My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix (review)

mybestfriendsexorcism_hendrix_quirkAbout the book:

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?

As I mention each time I review a horror book, it is not generally my cup of tea.  So, why do I keep saying yes to reading them?  In this case it was a combination of the publisher (Quirk Books), the author (I really enjoyed Grady Hendrix’s Horrorstor – which is probably the book I should blame credit for each of the horror books I’ve read since) and the 1980’s setting.  I mean, just look at that cover! Nostalgia made me do it.

For the nostalgia factor, this is a really fun read.  The author takes us through the friendship between Gretchen and Abby, beginning at a fifth grade roller skating party through to the present day, all framing the pivotal events (see the title) in their high school years.  And he gets it right.  He gets adolescent girl friendships right.  He nails the 1980’s nostalgia, up to and including some of the absurdity.  And I could love this book for that, but then there is the horror factor.  That, for me, is where it gets squidgy.  It wasn’t over the top, but there was still enough that (even though I could see some of the humor in it) I was not comfortable with those aspects.  Even more so than Horrorstor.  And perhaps that is part of what the horror genre is supposed to do.  Make you uncomfortable and mess with your mind a little bit.

So, fun and nostalgia for the win, drugs and demonic possession for the – uh, no!  not going there.  But then there is the use of 1980’s song titles as perfectly matched chapter titles, and I’m back to nostalgia.  I guess, in reviewing this book, I have to go with the slightly generic feeling summary of “I enjoyed the writing, but not all of the subject matter.”  I don’t see myself rereading this one, demons just aren’t my thing. 3/5 stars

My Best Friend’s Exorcism, a novel by Grady Hendrix | Quirk Books, May 2016 | paperback, 336 pages

This review refers to an Advance Readers Copy from Uncorrected Proofs received for free from the publisher.  I received this book through a SnapChat post, with no stated requirements for reviewing.  Here it is, however, with only my honest opinion. And honestly, I sometimes think that the things I don’t like about a book in this genre are exactly what people who like horror probably enjoy about it.


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