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Arndt, Skyla (Skyla Arndt)

SFcrowsnest aficionados! Gather 'round, for I have a tale to tell—a tale not of Bigfoot, but of an author who once considered hunting the elusive creature. Yes, I'm talking about Skyla Arndt, who thankfully traded in her Bigfoot-hunting boots for a far less elusive keyboard.

Skyla Arndt's debut novel, "Together We Rot," is a delightful romp through the dark and twisty woods of young adult horror. Now, before you start thinking this is a run-of-the-mill "teens in peril" story, let me assure you, it's got layers, like a cake baked in the depths of Hades.

The story centers around Wil Greene, a teen girl with a missing mom and a police force that's about as useful as a screen door on a submarine. They're convinced her mom just packed up and joined a 'Find Yourself' retreat in Bali. Wil, however, suspects her former best friend Elwood Clarke's family is involved, and not in a "let's help you pack" kind of way.

Then there's Elwood, who's been eagerly counting down to his 18th birthday, much like a turkey counts down to Thanksgiving. He's all set to join his pastor father in the family cult—ahem, congregation. But lo and behold, he discovers he's not the next cult leader; he's the main course for a woodland ritual. The trees are thirsty, you see, and water just won't do.

So, what happens when you find out your family has been planning to turn you into a sacrificial smoothie? You run to your ex-best friend who thinks your family is sketchy as heck. It's a match made in young adult horror heaven.

As they dig deeper, they unearth more than just creepy crawlies; they find decades of dark, cultish dealings led by the Clarke family. And let's not forget the piece de resistance: something inhuman is growing inside Elwood. No, it's not a moral compass; it's something far more... botanical.

"Together We Rot" is a tale that explores the complexities of friendship, the horrors of family dinners when your family is a cult, and the kind of love that might just cost you an arm or a leg—or at least a pint of blood. It's a story that asks the big questions: How far would you go for the people you care about? Can you ever really escape your family's legacy? And most importantly, what do you do when the forest starts calling and you're fresh out of weed killer?

So, if you're in the mood for a story that combines the thrill of a mystery with the chills of a supernatural drama, Skyla Arndt's "Together We Rot" might just be the book you didn't know you were waiting for. Just maybe keep the lights on, okay? You can search the Nest for articles on Arndt, Skyla (Skyla Arndt) over at