“Hell Followed with Us” Review

The cover has a blue background with black clouds. At the bottom of the page are the ruins of several buildings in red brick. In the middle of the cover there is the figure of a person with six wings with a red eye on each wing. The person has their head turned to the left with a scar on their cheek and bandages on their hands with blood dripping from their hands and chest. There is a chain around the figure in a circle and the title is written on a ribbon at the persons legs. Written by Andrew Joseph White
Published by Peachtree Teen, June 2022
416 pages
Completed June 30, 2023

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.

This was a really good book! There’s a lot of gore and body horror but I don’t think it was as graphic as it could have been. If it was a movie or a tv show I’d probably have trouble watching because of the gore but in text it didn’t seem so bad. If you read the introduction of the book the author explains where a lot of it came from and how he felt as a teen struggling with his identity. Which is the whole book too. All of the characters were great and I liked how everything worked out. Even Nick’s “secrets” worked out well in the end. Benji was a great character to get to know. I did wonder if some things could have been explained a little better but at the same time I wasn’t sure how much the characters knew or could explain because they’re all teenagers dealing with the world they’ve been left in. I’m not sure how fully they understood everything to start with. Even Benji’s awareness of everything and understanding of what was happening seemed suspect.