Hell Followed With Us by Andrew Joseph White

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to Peachtree Teen for the ARC!

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.

I’ve been excited for this book since the deal announcement. A trans boy in a post apocalyptical world, who has been injected with a bioweapon and is slowly turning into a monster. He falls in with a group of queer teens, and they try to survive together in a world taken over by a fundamentalist sect. It sounded dark, angry, and so, so good. Trigger warnings: homophobia, transphobia, deadnaming, blood, body horror, gore

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Nightrender by Jodi Meadows

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to Holiday House and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

In the middle of nothingness is the continent of Salvation. Reality bends easily here. Villages disappear. Forests burn forever. Pockets of inconsistent time are everywhere, their boundaries strung with yellow ribbon. And the three kingdoms of Salvation have been at war for a thousand years. But the greatest threat is the Malice, an incursion from the demon plane slowly tearing its way through the world’s weakest seams. Seams that–once split–will lead to the total unraveling of night and day, light and dark, life and death. Not that the human world takes much interest. Of more concern is the upcoming marriage of Rune Highcrown, Prince of Caberwill, and Johanne Fortuin, Princess of Embria–the serpent bride, a girl of famous cunning–which offers a possible end to the ancient conflict. But Rune has noticed the growing darkness, and he is determined to summon mankind’s only defense: Nightrender, the hammer of the gods, an immortal warrior more weapon than girl. There is only one problem. The last time she was summoned, she slaughtered every royal in Salvation, and no one knows why. Will she save humanity from the Malice… or plunge it deeper into the fires of eternal war?

While I hadn’t read any Jodi Meadows books yet, I was incredibly eager about this one. A book where the world is swathed in darkness, but humanity is more interested in the royal wedding that is about to take place between two kingdoms that have a long history of fighting. It sounded darkly thrilling, and I was very, very intrigued.

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Only A Monster by Vanessa Len

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

It should have been the perfect summer. Sent to stay with her late mother’s eccentric family in London, sixteen-year-old Joan is determined to enjoy herself. She loves her nerdy job at the historic Holland House, and when her super cute co-worker Nick asks her on a date, it feels like everything is falling into place. But she soon learns the truth. Her family aren’t just eccentric: they’re monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers. And Nick isn’t just a cute boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to bring them down. As she battles Nick, Joan is forced to work with the beautiful and ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family that hates her own. She’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness if she is to save herself, and her family. Because in this story . . . . . . she is not the hero.

Truly, the title of this book was basically all I needed to know to know I wanted to read it. A book with monsters as the main characters? Heck yes, that sounds amazing. And there’s monster slayers and monster families that hate each other and a main character who is realizing that she is not a hero. It sounded incredible. Trigger warnings: torture, violence, blood, racist microaggressions

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Into The Real by Z Brewer

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to Quill Tree Books and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

Three Quinns. Three realities. Three Brumes. The first Brume is a waking nightmare, overrun by literal monsters and cutthroat survivors. For Quinn, who is openly genderqueer, the only silver lining is their friendship with Lia—and the hope that there might still be a safe place somewhere else in the world. The second Brume is a prison with no bars. Forced to “sort out” their sexuality with other teens at Camp Redemption, Quinn must also figure out why presenting as female has never felt quite right. The third Brume is a warzone. For Quinn, who presents as male, leading the Resistance against an authoritarian government is hard, since even the Resistance might not accept them if they knew Quinn’s truth. As Quinn starts to realize that they might be one person alternating among these three worlds and identities, they wonder: Which world is the real one? Or do they all contain some deeper truth?

I heard this book had a genderqueer main character and that was enough for me. But, it also had three different realities, three different versions of the main character, and they’re all real. It sounded fascinating. The cover also gave the book and eerie and dark feeling to it, so I was very eager to read it. Trigger warnings: homophobia, conversion therapy, parental abuse, death, blood, gore

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