My Best Friend's Exorcism

My Best Friend's Exorcism

A Novel

Book - 2016
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"A heartwarming story of friendship and demonic possession. 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?" Like an unholy hybrid of "Beaches" and "The Exorcist," "My Best Friend s Exorcism" blends teen angst, adolescent drama, unspeakable horrors, and a mix of 80s pop songs into a pulse-pounding supernatural thriller."--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Philadelphia, PA : Quirk Books, [2016]
ISBN: 9781594748622
1594748624
Characteristics: 330 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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IntrovertReader
Nov 18, 2020

Abby and Gretchen have been best friends ever since Gretchen was the only kid in their class who showed up to Abby’s birthday party in fifth grade. They’ve been through a lot of normal teen drama together. But now in their sophomore year of high school in the ‘80s, they’ll face a test of their friendship neither of them ever saw coming.

I loved the way this ended and I hate that I can’t say more about it because I definitely have things I want need to say. But no one likes spoilers, right? Just know that the celebration of real, true friendship surprised me and made me so happy. A horror novel made me happy? Why, yes, it did.

Now that that’s out of the way, I have a confession. Demons, especially those who require exorcism, scare the absolute bejeezus out of me. I can read most horror but I will have literal nightmares for weeks after reading about demons. I can’t really watch horror movies of any type so that’s a moot point. But me reading about demons = bad idea.

So why did I read this? I honestly don’t know. I read The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, also written by Grady Hendrix, earlier this year and enjoyed it. I saw this was available on my digital library last month and decided to start my Halloween horror fest early.

It was touch and go with the nightmares but I never did have any. I think the fact that the things that happened could mostly be attributed to mean girl cruelty helped. Don’t get me wrong; they made me angry but there wasn’t too much “supernatural creature seizing control of your body and making you spew green vomit while your head spins or arch backward until your spine cracks” kind of business. That’s what gets me. Mean girls? We all know them and loathe them. Nothing too supernatural there. So that kept my brain calm enough.

Speaking of mean girls… Abby attends an elite high school on a scholarship. It was definitely an issue in elementary school (see my synopsis about her tenth birthday party), but now that she’s older, she and her friends don’t really think about it–until the trouble starts. Any time there is a dispute between Abby’s word and that of another student, Abby is the one who takes the fall. The faculty can’t upset the family who funded the new football stadium, now can they? The entitlement of those kids and parents was maddening. Abby’s mom even tries to warn her to just keep her head down because the other kids are golden and she’s “just the scholarship girl” but Abby doesn’t believe her until it’s too late.

I’m just a bit younger than Abby and Gretchen, but the pop culture references were a lot of fun. I recognized all of the songs and products and remember everyone’s obsession with hairspray. (I have really curly hair so my goal has always been to fight big hair, not create it.) There were periodic news articles and advertisements included in the text about “how to make sure your teen doesn’t worship Satan/get sacrificed to Satan.” I remember the Procter & Gamble rumor from back then. There were some “DARE to say no” anti-drug ads that also added to fun ‘80s feel. I was curious if they were real ads and articles from the time.

For a pretty creep-tastic ‘80s flashback, I do recommend this book for horror fans. It has a surprisingly sweet message about friendship at the end that makes it all worthwhile.

l
ldonnell94
Nov 09, 2020

Readers are in for a fun, nostalgia-ridden, wild ride when they pick up Grady Hendrix’s My Best Friend’s Exorcism. I had the opportunity to read and listen to this book and depending on what your reader preference is you will find a highly enjoyable experience. Throughout the book there are snippets of quizzes like those found in high school aged magazines and the after-book section is designed like a high school yearbook. While listening to the audiobook, I was grabbed by how skillfully the narrator breathed life into each character from this fairly large ensemble keeping me engrossed from start to finish. Hendrix explores the nuances of growing up and the high school experience through two best friends who have been each other’s person since a fateful E.T. birthday party. This book will have you questioning what is going on with Gretchen and second guessing what you think you know, all culminating in a highly unconventional exorcism of sorts. Hendrix masterfully crafts relatable strong-female characters through a fast-paced and compelling fashion. Readers will find the dark humor a nice entrance or palate cleanser for those jumping into the horror genre. I heartily give this a 4 out of 5 stars for the whimsy and pure fun I experienced in this book, my only complaint is that #thedogdies.

VaughanPLAlison Sep 29, 2020

It’s been a while since a book’s made me want to stop whatever I’m doing and finish it, and the story of Abby and her friend Gretchen in 1988 certainly did that. As silly as the title is, the book itself is very gripping, thoughtful, horrifying and sweet. It’s a great look at the 80s, at female friendship, at class structures, at the south and at being a teenager. Would very much recommend and I can’t wait to read more from this author.

s
star2014
Aug 07, 2020

After reading this author's most recent novel and enjoying it, I decided to give another of his books a try. I was not disappointed. The quirky title is just for starters. Hendrix successfully presents both the silly and serious sides of his characters in an 80's highschool setting. Add to this normalcy a touch of Linda Blair, and in my opinion you have got one good read!

Hillsboro_JenniFerg Jun 01, 2020

Sixteen Candles meets Heathers, meets Steven King. Extremely entertaining and so nostalgic! Full of 80s pop culture references and just the right amount of creepy.

JCLRachelN May 01, 2020

What a wild ride! I found myself eager to pick it up when I had the chance. This is truly a love story to the 1980s, all the ups and downs of high school, and the power of friendship. I was (mostly) prepared to be in a state of suspense and dread but what I didn’t expect was a sweetness to the story. I’ll be checking out more of Hendrix’s work!

Chapel_Hill_RobynW Apr 07, 2020

I've always been suspicious of any book where the title promises so much (this is up there with the best fiction title I have ever seen), but I devoured this book. This book has a great relationship at its heart, and would even work well without the discussion without the supernatural element. Puberty, high school and far of change work well together to make this story fast moving and believable. I look forward to reading more by this author.

Chapel_Hill_KristenS Mar 01, 2020

I'm late to the party, but this book was fantastic. I would give it 6 stars if I could! Read it in one evening, and loved it.

Hillsboro_RobP Jan 09, 2020

A heroic friendship in the 80's is the canvas for this absolute gem of comedy horror fiction. It might sound strange to praise an exorcism for its realism, especially considering there's no small amount of fully intended silliness, but the actions of these characters are 100% believable, and they never lose their agency even when knee deep in the demonic vomit of a climax.
Compelling throughout, Hendrix creates an 80's in the south that's believable and frustrating, so much so that the unholy goings-on hardly seem out of place and Abby's battle to save her friend is completely engrossing. A must-read for horror fans or for those who grew up in the time period.

KHCPL_Wagner Oct 15, 2019

This horror novel features demonic possession.

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needle_and_thread
May 03, 2019

needle_and_thread thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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needle_and_thread
May 03, 2019

Frightening or Intense Scenes: SPOILERS one character kills a dog because they want to upset the other. another character gets infested with tape worms which is described in detail

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