoilers as possible in these posts, unless it connects with what I'm trying to say.
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
This is the first book of Libba Bray's that I pre-ordered. I read her Gemma Doyle trilogy (coming in a later post), and knew I had to pre-order her next one.
The short description of this book is a sixteen-year-old boy named Cameron contracts the human form of mad cow disease, and is visited by a punk angel with pink hair named Dulcie. She tells him he needs to go on a road trip with a teenager with dwarf syndrome named Gonzo and a garden gnome named Balder (who may or not be a Viking god) to save the world. Yes, the book is just as crazy and awesome as it sounds.
This is one of those books where you just have to roll with what's happening, and not think too much about it, or else you're not going to enjoy it. There's still a lot of important issues below the surface, but they're wrapped up in weirdness.
One of the characters is a gay man, to honour Libba Bray's father, who was a gay preacher in Texas in the 1970s and 1980s who contracted AIDS and passed away. For her father, there is always at least one gay/lesbian character in her books. Also, her birthday is the same day as John Barrowman's, and she wished him a happy birthday on Twitter, which makes her even cooler.
Libba's post about her father's fight with AIDS
I just spent maybe twenty minutes looking for her post on gay characters, but she might not have even tagged it. If I find it, I'll post a link later.
EDIT 1: Libba Bray's writing in Going Bovine is a lot like my mind and my writing: thoughts going every which way, but somehow still form a coherent whole...eventually (as shown by my adding stuff to the middle of a blog post). This is also why my betas must have fun attempting to figure out what I'm trying to say some days, and I applaud you for being able to figure it out.
I absolutely adore this book. It could be a reflection of me, with the craziness which appears. I love how you roll with what's happening alongside Cameron, and you just take the craziness as it comes. When Cameron slips into the coma, it's done so well that you can't even tell how when he left the real world. Libba's style of writing isn't for everyone in this book: you either love it or hate it, but if you love it, it's amazing. She won the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award for Going Bovine.
EDIT 2: I found a flawed teenager in Cameron, which is comforting. He isn't the overachiever in the family; he makes mistakes, and doesn't always do what's right, but that's okay. He gets to where he needs to be eventually, and in his own time when he's ready for it. It's a lot like myself, and how I've been taking the long road to where I'd like to be for school, and I've just figured it out after three years of school.
My first impression after reading Going Bovine was wow. I just sat on my bed and held it for a bit, just thinking about everything that had happened. It was an insane but fun ride, and I was happy to have gone on it.
I don't really have any long term memories associated with this book, other than reading it during my first year of university. It's on my keeper shelf, where only the best books (Harry Potter, Gemma Doyle trilogy, Beauty Queens (also by Libba Bray), Tennyson poetry, the Princess Bride, and the Hunger Games) reside. These are the books I would take absolutely anywhere with me, even halfway across the world, although I have boxes of books which are out of print that I would also take with me if I had a chance. I need to go back and reread Going Bovine eventually, because I miss it.
More will be added when I'm not thinking in circles, but this is a good start.
EDIT 4: More has been added to this post, and I think it's done...for now.