Cover Image: Hell Followed with Us

Hell Followed with Us

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Member Reviews

I finished "Hell Followed With Us" two months ago and I still don't know what to say. I was really scared to read this book because of the (body) horror elements, and there were some really gross and horrific scenes in there, but the story was so amazing, and I love Benji so much! I really want to read more books about trans rage, and I can't wait to see what Andrew Joseph White writes next.
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I was so excited to check out this book after hearing so much praise for it! I typically love passionate, heartwarming YA LGBTQ+ stories about finding community and featuring diverse representation - Casey McQuiston, Alice Oseman, & so many more. However I just could not get into this one. The gore was overkill for my taste (felt genuinely nauseous in parts) - descriptions can be quite graphic, the trigger warnings don't lie. It was tough to read about a pandemic-inspired situation so soon after suffering through a real pandemic, hitting a little too close to home for me. It was also confusing to follow, the fantasy and world-building not explained terribly well so it was hard to keep track of what exactly was going on.

This may be much more suited for YA lovers who can easily get into high-fantasy stories and can stomach the gore and horror. Characters are truly diverse, featuring representation for different genders, neurotypes & religions - so many readers will be able to relate to characters like them. I'm glad this book exists; just not one that's for me personally.
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Overall, I think this was an okay read.
I found the horror scenes to be well done and not repetitive, and it mixed well with the tight plot and the transformation Benji goes through. The world building was a bit lacking, I was spending too much time being confused about how the Graces and Seraphs worked exactly to really get lost in the story. It read quickly but theWhile the trans rep did not do it for me, I know that several trans reviewers have had a positive experience with there was just so many things happening at once and we barely get a moment to breathe. 
The story also includes many Bible quotes without ever diving deeper into them. If you have not grown up Christian, I guess a fair bit of the meaning will go over your head.
While the trans rep did not do it for me, I know that several trans reviewers have had a positive experience with it.

Mainly I am wondering why this is a YA title - I personally think the depth of the themes explores, as well as the gratuitous gore and general concept, are not for the average 16-year-old.
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This book falls under the radar but oh my word is it a brilliant mix of urban fantasy and queer. The writing feels nostalgic in a way that is hard to capture, it is a little gritty, and at times difficult to get through but oh so important. I really enjoyed everything about Hell Followed with Us; the character arcs, writing, and the plot were all top notch
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I received an ARC of Hell Followed With Us from Peachtree Teen in exchange for an honest review. 

Hell Followed With Us left me deeply conflicted. It takes place in a world in which a cult has used a bioweapon to eradicate most of humanity, and focuses on Benji, a sixteen-year-old trans boy who is on the run from that fundamentalist sect and finds refuge with a group of queer teens who have managed to survive the apocalypse—but they don’t know that Benji is infected, and he will soon transform into Seraph, an abomination capable of completing the cult’s destructive work. 

Let’s start with the good: this is probably the queerest book I’ve ever read. Almost every major character is part of the LGBTQ+ community, and this allows White to do something I haven’t encountered often in literature—portray a spectrum of perspectives on queerness from queer characters. They openly disagree on subjects such as binding, pronouns, and transitioning, and not only is it extraordinarily refreshing, but it made me (as a trans person) feel seen in a way that I haven’t even from many novels featuring queer characters. It’s a great reminder, too, that our community is not a monolith, but is made up of individuals who are still figuring things out. 

White’s prose, while not exceptional, is solid and satisfying. He doesn’t shy away from gory detail; Hell Followed With Us certainly ranks among the most violent YA books I’ve ever read, and the body horror is off-the-charts bonkers. (I’d love to know if White was influenced at all by The Last of Us, because the imagery often evokes Naughty Dog’s 2013 masterpiece. The name of the bioweapon—the Flood—also brings Halo to mind.) The sheer madness on display here is in some ways reminiscent of Gideon the Ninth, although White lacks Muir’s irreverence and impeccable craftsmanship. 

Other aspects work less well. Characters aren’t always given the time and attention they deserve because the story is so stuffed with action and violence and paced at such a breakneck speed, and the stakes are muddled at best: conversations about the subtleties of queerness seem out-of-place in a post-apocalyptic setting, and that setting also makes it difficult to become invested when I, as a reader, am asked to care about the fate of humanity rather than individual characters. Hell Followed With Us would have benefitted from a smaller scale and more intimate focus. 

