Going Bovine - Winner of the Michael L Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults.
A few years back, Libba Bray wrote the Gemma Doyle trilogy, set in Victorian England. This was a book about upper class boarding school girls finding a magical realm while trying to come to terms with life as teenage girls in Victorian England.
This book is nothing like that.
This book is about a loser/type high schooler named Cameron. Cameron lives in a modern America with a family that doesn't get him. His life seems to get more and more loser/type while they pretty much rock at everything.
And then he discovers he has . . . . . .
BOVINE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHY!
Uh oh. That means mad cow disease, where the prions in your brain go crazy and then you go crazy and then you die. And there is no avoiding the death part. None.
A punk angel comes down, however, and she tells him that to save his life and the entire world, he needs to find Dr X. She gives him a bracelet which will stop the prions for a certain amount of time, and sends him off on a road trip with an asthmatic dwarf called Gonzo (Gonzo is also a bit of hypochondriac, which only adds to the fun).
So he steals a car, they head off into the great unknown, trying to find the doctor who can save the world and his brain.
This can prove problematic when people are looking for you since you have a very rare and lethal disease and belong in the hospital to live out your numbered days in abject misery.
However, somehow they manage to go across the country, stealing money, buying cars, picking up drunk frat boys, almost becoming members of a cult (but instead end up hurting everyone's happiness, the bastards), and going to a party house in Florida. The punk angel makes frequent appearances, seeing as punk angels are the type of characters young people want to see more of, and it turns out that she and Cameron have a very interesting relationship which I assure you is explored in full in the novel.
But do they find the cure, save the world, and bring the band called The Copenhagen Interpretation (this is significant if you know your theoretical physics, which most people erm, don't [but since Libba Bray does, you know she is smart and must be a brilliant writer]) back to Earth?
"Well then?" you ask.
Shut up and go read it. Trust me. It will make your prions dance.