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My Best Friend's Exorcism

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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: Gre 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?


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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: Gre 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?

30 review for My Best Friend's Exorcism

  1. 5 out of 5

    Wil Wheaton

    It's very very very good, but falls just short of being great and I can't say exactly why. I loved the characters and the metaphor of possession (which is not just a metaphor in this story). I loved the references to 1988, and how seamlessly they were dropped into the narrative. It's a supernatural horror story, and the third act drives that home without mercy, but at its core, this is a story about friendship, and I'm glad I read it. I think it would make a great 6 episode series. It's very very very good, but falls just short of being great and I can't say exactly why. I loved the characters and the metaphor of possession (which is not just a metaphor in this story). I loved the references to 1988, and how seamlessly they were dropped into the narrative. It's a supernatural horror story, and the third act drives that home without mercy, but at its core, this is a story about friendship, and I'm glad I read it. I think it would make a great 6 episode series.

  2. 5 out of 5

    karen

    HAPPPPPPYYYYY SPOOOOOOKTOOOOOBER! a reverse-mullet review: GIF-party in the front, long tendrils of ruminating “business” in the back. in short, this book is and "DBNQ," and largely because “we got the beat” is used as a plot point in this book and “heaven is a place on earth” is used in that episode, so it's six degrees of belinda carlisle and then you throw in some and and i need to use the rest of this space to untangle some thoughts and reactions i have about this book. you can come with me or you HAPPPPPPYYYYY SPOOOOOOKTOOOOOBER! a reverse-mullet review: GIF-party in the front, long tendrils of ruminating “business” in the back. in short, this book is and "DBNQ," and largely because “we got the beat” is used as a plot point in this book and “heaven is a place on earth” is used in that episode, so it's six degrees of belinda carlisle and then you throw in some and and i need to use the rest of this space to untangle some thoughts and reactions i have about this book. you can come with me or you can go on your merry way to read a more review-shaped review, but you cannot bitch at me for not writing a review in whatever manner you find most useful or appropriate, because i'm telling you right now - if you are the kind of person who has bullet points for how goodreads reviews "should" be, this ain't your review. i’d intended to only read horror books for october, despite the temptation of several non-horror books side-eyeing me wantonly from the stacks. and yet i feel like i have already inadvertently failed in this goal by reading this one, because i wouldn’t really classify it as “horror.” unless you are extraordinarily spooked out by teengirl squabbles. which is probably a legit phobia with a fancy name, but i don’t know what it is. and i’m okay with this not slotting neatly into the horror category. i like genre blends, i like ambiguity and metafiction (when it is purposeful and not just gimmicky), and i like it very much when the reader is invited to take a step back and examine a situation through a slightly different lens before returning them to the narrative a little off-balance; out of alignment with their former expectations or beliefs or even comfort level. this book both does and doesn’t do these things. see, i can be ambiguous, too! this is a possession novel that offers several different “outs” along the way before committing to a stance on the “demon or no demon?” question. the problem is, i’ve already read a perfectly-done example of this: A Head Full of Ghosts, which sustains its ambiguity throughout, essentially presenting two books at the same time; one in which the possession is real, one in which it is not. this one kinda bats around the idea of that ambiguity in a half-hearted way, but it’s more a case of “presenting logical alternatives” than “maintaining two possible storylines simultaneously.” which is less ambitious and less fun, but it certainly does its due diligence in checklisting all of the possible explanations for erratic teen behavior that aren’t demon-based, with especial focus on two of the big baddy blamealots of the 80’s: satanic cults and drugs. it’s all part of that “just say no,” medical misinformation, satanic panic zeitgeist of the 80’s where urban legends are presented as factual, where teenage characters fully believe that subterranean tunnels under preschools host molestation parties, AIDS is a weapon in a psychopath’s arsenal, and that any family moving out of town is really covering up the satanically-motivated dismemberment-murder of one of their peers. but as far as the parade of alternate