All in all, it’s a mixed bag. The speculative fiction elements don’t always mesh well with the nuanced depictions of queerness, and I would have preferred more of the latter than the former. But there’s a lot to like here—Hell Followed With Us isn’t quite like anything else I’ve ever read, and I am curious to find out what White does next.
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The story is pretty impressive - a young trans boy is on the run from the cult that raised him and needs him to unleash more destruction against against non believers in a post-apocalyptic world. While on the run he is rescued by a group of teens from the local LGBTQ center that has been surviving since the Flood started. However,  not everything is as it seems and both MC have secrets that could destroy one another. 
This read was unlike my usual reads as it contains explicit gore, body horror, religious abuse/Christian terrorism but I’m happy I read it. It provided insight into the body dysmorphia some trans people can have and how society usually makes it worse. 

“ Or maybe a better way to word it would be, it gets easier for me to forget the pain of being trans. Being transgender is who you are and the pain is what the outside does to you. The pain is what happens when you and the world go for each other’s throats.” 
The reason I’m giving this 4 starts instead of 5 is because of the writing style where at times it was confusing figuring out who was doing what or what happened and having to re-read a paragraph to figure it out.
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I absolutely loved this mind bending and dystopian read! The representation and thrilling atmosphere held my attention and I was captivated with a love for the characters that I didn’t expect. Overall a fun weekend read (though prepare for the gore!)
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I read the first chapter of this book and didn't continue, sadly. I think I'm in the wrong mood for this kind of book at this moment, and that I would not be giving it an honest review if I kept on reading.
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**Thank you to Netgallery and the publisher for giving me an ARC for a honest review. All opinions my own.*

Hell Followed With Us is not my typical read. It is full of gore, and horror, and fucked up shit that I typically could not consume, but Benji and the ALC's characters made everything worth it. 

I was raised as a Catholic - and it wasn't close to what happens in this book - but close enough to relit my rage against organized religion.

Most reviews will tell you about the synopsis - and what the synopsis already told you, you know that. It's a waste of you reading it, and a waste of me writing it. But, I will tell you more about this book in another way.

This book brings a trans boy Benji into who he is, and who he wants to be. It is a very real book, with characters that would be outside in the world - they all make stupid decisions, and most of them aren't very likable to me, but you understand their motives, and why they choose the way they do. You understand that they're trying to protect their loved ones in the best way they can, and could. 

I think the only problem I really had with this book was the ending. I am not going to go into any detail - because it is a book you need to go blind into. It's a book, that is better off not knowing much. But, the ending knocked off a .25 stars for me, and that's okay.

Read it though, it's a very well written story full of queer rage and dimensional characters. You'll enjoy it, I think, but be aware of the trigger warnings.

The trigger warnings from the authors website:
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Dark and brutal with emotions as raw as an open wound, with both Queer and neurodivergent teens accurately represented, I really should have enjoyed this book more than I did. It was a good story, but there was something lacking in the world building for me.

The story throws you into the action, right as Benji is escaping something, and you're really left to piece together what exactly is going on, what the state of the world is and what the Angels and the Graces even are. After finishing the story I'm still not quite sure of the full picture.

The plot heavily centers on body horror, which is my jam, and I really enjoyed that and the relationship between Benji and Nick, the leader of the Acheson LGBTQ+ Youth Center, or ALC. Nick is Autistic, and has one of the best representions of that I've ever read, I really enjoyed his chapters and related strongly to him.

I really enjoyed the Queer and Neurodivergent rep, and the fraught, toxic relationship between Benji and Theo. I just couldn't help but wish that I got a better explanation as to how the world came to be as it was, and that I could picture the world better too.
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I am sorry to say this but I have DNFed this book due to the book not being unable to hook me into this book but I would say that this book is a really good debut book. However, this book was not for me but most people will love this
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i enjoyed this book a lot however later i found out that this author is represented by an agent with a history of lesbophobia. i am very disappointed.
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You can tell this is a debut but it was still very good, I think a lot of my problems with the book will be things the author will outgrow as his career continues. I really loved the main character.
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An important, utterly devouring triumph of a novel. I really can't say enough how much I loved this.
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This book won’t be for everyone, so please check out the content warnings in full.  CWs include: Violence and murder (including murder of parents, arson and mass killings), body horror, gore (explicit), transphobia (including deadnaming, misgendering and forced detransition), refs to body dysphoria, religious abuse/terrorism, child abuse and domestic violence. 

Running from the fundamentalist cult that raised him – who unleashed Armageddon and decimated the world’s population - in this post-apocalyptic adventure, 16 year old trans boy Benji is determined not to let the cult use him as the bioweapon they have created him to be. He finds himself rescued from the Angels by a group of queer teens who stayed with the Acheson LGBTQ+ Centre (ALC) after the Flood.  

Benji is trying to hide his body’s mutations (turning him into a bioweapon) from these people who finally feel like home and is particularly drawn to Nick, the gorgeous, autistic ALC leader, who has secrets of his own.  

