REVIEW: Together We Rot by Skyla Arndt

Posted November 16th, 2023 by in Blog, Fantasy, Review, YA / 5 comments

Together We Rot by Skyla Arndt: Wil Greene’s mother has been missing for over a year and Wil is pretty sure she knows who is behind the mysterious disappearance – the family of her ex-best friend, Elwood Clarke. Elwood is counting down the days until his 18th birthday with dread, that will become the day where he dedicates his life to his family’s congregation, the Garden of Adam. But after returning home from one final big night out, Elwood realises that he is not next in line to become leader of his family’s cult, he is their next sacrifice…

“Come find me in the trees. I’ll wait for you.”

I would definitely rate “Together We Rot” as one of the most interesting reads of the year. It was definitely out of my regular comfort zone however I was able to appreciate the great writing and storytelling of Skyla Arndt, there’s just something about an effective dual-pov that really completes a story! There were many quirky elements and niche themes intertwined throughout the story, making “Together We Rot” perfect for lovers of creepy crawlies and those with a fascination for the seedy underbelly of a forest cult. The combination of horror and romance was unexpected but effective in telling Elwood and Wil’s story.

There were some elements of the story which brought my rating down a little. I felt it difficult to connect to the characters on an emotional level despite wanting to and I think this was due to the story being too short for the effective development that was required. There were some moments where it felt like I was reading a short story rather than the novel and it was almost as though there was a little too much plot for the number of pages and just not enough world-building. In saying that, “Together We Rot” was a decent read overall and could become wildly successful if targeted to the right audience.

Book Info:

Publication: 29/08/2023 | Viking Books for Young Readers |

A teen girl looking for the truth about her missing mother forms a reluctant alliance with her former best friend…in exchange for hiding him from his cult-leading family.

Wil Greene’s mom has been missing for over a year, and the police are ready to call the case closed–they claim she skipped town and you can’t find a woman who wants to disappear. But she knows her mom wouldn’t just leave…and she knows the family of her former best friend, Elwood Clarke, has something to do with it.

Elwood has been counting down the days until his 18th birthday–in dread. It marks leaving school and joining his pastor father in dedicating his life to their congregation, the Garden of Adam. But when he comes home after one night of after a final goodbye with his friends, already self-flagellating for the sins of drinking and disobeying his father, he discovers his path is not as virtuous as he thought. He’s not his father’s successor, but his sacrifice. For the woods he’s grown up with are thirsty, and must be paid in blood.

Now on the run from a family that wants him dead, he turns to the only one who will believe him: Wil. Together, they form a reluctant partnership; she’ll help him hide if he helps her find evidence that his family killed her mother. But in the end they dig up more secrets than they bargained for, unraveling decades of dark cult dealings in their town, led by the Clarke family.

And there’s a reason they need Elwood’s blood for their satanic rituals. Something inhuman is growing inside of him. Everywhere he goes, the plants come alive and the forest calls to him, and Wil isn’t sure if she can save the boy she can’t help but love.



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