explanations go, it’s actually an interesting experiment to see how long you can make a possession novel read like a teen-problem novel - how long you can hold off before you must choose. because there is a lot of overlap in how they present to the outside world, and in this book, the potential problem/excuse for gretchen changing itself changes with breathtaking frequency, depending on who’s diagnosing her, but they are all valid; textually supported and confidently asserted: page 128 - blamed on drugs and life stress (boys, school, parents) ”I don’t know what’s going on with Gretchen…But if you care about your friend, you need to get her off whatever she’s on.” “What?” Abby asked. “What?” Mr. Barlow mimicked. “I’m not an idiot. I know what drugs are. If you’re really her friend, get her to stop.” and Abby realized that no one was going to do anything. For five years, Gretchen had been the perfect Albermarle student, and the faculty still saw what they were used to seeing - not what was really happening. Maybe they chalked it up to PSAT stress or problems at home. Maybe they figured that tenth grade was a tough transition. Maybe they were caught up in their own divorces and career dramas and problem kids, and if she still wasn’t turning things around on Monday they’d say something. Or maybe the following Monday. Or the Monday after that. Something was changing inside Gretchen. Maybe it was the acid, maybe it was Andy, maybe it was her parents, maybe it was something worse. Whatever it was, Abby had to keep trying. She couldn’t abandon her friend because soon Gretchen would be ready to talk. Any minute now she’d look up from her daybook and say, “I have to tell you something serious.” pages 138-9 - blamed on rape, trauma manifesting in cutting So it was true. Someone had been in the woods and attacked Gretchen, and now she was hurting herself again and again as she relived the trauma, punishing herself just like Seventeen said. It all made so much sense that, insanely, Abby felt proud for having figured it out. 144 - blamed on unspecified adolescent psychology ”What Gretchen is going through is very scary, and I don’t blame you for backing off from your friendship a little. But we’ve talked to doctors and they tell us that what’s happening is an unfortunate sickness of the mind and spirit that happens sometimes as girls grow up.” and ”It’s terrible when a young person hurts herself. But it can be a reaction to a lot of things. We’ve found someone in the church who Gretchen can speak to, and that’s how she’s going to start getting better. and the biggest opportunity for an “out” from a supernatural explanation comes from a source who should be above reproach: ”Abby,” Father Morgan said, “I know how it is to be a young person. There are all these reports of satanic cults everywhere, sacrificing babies. Geraldo Rivera’s doing a two-hour special on them next week. Of course you feel these things deeply, and they upset and influence you. But they’re not real.” “Then what are they?” Abby asked. “They’re…” Father Morgan waved one hand around in the air. “…metaphors. Ways of dealing with information and emotions. Adolescence is a complicated time, and some really bright people think that when the adult emerges, it’s like you’re being taken over by a different person. Almost like being possessed. Sometimes parents, or friends, get hurt when a loved one changes. They look around for something to blame. Music, movies, satanism.” He leaned back and flashed a smile. “So you think Gretchen is possessed?” Abby asked. “Like she has a demon inside of her?” His smile flicked off. “What?” he said. “No, it’s a metaphor.” oh, where was this authoritative voice of reason in the wayback? or was tipper gore just so loud in castigating ozzy osbourne, cyndi lauper and jello biafra that no one could hear? or is it, as poor father morgan later tries to explain to the very stubborn abby, that society needs a scapegoat to explain the bad things that happen, we need someone to be sick so we don’t have to address ourselves, and a media circus is a wonderful distraction. so, that was all a lot of words going nowhere, i know - but again - this is pretty much just for me to figure some shit out. and here’s more of that. hand in hand with the panoply of reasonable natural-world explanations in terms of how it serves the author and manipulates the reader is what i’m calling the stepback. usually, this happens in a first-person narrative, when you have gone along with the narrator for the bulk of the story, and whether or not you agree with/approve of their choices and actions, you are nonetheless firmly lodged in that perspective and then suddenly the book takes a giant step back into third person, showing you the scene in a more objective way, and it’s all “hey now!” the two i can think of right now are American Psycho and And the Ass Saw the Angel, but i know there are more. this one has two stepbacks, of a sort, where the choice easily could have been made to move away from the demonic angle and go down an equally creepy but more real-world