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.
***Thanks to NetGalley and Peachtree Teen for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided.
What an incredible story. I’m not a gore or horror fan – and while this is classified as YA and the characters are the right age, I’m not sure the content really fits this label – but White made it work. These characters are flawed and beautiful and wonderfully human.
The setting is dark and horrifying, but the found family here is one of the best I’ve ever read. Queer teens versus religious cult fanatics in an epic to-the-death showdown, and the entire world is at stake. It feels very fitting with everything going on in the world these days. We may not be in a post-apocalyptic world [yet], but a few moments in Hell Followed With Us are a prescient warning of what could be in store for humanity.
I love so many of these characters, mostly because none of them are perfect. They each have their moments to shine, and some have more than others, but these teenagers had been through a lot, even before the world ended. I specifically appreciated the wide range of representation, the acceptance, and this community.
Yes, there are a lot of gross parts. Did I mention the gore? But if I can do it, you definitely can. And Hell Followed With Us is totally worth it.