A furious, queer debut novel about embracing the monster within and unleashing its power against your oppressors.
“A long, sustained scream to the various strains of anti-transgender legislation multiplying around the world like, well, a virus." —The New York Times
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
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. Perfect for fans of Gideon the Ninth and Annihilation.
A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year
"A defining voice of our generation." –H.E. Edgmon, author of The Witch King
"Hands down the best YA horror book I've read." –Aden Polydoros, author of The City Beautiful
"A chimera of horror, romance, and something stranger." –Rose Szabo, author of What Big Teeth
"A timely and riveting tale." –Ray Stoeve, author of Between Perfect and Real
Billions are killed when the Angels, a majority-white ecofascist cult, "cleanse" the earth with a deadly virus in White's gripping near-future dystopian debut. After creating the Flood, a fatal infection responsible for humankind's decimation, the Angels force 16-year-old white trans boy Benjamin Woodside to become the perfected virus's host, turning him into a living bioweapon. Having escaped the Angels' experimentation and emotional abuse, which includes frequently misgendering him, Benji is rescued by white, autistic sharpshooter Nick and his ragtag band of queer rebels, who call Pennsylvania's Acheson LGBTQ+ Center home. Together, Benji and the revolutionaries fight for survival amid crumbling infrastructure, even as Benji struggles to contain the virus as it mutates his body from the inside out. While told primarily from Benji's perspective, brief chapters from supporting characters, including Nick, provide intriguing insight. Using evocative and visceral language, compact storytelling, and inventive worldbuilding, White delivers a transformative depiction of apocalypse through a queer lens. This debut is a moving and timely tale of queer perseverance, offering hope for those fighting for the right to exist without apology. Supporting characters are racially diverse and variously queer. Ages 14 up. Agent: Zab Ellor, Jennifer De ChiaraLiterary.
Everything I didn't know I needed
This book helped heal me in all the ways growing up surrounded by the white evangelical church crushed me. Thank you so much. This is the first book that I have finished in years. I am sorry for the suffering you have to have been through to even conceptualize this book, but thank you so much for surviving, healing, and doing it. It means the world
A really great book in a lot of ways
There’s really a lot to like about this book. It’s like the perfect mix of sci fi, dystopian, and romantic fiction. I described it to a friend as “what if the umbrella corporation from resident evil was just a bunch of Christian ecofascists” and that seems to sell them. Great descriptions of body horror mixed with genuine horror and humor and romance, and a really great read all around. If you love the underdog coming from terrible odds to change the world for better and a story about what it means to find out who you are I can’t recommend this book enough