path. OR to kinda juggle both. they both revolve the exorcist character, and again - A Head Full of Ghosts does a wicked thorough job examining the problematic, gendered and highly sexualized nature of exorcism rituals, but this book seems to be satisfied with setting up and calling attention to a sinister possibility without taking it any further. abby and the exorcist meet at the mall, and after a candid and unvarnished discussion about ghb as a means of knocking out and then kidnapping her best friend, for her own good, of course - praise jesus, this enormous bodybuilder of a man, no more than a stranger to abby, says: ”Come on…I want to show you something in my car.” abby’s no dummy, and she’s cautious enough to work out an escape route as she follows him to his white van (natch), where he triumphantly shows off his nylon straps, handcuffs, a straitjacket, duct tape, ball gags, chains, collars, a leash and muzzle, a leather hood, shackles followed by this not at all indicative of a crazy person scene: ”It’s for our safety, of course,” he said. And then he laughed and clapped his hands. “Hot darn, I’m excited,” he said, hopping from one foot to the other.” in a different book, this goes a different way, right? and i kind of wanted to read that book - a sharp twist away from my expectations, rattling reader-me from my ridealong absorption of abby’s belief in demonic possession back onto firmer ground with a turn of events equally “earned” by events thus far. the second stepback, or opportunity to switch gears, comes during the ritual itself, as it should during any physical torture of a teenage girl “for her own good.” you should take a moment - preferably before you administer the ghb, just to entertain the possibility that you’re reading the signs wrong. just half a mo. i’m not sure what i’m trying to understand by identifying these moments, other than reiterating that this is barely a horror novel, that it goes 3/4 of the way before it is any different from a contemporary YA problem novel, and that i think that’s interesting. you may not. “you” are probably just an echo of me right now, because i doubt anyone has come this far down the babble spiral with me, but i’m okay with that. and now i will babble some positive responses. i liked so many things in this book - it gets a hundred stars for design. i love the cover of the paperback, but unfortunately it does not include all the yearbook signatures of the hardcover, of which i particularly like abby’s, whose P.S. means one thing before you read the book and one much more specific thing after, and is the part that made me get as close to emotional as i can when reading. and although the 80s music references i was promised were of the #notMY80s variety - all pop music instead of new wave, i have to admit i thoroughly enjoyed the girls’ new lyrics to "against all odds" and "we got the beat." and i especially-especially enjoyed the code of the south - that genteel looking away from the inelegant shames of others: In Charleston, the day you become an adult is the day you learn to ignore your neighbor’s drunk driving and focus instead on whether he submitted a paint-color change proposal to the Board of Architectural Review. The day you become an adult is the day you learn that in Charleston, the worse something is, the less attention it receives. this is, by the way, the complete opposite of how we do in new england, which is pretty much exactly like The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible. that ending, tho. completely unexpected and yet absolutely perfect. ***************************************** 3.5 rounded up for ending. word-thoughts to come. come to my blog!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    Well hell, the end of this book made me cry a little bit! I didn't see that coming! I loved the front and back pages of this book. I took a couple of pictures so you guys could see. It's awesome, like a yearbook =) I loved Abby and Gretchen's friendship. It lasted the test of time. I think something in the book might have went over my head but I'm just going to pretend it didn't. I loved, loved, loved the 80's music references and other stuff. It makes me think of the good ole days. Well, mostly Well hell, the end of this book made me cry a little bit! I didn't see that coming! I loved the front and back pages of this book. I took a couple of pictures so you guys could see. It's awesome, like a yearbook =) I loved Abby and Gretchen's friendship. It lasted the test of time. I think something in the book might have went over my head but I'm just going to pretend it didn't. I loved, loved, loved the 80's music references and other stuff. It makes me think of the good ole days. Well, mostly good ole days. This book is about high school, friends and weirdos, demonic stuff, exorcisms ish, troubled families and kids, and probably several more things that I have forgotten. I enjoyed this coming of age story - not your typical coming of age story - but I still enjoyed it. And like I said, the end was both sweet and sad =( Enoy! MEL ♥

