Last fall, I wanted to read a spooky book for our “sometime close to around Halloween” book club meeting. We don’t follow a strict meeting schedule so “fall-ish” is as close as I can remember to when we read this, but boy, it did not disappoint with the spooky. Months later, it has stuck with me, in a good way. And a spooky way.
Title: My Best Friend’s Exorcism
Author: Grady Hendrix
Published: May 17, 2016
Format I Read: Kindle
Synopsis: High school sophomores, Abby and Gretchen, have been best friends since fourth grade. One night while hanging out a friend’s house Gretchen goes missing. She shows up the next day, but she’s not the same. Slowly, her behavior becomes more erratic and strange. Abby knows there is something wrong with Gretchen but no one will listen. She soon realizes it’s up to her and her alone to do the unthinkable and save her best friend.
Thoughts: I wish I had bought this book in hardcover. I liked it enough that I ended up buying it for a cousin’s Christmas gift, and it was neat. Grady Hendrix (also known for Horrorstor) is great at packaging his novels. This one was created to look like a high school yearbook complete with notes and signatures all over the inside covers. He makes the book itself part of the experience. It’s not just about the reading. I read the Kindle version which was just as good for reading, but if you want it all, I would get a copy of the actual book.
This book takes place in the ’80s. Yes, the glorious ’80s. Also, it is a teenage drama/comedy set in the ’80s. Yeah, John Hughes fans, I’m looking at you. Hendrix did a nice job of fleshing out a teenage ’80s story. Abby, Gretchen, and their clique of usual teenage suspects fit the mold but managed to never feel hokey. Neither did the actual plot. When you start throwing demons in the mix, sometimes things get out of control fast, but Hendrix deftly handled his subject matter. There were times I was legitimately creeped out while reading this book. He was able to take seemingly normal scenarios and twist them on their head just enough to make you feel unsettled, and then turn around again and blast you with full on scary.
Without spoiling anything, I can tell you that in the end this story is all about friendship. The ups and downs and the redemptive powers that a true friendship can hold. It’s nice to read a book that is unencumbered by a focus on romantic love and shines the light squarely on the beauty, joy, power, and inspiration that can come from strong female friendships. A story that shows how those friendships can help us, save us even, when we cannot save ourselves.
If you enjoy ’80 teen comedy/drama with a nice splash of horror thrown in (Night of the Creeps, anyone?), this book is definitely for you. If you don’t mind a little spooky and want to read a book dedicated to friendship overcoming the odds, I would also suggest you pick this up. It was a quality story that will be worth your reading time.