Going Bovine by Libba Bray
16 year old Cameron is just trying to make it through high school without attracting too much attention. His only friends are the other outcasts who hang out in the top floor bathroom at school and his only hobby is searching the used record store for albums made by the Great Tremolo, a singer of schmaltzy love songs who Cameron mocks even as he spends the money he earns flipping burgers on the old albums.
Then Cameron is diagnosed with a fatal illness and is told he has a short time to live. In the hospital he meets a punk rock angel named Dulcie who tells him he can save himself from Mad Cow Disease, all he has to follow the signs and find Dr. X. Dulcie says he’s a scientist who has been tripping through parallel universes and brought back the dark energy that made Cameron sick and will destroy our universe if it isn’t stopped.
And now Cameron, who was a total slacker, is willing to do anything to save his own life. He escapes from the hospital and heads out on a road trip better than any buddy movie ever made. That could be because the buddies who accompany him include an angry Hispanic dwarf and a garden gnome who claims to be a Norse god. And then there’s Dulcie, his angel, who cheers him up, leads him to the signs and helps him get to the place where he needs to be.
Some of those places are a jazz club in New Orleans, a bowling alley inhabited by a cult that thinks the way to world peace is through smoothies and perfect games and spring break where Cameron learns the difference between having sex and making love. Dulcie is his angel, even when he’s going bovine.