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sadie Hartmann

    Updating review on 9/20/19 I read a one-star review basically calling the author out for "queerbaiting" in this book by using the phrase "Love ya dearly but not queerly." I have to say that the 1980s were so homophobic and ignorant. Especially with language and phrases. It has taken a long time for me to stop saying, "That's gay" for something I think is lame and I'm not homophobic. It's a phrase that was used before I had any idea what it even meant (my kids have corrected this behavior and I kn Updating review on 9/20/19 I read a one-star review basically calling the author out for "queerbaiting" in this book by using the phrase "Love ya dearly but not queerly." I have to say that the 1980s were so homophobic and ignorant. Especially with language and phrases. It has taken a long time for me to stop saying, "That's gay" for something I think is lame and I'm not homophobic. It's a phrase that was used before I had any idea what it even meant (my kids have corrected this behavior and I know better and do better) We also said the "R" word synonymously for "lame" which is also not OK. But if an author writes a book set in 1980s, it's relevant to reflect this ignorant attitude, in my humble opinion. It's the way it was; the way we talked. I know that the usage of these words is triggering for readers TODAY because these ignorant attitudes and words are still in use--but I think the accusations against the author are misguided in this context. Just my .02 I'm not really sure why anyone would rate this book anything lower than five stars, unless of course, they didn't understand the premise of the book. I think it helps that I was born in 1976, so I'm the target audience and I buddy read it with a friend who was also in middle school in the late 80s-high school in the 90s, so you know--the E.T. themed birthday party at the roller skating rink? Yeah. Nailed it. What you're signing up for when you read this book is the general plot of The Exorcist paired with Carrie vibes but lightened up with Hendrix's unique brand of iconic cultural identification/nostalgia that looks a lot like a blender smoothie of Stranger Things, My So Called Life and every 80s sitcom I ever watched---that's what this book *feels* like when you're reading it. If you were born after 1985, you're probably going to miss out on reliving stuff like the scene where Abby and Gretchen get in trouble for singing the lyrics to Like a Virgin and wearing Gretchen's mom's cross necklaces. That was a scene from my own life--I mean, I *am* the MTV generation. I was scandalized by Madonna. I Stayed up late with my parents to watch the premiere video for Micheal Jackson's Thriller when it was an event on network television, I crimped my hair, had a Swatch Watch, wore Esprit Jeans and sprayed myself with Exclamation perfume every morning of eighth grade. But you'll get the basic idea of it if you swap Madonna with Britney Spears or something. So of course, Grady Hendrix was speaking my language this entire book-not one pop culture reference was wasted on me. I especially loved the song title chapter headings and the songs would immediately get locked in my head, "How can we dance when our earth is turning How do we sleep while our beds are burning How can we dance when our earth is turning How do we sleep while our beds are burning" I had no clue what these lyrics by Midnight Oil was even about when I was a kid, but I knew every, single word and it was a treasure to recall that when I got to this chapter-and the way the lyrics actually fit so well with what was happening in the story? I mean, it's genius level storytelling in my opinion. However, I don't think this book will alienate any of the younger generation of readers because 80s pop culture is super celebrated and people who can't relate on a personal level, will at least get it on the same level that they get what's going on in Stranger Things, which is wildly popular for all ages, you know? Sure, my 12 year old isn't going to feel it like my husband and I do, but he relates as a kid--kids don't change. All the characters in this book were well developed and easy to relate to for anyone who remembers what it is like to be a pre-teen/teenager. The humor and horror seem in perfect balance. Yes, there are some cringe-worthy moments and yes, they are less scary because of the humor that's blended through out, but for me, that didn't make it any less entertaining. I enjoyed every moment--stand out moments being the climax towards the end and the exorcism stuff--there were some laugh out loud moments (love the Phil Collins mentions in that scene) Ha! Overall, I recommend this book for anyone--not just fans of 80s pop culture (although they would love this!) and not just fans of horror books, but everyone who likes a good story with witty dialog, great characters and a well crafted horror plot, with few laughs. How does that *not* sound like a good time?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    If you lived through the 1980s then you'll probably remember the rash of Satanism that struck middle-class America during those harrowing times. Thank God for Geraldo Rivera and his timely news pieces! As children, we were being sucked into service of the Dark One through Dungeons and Dragons, heavy metal rock bands, ouija boards, and copious amounts of hairspray. #facts It was a good time to be alive. Ok, so Hendrix takes all of the nonsense and paranoia of that era and tells a story of two girls fr If you lived through the 1980s then you'll probably remember the rash of Satanism that struck middle-class America during those harrowing times. Thank God for Geraldo Rivera and his timely news pieces! As children, we were being sucked into service of the Dark One through Dungeons and Dragons, heavy metal rock bands, ouija boards, and copious amounts of hairspray. #facts It was a good time to be alive. Ok, so Hendrix takes all of the nonsense and paranoia of that era and tells a story of two girls from very different walks of life who become best friends. Like, real ride or die bitches. And then throws a real demonic possession in there. It's funny, but more in a hahaha! I remember that! way than in a belly laugh sort of way. It's also touching and sweet and scary and sad and surprisingly realistic when it comes to how things would probably go down in a situation like that. And the ending made me wish I had a friendship like those two. I've read a couple of Hendrix's books now and this one is definitely my favorite so far. So, if you're one of the millions of folks in the market for an 80s exorcism story, I think you'll really enjoy this.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gabby

