My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix: Book Review

My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix Book Cover

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My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix Book Cover
4 Stars

Title: My Best Friend’s Exorcism
Author: Grady Hendrix
Genre: Horror, Southern Literature
Audience: Young Adult
Format: E-book

My Synopsis:

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.

My Review:

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.

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