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My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix #BookReview

The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act…different. She’s moody. She’s irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she’s nearby. Abby’s investigation leads her to some startling discoveries—and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?

My Best Friend's Exorcism book cover art

Title: My Best Friend’s Exorcism| Author: JGrady Hendrix | Publisher: Quirk Books | Pub. Date: 11 July 2017 | Pages: 336 | ISBN: 978-1594749766 | Genre:Horror | Language: English | Source: Self purchased I Starred Review

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My Best Friend’s Exorcism Review

My main attraction to this novel was the cover. Mimicking a VHS cover, it promises 80’s nostalgia. Thankfully, this book delivers in a big way. However, the quote on the front cover by Bookpage threw me off:

“If The Exorcist had been authored by Tina Fey instead of William Peter Blatty, it might have borne an uncanny resemblance to what Grady Hendrix has accomplished with My Best Friend’s Exorcism.”

Based on that endorsement, I expected a witty horror comedy. A few scenes had comedic flare, but overall this was a serious and dramatic coming-of-age scary story between two best friends. One of these friends just so happens to be possessed by the devil.

Abby and Gretchen meet as children and slowly become best friends. Their friendship undergoes the ultimate test when Gretchen trips on LSD, gets lost in the woods, and returns with a new sadistic personality. There’s plenty of stereotypical adolescent drama and clichés, but because this book is a love story to 80’s teen horror movies, these sorts of devices work organically into the plot. I didn’t mind that 80’s song titles were used as chapter titles, or that there’s an 80’s reference on pretty much every page. That was part of the fun. But I wish Gretchen’s actual possession was explored in more detail. We’re given little background as to why or how her soul gets overtaken, and I feel like a tad more information would have created a more terrifying backdrop.

I also wish the adults took Abby more seriously. Granted, she’s speaking about the devil and Gretchen being a tool of Satan, but serious events took place in this book, and the adults seem more than willing to blow off Abby’s concerns. This broke the believability of the characters.

However, the book was a quick paced and high tension read. Putting aside the minor issues I had with it, I enjoyed the overall reading experience and would recommend it to anyone who loves B horror movies from the past.

You can find My Best Friend’s Exorcism at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads (buying direct from retailers is a good way to support indie authors); however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.

Published inHorror Book ReviewsStarred Reviews
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