    This book was so much fun. This is my second book from Grady Hendrix and I just love his writing so much. This book screams 80's horror movie vibes and I love that about it. We follow this young teenage girl and her best friend begins acting super strange, and then we find out her best friend is possessed. This book is strange and gory and it has one of the most disturbing scenes I've read in a book since The Troop which is pretty surprising and hardcore for a YA book. There's also a Spotify pla This book was so much fun. This is my second book from Grady Hendrix and I just love his writing so much. This book screams 80's horror movie vibes and I love that about it. We follow this young teenage girl and her best friend begins acting super strange, and then we find out her best friend is possessed. This book is strange and gory and it has one of the most disturbing scenes I've read in a book since The Troop which is pretty surprising and hardcore for a YA book. There's also a Spotify playlist for this book that is absolutely incredible and enhances the reading experience x1000000. I also read it for Summerween, you can see my reactions to this book here: https://youtu.be/FO2wJTXJIYA

  7. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Part 80s nostalgia Part tongue-in-cheek comedy Part gory demonic horror story Are you a fan of the darker 80s comedy movies? (i.e. Heathers) Is one of your favorite parts of Stranger Things the 80s references? Do you enjoy that part in The Exorcist when her head spins around and she spits pea soup? Well, then look no further - your next read is here! I enjoyed this one a lot for the bit of escapism it gave me. I didn't find it laugh out loud funny or skin crawling-ly scary. But, there were enough ch Part 80s nostalgia Part tongue-in-cheek comedy Part gory demonic horror story Are you a fan of the darker 80s comedy movies? (i.e. Heathers) Is one of your favorite parts of Stranger Things the 80s references? Do you enjoy that part in The Exorcist when her head spins around and she spits pea soup? Well, then look no further - your next read is here! I enjoyed this one a lot for the bit of escapism it gave me. I didn't find it laugh out loud funny or skin crawling-ly scary. But, there were enough chuckles and minor shocks that, at the end of the day, I was satisfied. This is my second Grady Hendrix and I have found them so far to be the perfect palate cleansers. So, the next time I finish a heavy book and need a break, a Hendrix title I shall choose!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Abby and Gretchen were best friends until they dropped acid at a party. Now, Gretchen's been acting strangely, letting her appearance going to shit, and Abby's worried. But Gretchen will soon give her something to really worry about... After the nirvana that was Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction, I had to give Grady Hendrix's fiction a shot. Set during the satanic panic of the 1980s, My Best Friend's Exorcism is the story of the friendship between two girls Abby and Gretchen were best friends until they dropped acid at a party. Now, Gretchen's been acting strangely, letting her appearance going to shit, and Abby's worried. But Gretchen will soon give her something to really worry about... After the nirvana that was Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction, I had to give Grady Hendrix's fiction a shot. Set during the satanic panic of the 1980s, My Best Friend's Exorcism is the story of the friendship between two girls and the possessing demon that drove a wedge between them. I don't know what I was expecting but it wasn't precisely this. It feels more like a Megan Abbott book, a window into the lives of teenage girls than a horror novel. While it's set in the 80s, My Best Friend's Exorcism doesn't beat you over the head with nostalgia. There are musical references but the culture of the time is the main 80s feature imported into the novel. Satanists are everywhere and they'll stop at nothing to take over the world! The inter-girl politics between Abby, Gretchen, and their friends was very well done and believable. I was never at a moment when I thought "There's clearly a dude writing this." The book is compulsively readable. I wolfed it down in four sittings. I would have gotten it in two but people kept wanting to talk to me during my lunch breaks. Fuckers. It felt more like a suspense novel a lot of the time but there were still some horrific moments that I won't go into here. I was telling my wife about one particular incident and she was pretty impressed. It wasn't perfect, however. The editing was a little sloppy. I noticed one character called the wrong name and one instance of someone's wrists and ankles tied to a bed post but with her hands at her sides. Did she suddenly have four arms? Anyway, those minor quibbles aside, I enjoyed My Best Friend's Exorcism quite a bit. I'll be reading more of Grady Hendrix's fiction. Four out of five stars.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    I’ll admit that I first picked up Grady Hendrix’ 2016 novel My Best Friend’s Exorcism because of the title and the cover art, but his personable writing and fresh ideas kept me reading until the end. This is about what you would think: a snarky and fun pseudo spoof of an exorcist themed horror / black comedy. BUT – author Hendrix makes this work because he tells the story with personality and better than average characterization and dialogue. The reader gets to know characters like Abby and Gretc I’ll admit that I first picked up Grady Hendrix’ 2016 novel My Best Friend’s Exorcism because of the title and the cover art, but his personable writing and fresh ideas kept me reading until the end. This is about what you would think: a snarky and fun pseudo spoof of an exorcist themed horror / black comedy. BUT – author Hendrix makes this work because he tells the story with personality and better than average characterization and dialogue. The reader gets to know characters like Abby and Gretchen and we can understand their unique relationship (even when you consider the demon possession and subsequent exorcism). His horror themed speculative fiction is also quite good. Hendrix fills in the gaps with some good backstory and demonology. Devilishly mean HS girls and cliques are elements that most of us can relate to and the “faith and fitness” show was classic. Also fun is the 80s theme. Yes, I graduated HS in 1987 and so this 1989 graduation story was nostalgic good times. Like Ernest Clines’ brilliant Ready Player One, we can also kick back with some 80s trivia as all of the chapter headings are 80s songs. Better than I expected, this was a lot of fun.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Char

    Steeped in 80's nostalgia, I thought this book was a blast! It was never really scary, and I'm not sure that it was meant to be. My instincts tell me this book was written as an homage to the 80's and the silly fun that the horror genre provided at that time. Sure, there were crazy Satanism scares, Geraldo and diet fads but there were also great music videos, Blockbuster stores and a horror book boom to beat all booms. A lot of them were just like this...about young people, influenced by culture Steeped in 80's nostalgia, I thought this book was a blast! It was never really scary, and I'm not sure that it was meant to be. My instincts tell me this book was written as an homage to the 80's and the silly fun that the horror genre provided at that time. Sure, there were crazy Satanism scares, Geraldo and diet fads but there were also great music videos, Blockbuster stores and a horror book boom to beat all booms. A lot of them were just like this...about young people, influenced by culture and cliques, just trying to fit in. Carrie, Audrina, and all those kids from the covers of John Saul novels know what I'm talking about it. If YOU know what I'm talking about and if you're smiling at those memories as I am, then I recommend this book. It was made for you! *I bought MY BEST FRIEND'S EXORCISM with my own hard earned money. It's the enhanced version and it's a lot fun, especially those flies crawling on the cover!*

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)

    This was... not good.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Larry

    Solid story, a quick read - didn’t care for the exorcism portion of the story, but that was really my only quarrel with the book. Knew all of the cultural references, brought back some memories. Overall, enjoyed it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ginger

