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MY BEST FRIEND’S EXORCISM – Grady Hendrix (Released 2016)
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Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fifth grade, when they bonded over a shared love of E.T., roller-skating parties, and scratch-and-sniff stickers. But when they arrive at high school, things change. Gretchen begins to act…different. And as the strange coincidences and bizarre behavior start to pile up, Abby realizes there’s only one possible explanation: Gretchen, her favorite person in the world, has a demon living inside her. And Abby is not about to let anyone or anything come between her and her best friend. With help from some unlikely allies, Abby embarks on a quest to save Gretchen. But is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?
Chandra’s Thoughts: 5/5 stars
Take me back to swatch watches, soap operas, game shows, E.T., all the slang (that we wouldn’t dare use now but is so reminiscent of its time), high school angst, roller rinks etc. and then throw in some double dutch and four square because why not? May pole anyone?
As an 80s kid, I LOVED all the references strewn throughout the pages. Each chapter heading had a new song in my head (and yet somehow my mind kept drifting to *If You’re Happy And You Know it, Exorcise! (your demon!)*) because I too also always made up new words to songs. 🤷🏻♀️
I had way too much fun with this book. Thank goodness for a slow, yet long, day at work so I could finish it today. This isn’t a scary book by any means, but there were definitely some “ew” moments and I loved seeing Gretchen’s journey from great friend, to bat shit, to super popular, to what in the ever (literal) hell?! I felt for Abby as the girl who’s always on the outside of the group, even when she’s in, who is fiercely loyal despite it all. I also liked the ending as we got to see further on… this just reminded me of those ’80s “scary” movies that weren’t that scary and you loved watching them. If you know, you know.
And finally a full exorcism book that kept my interest and made me happy (sorry not sorry but psh on The Exorcist and Head Full of Ghosts – those were just meh reads for me).
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars
This book was all I was hoping for and more. The 80’s references alone are worth the read. As if the stresses of high school aren’t enough, imagine your best friend becoming possessed. Hendrix created a couple memorable characters in best friends Abby and Gretchen. Their relationship is the core of this story and the trials they go through
Abby, Gretchen, and a couple of their other friends decide to drop acid on Halloween night in a remote cabin. Nothing could go wrong, right? Well, Gretchen is the more impulsive of the group and disappears into the woods to go skinny dipping before Abby can stop her. She’s found the next morning with no memory of the night before – but something definitely happened to Gretchen in the woods that night. The rest of the book is her slow decline and Abby’s increasing desperation to help her friend.
The pacing was great and the chapter titles are were fun. All kinds of 80’s nostalgia for readers and just enough creepy elements to keep the horror vibe going. There are some heartwarming moments, gross and dark parts, and some sad parts – Hendrix brings us on a roller coaster and it all culminates in the end. Hendrix quickly became an auto-buy author for me and I can’t wait to pick up his next book!