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My Review | My Best Friend’s Exorcism

Photo shows the book cover of My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix - Photo by Peri McKinnis - Peri Reads - perireads.com

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?

I had recently finished one of Grady Hendrix’s recent releases (The Final Girl Support Group) and was curious about reading more of his well loved novels. My friend handed me this one and gave it nothing but positive reviews so I was excited to check it out. Plus it’s October so it feels necessary to read something a bit scary. I was pleasantly surprised with this one! The cover was replicated to look like an old VHS tape with a callback to the cheesiness that was the 80’s. Hendrix even kept the fun lingo too, felt like I was getting zapped into a time where I didn’t exist. The friendship between Abby and Gretchen started off rough, turned into something beautiful, and then a demon almost ruined it. Honestly a sweet depiction of two young girls who know deep down that nothing can come between them. But that something can certainly try. 

“When those things happened, they learned that although those inches may add up to miles, sometimes those miles were only inches after all.”

The book starts with an introduction to Abby and Gretchen’s friendship with an invitation for Abby’s E.T. themed birthday party. When Gretchen was the only one who showed up the two had no other choice than to be friends. Each chapter is named after popular songs from the 60’s to 80’s that perfectly described the theme of what the chapter is about. I thought it was a cute way to show how these songs were involved in the girl’s budding friendship plus and he chose some pretty fun songs. While everything was starting look perfect for the two, both attending a nice school, they hang out constantly, and Abby is beloved by Gretchen’s uppity parents. Nothing could go wrong. Except everything went wrong when they decided to try acid for the first time at their friend’s lake-house results in Gretchen disappearing in the woods for the night. When she emerges naked everyone is concerned for her while she claims she can’t remember anything happening. The days resume as normal until Gretchen starts acting erratically. She’s hearing things, feeling invisible hands, and is too scared to shower. The slow burn that Hendrix creates when writing these scenes even annoyed me. I felt Abby’s stress and confusion when Gretchen was pushing her away. Classic high school girl troupes that are played out in any movie but heightened with the fact that something is haunting Gretchen. Fun and quirky. 

My Best Friends Exorcism Review - Peri McKinnis - Peri Reads - perireads.com

The twists and turns that Abby faces to try and save her friend was fun and scary to watch. Pretty similar to watching the Exorcist, but not as terribly scary and if they were in high school. Every annoyance that Abby faces made me annoyed for her, making me scream at the adult characters not understanding the situation. The transformation of normal Gretchen to possessed Gretchen is such an interesting shift that even had me questioning if Abby was overreacting. But no there were more twists as the book continues and towards the end I couldn’t put the book down. The ending was a wonderful resolution for the two girls, heartwarming despite the fact that a demon almost killed them. However, I will say, my least favorite thing in books is when an author writes an interesting detail in a book that seems like they’ll get to it later but it’s never mentioned again. It bugs me! Especially when it’s interesting. Hendrix does that a couple times in the book and I really liked them and figured they were going to called back and they weren’t! It’s like why write something that feels like an integral part of the book and never bring it up. Don’t add cool details if you don’t know what to do with them. 

“She could decide how she was going to be. She had a choice. Life could be an endless series of joyless chores, or she could get totally pumped and make it fun. There were bad things, and there were good things, but she got to choose which things to focus on. Her mom focused only on the bad things. Abby didn’t have to.”

Overall I enjoyed the fun storyline, the wacky dialogue, and the fun horror movie plot. I really liked that Abby and Gretchen (or any female characters) were the butt of any jokes or treated horribly. Like I said the demon possession is a slow burn and it’s honestly worth the wait. The ridiculousness of it all was both freaky and entertaining. And the ending tied it all together perfectly. It was like watching the Exorcist but in a cute way. An oxymoron but Hendrix knew what he was doing when he wrote this. If you’re a fan of campy 80’s horror movies with the flair of high school drama this is definitely the book for you. Would recommend!

MY RATING:

4/5

MY RATING:

4/5

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Hey! I’m Peri McKinnis

Peri McKinnis of Peri Reads

I’m a creative, I’m a dreamer, and I’m an Aries. I’ll read any book with enough convincing, I enjoy weird movies, and I’m a caffeine fiend. From the day that I brought my first book catalog home from school I knew that books were going to have a special place in my heart. Now I want to spread that love here, to talk about the books that made us cry, fall in love, and scorn because we couldn’t finish them. 

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