    4.5 STARS!! My Best Friend’s Exorcism was great! This was a wonderful tale about friendship and staying connected through it all, even involving demon possession. Does it seem like a hokey idea, maybe? But it wasn't because it's written so well by Grady Hendrix that it just works. The creepy moments with the demon were well done. The book had moments of grossness that was fantastic. I was never terrified while reading this but I was definitely entertained! The transformation of Gretchen made me fee 4.5 STARS!! My Best Friend’s Exorcism was great! This was a wonderful tale about friendship and staying connected through it all, even involving demon possession. Does it seem like a hokey idea, maybe? But it wasn't because it's written so well by Grady Hendrix that it just works. The creepy moments with the demon were well done. The book had moments of grossness that was fantastic. I was never terrified while reading this but I was definitely entertained! The transformation of Gretchen made me feel vile and sad. The moments in high school during the 80s took me down memory lane. The nasty rich kids made me realize why I'm glad I'm not in high school anymore. All the 80s references were just excellent!! I really loved this part of the book. This is the first book that I’ve read of Grady Hendrix and it won’t be the last. I loved his writing, storytelling and characterization of Abby & Gretchen. Even the secondary characters in My Best Friend’s Exorcism are well done. The exorcism scene was a bit cheesy in the beginning with Brother Lemon, but the ending of it with Abby saved it. The ending of the book was just fantastic! Do you think you would like this? Well, do you like the 80s or books set up during this time? How about awesome tales about everlasting friendship? Do you like creepy books that have you binge reading past your bedtime? Look no further then checking out My Best Friend’s Exorcism!! I think you’ll love it!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michael || TheNeverendingTBR

    I really enjoyed this one, it was unique, i like his writing style, its quirky, I also found certain bits horrible - like the tapeworm bit. Wtf! Lol. Abby, Gretchen and Brother Lemon were likeable characters. I'd have preferred a different ending though with Halley's comet, if you've read it you'll know what I mean. A book I'd read again. I also love the VHS cover, we need more books like this!! I'm looking forward to reading more from this author! :) I really enjoyed this one, it was unique, i like his writing style, its quirky, I also found certain bits horrible - like the tapeworm bit. Wtf! Lol. Abby, Gretchen and Brother Lemon were likeable characters. I'd have preferred a different ending though with Halley's comet, if you've read it you'll know what I mean. A book I'd read again. I also love the VHS cover, we need more books like this!! I'm looking forward to reading more from this author! :)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    "She and Gretchen spent hours ranking their friendships, trying to determine who was a best friend and who was an everyday friend, debating whether anyone could have two best friends at the same time." Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fifth grade, but things change when they start high school. After getting lost and spending a night in the woods, Gretchen becomes slightly... different. Abby knows that something is wrong, coming to the conclusion that her best friend must be possesse "She and Gretchen spent hours ranking their friendships, trying to determine who was a best friend and who was an everyday friend, debating whether anyone could have two best friends at the same time." Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fifth grade, but things change when they start high school. After getting lost and spending a night in the woods, Gretchen becomes slightly... different. Abby knows that something is wrong, coming to the conclusion that her best friend must be possessed. Nothing will stand in her way as Abby tries to save her friend from the devil, but will their friendship be strong enough to overcome such forces of evil? When I started this book, I honestly didn't know what to expect. A throwback to the 80s? A horror spoof? A young adult book disguised as horror? Thankfully, it was a pleasant surprise. Yes, it feels spoofy at times and has its own sense of humour, but overall it's a really wonderfully touching book. I signed up for an exorcism, but what I really got and loved most about this book was the friendship between Gretchen and Abby. Not only do you get nostalgic for the 80s (an era that I didn't live in - 1989 baby here - and yet I still feel nostalgic for - explain that!), but mostly I felt nostalgic for those childhood friendships you form. There's really nothing like it. They're so pure and honest and you honestly feel like you're gonna be best friends forever. The usual themes and tropes of possession stories are all accounted for and present in this book, but I still feel like Hendrix brings something different and unique to the story. It's a demon possession story, but with heart. I loved that each chapter was named after a song from the 80s, I loved all the cultural references, I loved that Gretchen went through a stage of crimping her hair... we've all been there, even growing up in the 90s - I've been there. There isn't much in terms of horror - some parts are squeamish and unsettling, but it's not going to keep you up at night. But that's not the point of this book. It's a fun read ultimately, but also really sweet. It's heartwarming to see the lengths that Abby will go to in order to save her best friend - she's admirable, courageous, brave, resilient. And I cried at the end. I was not expecting tears, but they came anyway! Throughout the entirety of this book, I was thinking to myself "Yeah, this is a solid 4 stars" but that ending... I gotta give the book 4.5 stars out of 5. I loved this one, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, quick read with a lot of heart (and demonic possession)!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ Abby and Gretchen have been friends ever since Abby’s 10th birthday party. Let’s just talk about that party for a minute. Who in their right mind would (1) plan their party after someone has already sent out invitations for another party? Margaret, that’s who . . . . And (2) who would attend some lame ass horse party when they could do this instead . . . . Apparently everyone #sadface. But seriously, what was with the stereotyp Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ Abby and Gretchen have been friends ever since Abby’s 10th birthday party. Let’s just talk about that party for a minute. Who in their right mind would (1) plan their party after someone has already sent out invitations for another party? Margaret, that’s who . . . . And (2) who would attend some lame ass horse party when they could do this instead . . . . Apparently everyone #sadface. But seriously, what was with the stereotype all girls loving all things horsey back in the ‘80s??? (Countdown to girl from elementary school who was obsessed with horses discovering this review and trolling me for life in 3, 2, . . . . ) Anyway, poor little Abby. It didn’t even matter that Gretchen brought a stupid children’s bible as a gift, they were BFFs as soon as they skated under the sparkling lights of the disco ball on that roller rink. Fastforward to high school and two girls who really only argue about one thing . . . . . That is until a seriously strange acid trip that leaves Gretchen a little different than before . . . . Now Abby will have to do whatever it takes to save her . . . . . I picked this up because . . . well, duh, it’s almost Halloween, but mainly because of the cover. Look at the majesty which is the cheesy VHS horror rental at your local Blockbuster (#ripblockbuster). It was exactly what I was looking for while I counted down the seconds until the premier of the new season of the best 1980s deliciousness since the actual 1980s . . . . If you are actually looking for “unspeakable horrors” like the blurb states, you need to look somewhere else. On the other hand, if you want to feel a little nostalgic in the form of chapter titles that are also well-known ‘80s hits, references to Chi-Chi’s fried ice cream, The Thorn Birds, Flowers in the Attic, puka shell necklaces, and on and on while you experience some campy good times, this one might be a winner. The story does drag a bit when it comes to the teen angst and nonsense in lieu of the barfing of pea soup, but eventually readers do get the scene they’ve been waiting the whole book for . . . . This also appears to be marketed as general fiction. Maybe because it’s set in the olde days of yore??? Be forewarned that this is NOT going to scare you and should probably have been cross-marketed for both teens and geezers.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction)

