Going Bovine by Libba Bray. Most people know Libba Bray from her young adult historical fantasy/romance series Gemma Doyle, but in "Bovine", she tackles indie/scifi, which isn't something you hear every day.
Cameron is just a teenager. He doesn't really do much, and his only main interest is in the old music of the Great Tremolo, a Portuguese singer who has vocal cords like no other. It cracks Cameron up.
But that all changes when Cameron is suddenly infected with mad cow disease. Sorry, Cameron, but you're dying. Not much we can do about it. That is, according to the human doctors. But then a punk angel, Dulcie, shows up at Cameron's bedside and tells him that he must go on a journey to save not only himself, but the world. And he's got to take Gonzo, the paranoid dwarf, along with him.
Easier said than done.
Despite his doubts, Cameron pretty much says, "What the heck," and he and Gonzo break out of the hospital and go on a road trip searching for the mysterious Dr. X. They have many adventures along the way, including picking up Balder, a Norse god who has been cursed into the shape of a yard gnome.
To summarize: Cameron (mad cow diseased teen), Gonzo (paranoid dwarf with a lot of hair), and Balder (Norse god yard gnome) embark on a quest to save the world from a parallel universe with nothing but the cryptic hints of Dulcie (punk angel who likes sugar). Aaaawesome.
Needless to say, I really enjoyed this book. It's a surreal ride, with a surprisingly good plot (y'know, instead of just having a bunch of dudes in car riding around, there's a memorable purpose) and fun characters. Speaking of which, the way the characters grow, mature, and bond is very well done.
I really don't want to give away the ending, so I'll try not to say any more. But Libba Bray does an amazing job of 'life flashing before your eyes' kind of thing, even if she didn't mean to. The absolute only thing I would change about this novel was the little epilogue. It seems unnecessary, when the last chapter was an excellent ending. Also, there's that little thing with Gonzo, but that's just a personal preference of mine.
In my opinion, Libba Bray does stand-alone novels even better than she does series', so I'm looking forward to her next novel, Beauty Queens, which comes out in May. Also, if you enjoy Going Bovine, I'd reccommend seeing the movie 'Interstate 60'.
Note: This book does contain adult content such as strong language and sexual content.