Book Reviews

Review: Hell Followed With Us by Andrew Joseph White

Hell Followed With Us is a post-apocalyptic story which – despite the death and body horror – is grounded in love, community, and friendship. Featuring a trans MC, it balances his struggles with his past, while also featuring his fight for his future. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.

Summary

Sixteen-year-old trans boy Benji is on the run from the cult that raised him—the fundamentalist sect that unleashed Armageddon and decimated the world’s population. Desperately, he searches for a place where the cult can’t get their hands on him, or more importantly, on the bioweapon they infected him with.

But when cornered by monsters born from the destruction, Benji is rescued by a group of teens from the local Acheson LGBTQ+ Center, affectionately known as the ALC. The ALC’s leader, Nick, is gorgeous, autistic, and a deadly shot, and he knows Benji’s darkest secret: the cult’s bioweapon is mutating him into a monster deadly enough to wipe humanity from the earth once and for all.

Still, Nick offers Benji shelter among his ragtag group of queer teens, as long as Benji can control the monster and use its power to defend the ALC. Eager to belong, Benji accepts Nick’s terms…until he discovers the ALC’s mysterious leader has a hidden agenda, and more than a few secrets of his own.

Review

(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: transphobia, domestic abuse, religious abuse, self-harm, suicidal attempt, deadnaming

Hell Followed With Us is both rage inducing, because the ways Benji’s past community hurt him for their own purposes is awful, while also being full of love and hope. It’s a story that embraces the monstrous within us. Everything people try to throw at us and using it against them. There’s pockets of preciousness within Hell Followed With Us. Whether it be the gentle and tender feelings of love, or the warmth of found family, it hits all the emotional highs and lows.

Throughout Hell Followed With Us, Joseph White asks whether one is capable of change. If we can take what people hurl at us, what could make us into monsters, and instead be who we want to be. Benji struggles with reconciling pieces of our past with who we are or want to be. The growing pains of change. When our anger takes over us, how do we fight in a world that searches for our annihilation? There’s equal parts anger, brimming with in justice, while also celebrating hope.

(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)

All in all, Hell Followed With Us is perfect for those searching for a horror story about a group of queer teens who are fighting for survival. For those who want to find a story about the tender fluttering of love combined with the desire to be un-apologetically us – to embrace ourselves. And to find ways not to lose ourselves. Find Hell Followed With Us on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.

Discussion

What is your favorite YA horror story?


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