    To say I’ve been waiting to read this for so long and have heard everyone’s rave reviews of it in the meantime…I literally couldn’t care less. Grady Hendrix’s writing on this one at times felt like a to-do list, simply listing what happened with barely any description besides the bare basics. I know this is on the lighter side of horror but there was zero atmosphere to indicate danger, and I can’t say I cared for the retro vibe everyone loves. The plot itself was standard exorcism story. Honestl To say I’ve been waiting to read this for so long and have heard everyone’s rave reviews of it in the meantime…I literally couldn’t care less. Grady Hendrix’s writing on this one at times felt like a to-do list, simply listing what happened with barely any description besides the bare basics. I know this is on the lighter side of horror but there was zero atmosphere to indicate danger, and I can’t say I cared for the retro vibe everyone loves. The plot itself was standard exorcism story. Honestly the only reason I finished it was because it’s a quick read and I could at least get the satisfaction of finishing a book out of it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    Grady Hendrix's My Best Friend's Exorcism might just be what you expect looking at the book: it's campy, crazy, and chock full of 80s references! Can a friendship be powerful enough to beat the devil? Abby and Gretchen have been inseparable best friends since 4th grade. They have private jokes and countless memories together, and they’ve remained close through high school. But one boring night, after some warm beer and some drugs, the girls and their friends decide to go skinny-dipping. Somethi Grady Hendrix's My Best Friend's Exorcism might just be what you expect looking at the book: it's campy, crazy, and chock full of 80s references! Can a friendship be powerful enough to beat the devil? Abby and Gretchen have been inseparable best friends since 4th grade. They have private jokes and countless memories together, and they’ve remained close through high school. But one boring night, after some warm beer and some drugs, the girls and their friends decide to go skinny-dipping. Something strange happens, though, something inexplicable, and it changes Gretchen drastically. Suddenly Gretchen is acting erratically, complaining of being touched by invisible beings, her personal hygiene deteriorates, and strange and troubling things happen and appear when she’s around. But while others give up on her, Abby is determined to figure out what happened to her friend, and save her at any cost—even though there are great risks to her own future. And she's not even sure if anyone takes her seriously, or if they think she's on drugs like they suspect Gretchen is. As you might imagine, this book is a little silly, a little scary (at least for cowards like me who usually steer clear of books like this), and more than a little bit gross at times. But that being said, it has some surprising emotional heft I didn’t see coming given the subject matter. If you’re a child of the 80s like me, you’ll love the pop culture references sprinkled throughout and this nostalgic cover design. There is a bunch of gore—blood and guts and some mentions of animal harm and animal death—so be forewarned if those trouble you. They’re easily skimmed over. Hendrix really is quite the storyteller. Exorcism and friends...they go together? Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html. Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carole (Carole's Random Life)