This is about survival, found/chosen family, acceptance and queer rage.  Whilst the horror and gore is graphic and this covers some very heavy themes, I found myself constantly needing to know what happens next.  I loved the queerness in the characters, the use of neopronouns and that the characters are perfectly flawed.  I also love the artwork by Evangeline Gallagher
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Thank you to NetGalley and Holiday House for the eARC!

This review took me a long time to write because I couldn’t find the words to encapsulate this book, but I can’t not recommend the book because I loved it so much. Even weeks after finishing reading it, I still think about this book.

When I thought about a terrifying apocalypse before reading this book, I would think about having to choose my entire future based on my singular personality trait or the planet freezing over out of nowhere. After reading this book, I’ve realised I should have been worrying about something far more terrifying; fundamentalist cults trying to DIY the rapture, or their version of it, at least. 

I loved this book (obviously) and gave it five stars. There were so many details about this book that I haven’t seen before and in the beginning chapters, I was actually confused by what was going on, which usually doesn’t happen. You’re really just thrown into the chaos right away and I like that in my books.

Another thing I liked about Hell Followed With Us is that despite the fact that it is a horror book and has a lot of gore and body horror, it somehow didn’t feel overwhelming. Compared to some of the other books I’ve read with anywhere near this much gore, people transforming into eldritch horrors wasn’t too gross. That might just have been me though.

Outside of the fundamentalist Christian fascists that Benji escapes from, there aren’t a lot of other groups. However, one of those groups is the people who were at the local LGBTQ+ centre when the apocalypse started, and they make up most of the cast. These few characters are more diverse than some entire books I’ve read, including someone who uses neopronouns!

To avoid spoilers, I’m just going to run through everything else I liked about this book. The quotes at the start of the chapters changing to match the book were great. “Do you believe in God? - I do, please stop, there’s so much blood.” is an absolute top-tier line. The reveal about Nick? Everything clicked together and I was shocked I didn’t see it coming. Benji realising how much power he had over the world around him? Absolutely what he deserves after everything he’s been through.

In conclusion, read this book if you’re looking for a horrifying apocalypse full of Christofacists being terrible at taking over the world, body horror and gore, and LGTBQ+ teens surviving the apocalypse and finding their place in the world. I’m so glad I read this book and I hope that I can find more books this diverse and unique because Hell Followed With Us might just be my new gold standard.
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Sadly this book was not for me.  I love all that has to do with the body gore and the cult. But things I understand are important to so many queer kids to read was not for me with my queer identity. I am so happy this book exist. When I was younger this book would have become my life. I
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This story went from 0 to 60 on the literal first page and kept up the pace from start to finish. This is a fast, furious read about trans rage and it's targeted at so many things: capitalism, Christofascism, transphobes, etc. Hell Followed With Us is graphic in its depiction of this rage; the main character is literally becoming a monster as a result of other people's bigotry. But it works well in this story set in a dystopian world.

I've seen some criticism about the lack of worldbuilding, and I see that, but I also don't think it was 100% needed to tell what was a very insular, personal story set within a small subset of the world at large. Maybe a prequel or a companion novel can expand on this world and give us a better idea of how other characters fit into it. This book felt like it did the job it needed to do, however. Just brilliant.
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DNFed this one. The writing is beautiful, but after reading a more list of content warnings on Goodreads, I think it’s best for me not to read this at this time. Thanks so much to the publisher for the chance to read it, though!
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This book was... incredible. I honestly am having a hard time coming up with words to describe the experience of reading it. 

I had a hard time getting into it at first because horror (especially body horror) is really not my preferred genre, but I was so fascinated by the concept and story and characters that I pushed through, and finally hit my stride around 15-20% in. The best way I can describe the writing is visceral, and honestly, deeply disturbing. There were times were I found myself gasping or gagging or wincing audibly because of the incredibly vivid and graphic descriptions, but like, in the best possible way. 

It is so self-evident that this book was a labour of love and pain. And yet so much of it feels effortless, the story flowing and unfolding in the most natural way. Everything about the world was so rich, so creepily familiar, so alive. The relationships between characters (in particular the ALC and the Vanguard, but also between ALC members) were so interesting and nuanced, and the dialogue really felt like actual conversations. I also appreciated the casual use of neo-pronouns as well as nuanced discussions around gender identity. Although a small part of the book, I think it will be really meaningful for trans readers to see conversations highlighting that hormones (or even things like binding or wearing certain clothes) aren't what makes your gender valid. 

I think that it's so important for stories to show queer love and queer joy, but I also think there is so much space for queer rage. Hell Followed with Us is an exemplary example of young queer and trans rage, in an honest and unflinching depiction. This story won't be for everyone, but I'm so, so, so glad I read it. I think it will stick with me for a long time and I will be recommending it to everyone I know.
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