Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Review: Together We Rot by Skyla Arndt

I knew I had to read this book the moment I saw that gorgeous cover. It is the best. I was lucky enough to get approved to read this book early as an eARC. I could not resist it. And may have read it too fast this evening. Impossible to stop once I started. I had to know how it would all end. It was a pretty exciting story.

But I am having mixed feelings about it too. There were parts of this book that I loved. But there were also many parts that I were not happy about. Was unsure how to rate it. Ended up at a three star. I wanted to love it more, but that was not possible. But yes. There were parts of this book that I did love. Especially Elwood.

He was the very best boy. Sigh. This book is his story, but also the story of Wil. And that was where my issues began. I did not like her. At all. I wanted to, but I could not. She was always mean and cruel. Sure, her mother had been missing for year. But that is no excuse to act in the way she did. Elwood and Wil had been best friends for years. Until her mother went missing a year ago. And Wil said that his family did something to her. And made him choose between her and his family. He chose his family. I did not blame him. She would have chosen her family too, if it had been reverse. Because where was the proof? I did not get it. She blamed his family right away. But why? It was never said. Sure, there were reasons to be suspicious after a while. But she blamed them right away, for no reason explained. I truly did not get it.

And so Elwood and Wil spent a year not being friends. With her hating him and blaming him. I get that she was hurt. Truly. She wanted her mom and wanted to know where she was. But oh, I did not like Wil. Did not like how she treated Elwood. He was the sweetest and kindest and gentlest soul there was. And she hurt him badly. And to me, she did not make up for it. I kept waiting for that during the whole book. It never happened. Instead he was the one being sorry and trying to make it up to her. That did bother me.

Okay. Enough about that. There was some romance too. After they started getting over their hurts of each other. But I was not very forgiving of it. I did like them together. Elwood had loved her since they were little. And I loved that. Sigh. But after this past year, I did not think she was deserving of this love. Okay, I didn't actually hate her. She did have some good sides too. But mostly she was mean towards everyone and I disliked that very much. Though she did have one other friend, Ronnie. And I liked her.

And now I have talked too much about the characters before I even started talking about the book. Oops. I just had to get it off my chest, haha. First. That cover truly is stunning. I love it so. But it is also a lie. And that hurts me. Because this book takes place during Christmas, in full winter at all times. Yeah. The forest is a huge part, but it is winter and snow. Always snowing. I'm surprised they did not die of cold, honestly. But still. It was about the forest and I loved that. Parts of this book felt a bit magical, which was wonderful.

I very much liked the plot of this book. It is somewhat the story of a cult. A story of a boy breaking free from his family and what they had planned for him. Him learning what his life was supposed to be. And wanting something different. Just. Oh. I very much loved Elwood. He had been abused his whole life by his parents. All for their religion. Ugh. Religion is so not my thing, especially with all of this that do go on. He had few bright spots in his life. Wil being one, until she was gone. Butterflies another. I so loved that.

I just cannot get over how gentle and loving Elwood was. He just wanted to please everyone. And that just makes me more mad at Wil for hurting him. Sigh. I'm guessing it might just be a problem for me, ha. But yeah. It was a problem. I did like her. But I did not like how she treated him for so long. Another thing I disliked was how this book was such a teenage school type of story at times. With drinking and partying, okay, only once, but I did not like it. Fighting with their friends over silly things. Sigh. Just felt a little stupid.

This review of mine may be a little messy. I just have to get all my thoughts down, even though they are not in the right order. The story is about Elwood and Wil. Him trying to escape his fate from his parents. Her trying to figure out where her mom went. We do learn that, but it felt a little weird. I wanted more from it. The cult was kind of creepy and I liked reading about how it came to be. But I felt like his dad was just weird and not scary like he was supposed to be. And her dad was such a drunk then suddenly not. Hmm.

Anyway. I have written too much. Yet not enough. Three stars for me. I wanted it to be better. But there were parts of it that I loved. Elwood especially. Loved the somewhat creepy parts of what was growing inside of it. It was so interesting to read about. Together We Rot was not as perfect as I wanted it to be, but it was still a pretty magical story that I very much enjoyed reading. Thank you the most to Penguin Teen for letting me read this book early via Netgalley. Will still get my hardcover too. You should read it.

Goodreads - Blackwells - Amazon US - Amazon UK

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