    This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life I had really high hopes for this book. Like really high. I was a bit disappointed in the end. I wasn't a bad story but it didn't even come close to living up to my expectations. When I first saw this book, I knew that I would have to read it. Demonic possession with heavy dose of 80's references were enough to really grab the attention of this old lady. Unfortunately, despite the wonderful premise I found the book rather underwhelming. Abby and This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life I had really high hopes for this book. Like really high. I was a bit disappointed in the end. I wasn't a bad story but it didn't even come close to living up to my expectations. When I first saw this book, I knew that I would have to read it. Demonic possession with heavy dose of 80's references were enough to really grab the attention of this old lady. Unfortunately, despite the wonderful premise I found the book rather underwhelming. Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since grade school. Things go wrong at a high school party when the girls were doing a few drugs. Gretchen gets lost in the woods and is gone for a night and her personality starts to changes. She becomes very mean especially to her friend, Abby. Abby knows that something is wrong but she can't seem to get anyone to listen to her in order to get her friend the help that she needs. I love the 80's. I was a teen in the late 80's and I really was looking forward to a story set in this time period. Unfortunately, the 80's references in this book became a little too much for me. It felt a little forced in some ways and I think it actually ended up being a bit distracting. The characters felt a little flat to me. I never felt any kind of connection to Abby or Gretchen. I also thought that the story dragged at points. There were some really exciting moments but nothing truly scary as I had hoped to find. In the end, this story just never really grabbed me and was just okay. I do think that a lot of readers will enjoy this one a lot. This is the first book by Grady Hendrix that I have read and I would be willing to read his work again in the future. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Quirk Books via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review. Initial Thoughts This book wasn't quite what I thought it would be. I really enjoyed all the 80's references as the book got started but eventually it became a little too much...even for someone who loves to walk down memory lane like myself. The story was okay and it did have its exciting moments but there was nothing here that blew me away. I need to think about this one for bit before I decide on a rating but right now it is sitting at about 3 stars.

  20. 4 out of 5

    myo (myonna reads)

    Abby was very annoying and yet i can relate to her and her need to put makeup on because of her acne because i was the same way in high school until i finally stopped caring LOL. really love how grady hendrix sometimes will intertwine other topics in his horror books, for example this book that focuses on horror but friendship at the same time.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Taylor

    1.5 "Demons are ideas made flesh," Brother Lemon said. "Bad ideas. The one inside your friend is discord, anger, and rage. He is the bringer of storms with a smile like lightning, brother of owls and giver of nightborn intelligence. He is the cleaving that can never be healed." ... I really wanted to like this book. I mean, look at that cover! It's bloody gorgeous. Trust me, I wanted a fun, Halloween romp with demonic possession and loveable characters. But did I get that? No. I didn't. My Best Friend 1.5 "Demons are ideas made flesh," Brother Lemon said. "Bad ideas. The one inside your friend is discord, anger, and rage. He is the bringer of storms with a smile like lightning, brother of owls and giver of nightborn intelligence. He is the cleaving that can never be healed." ... I really wanted to like this book. I mean, look at that cover! It's bloody gorgeous. Trust me, I wanted a fun, Halloween romp with demonic possession and loveable characters. But did I get that? No. I didn't. My Best Friend's Exorcism was...not good. At all. It was a chore to slosh through a majority of this book, and by the time I got to the end, I was vastly disappointed. Here's why: This book is supposed to be about two girls, Abby and Gretchen. The year is 1988. Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since the third grade, and one night during the summer, they go skinny dipping. Something goes wrong, however, and the next day, Gretchen starts to act really weird. After some bizarre incidents in their friend group, Abby comes to the conclusion that Gretchen is being possessed by a demon. Time to hire an exorcist to send the demon back to hell! Sounds fun, right? WRONG. First of all: why was this book set in 1988? Oh, I know why!! For cheap 80's references for the sake of nostalgia. No other reason. Oh, and also so the author can say some pretty offensive shit and get away with it because, ya know, those were the times, amiright??? Here's a quote from the fifth chapter of this book: "Promise me you'll always be my friend," she said "DBNQ," Abby replied. It was their shorthand for "I love you." Dearly But Not Queerly. ...are you kidding me? Was that really necessary? NOPE. Ughhhhhhhhh I'm probably overreacting but shit like this pisses me off. During Abby and Gretchen's high school's spirit week, there's also a day called "slave day." During "slave day," people are bought by other students and have to follow their "master" around and do whatever is commanded of them. WHAT THE FUCK?! Who in their right mind thought this was okay? This didn't serve any purpose in the story other than to be extremely offensive. It there was commentary to go along with the content, sure yeah that's fine, but this shit was put in here merely for shock factor. Nope. NOT IN MY HOUSE IS THAT OKAY. Let's also talk about the characters for a second. I disliked pretty much everyone. I didn't care about Gretchen and Abby's friendship, despite the author spending the first 50 pages of the book building the foundation of their relationship. I just didn't care. That's due in part to the fact that every single character is a walking stereotype. Gretchen is the rich, goody-two-shoes. Margaret is the good-looking, bratty cheerleader with severe body-image issues. Glee is the brain. And Abby is the stupid teenage horror movie main character that doesn't have a FREAKING BRAIN. Abby was so stupid. We're told by the author that she's smart, and got into this private religious school all on scholarship because of her grades. She's the sensible, hard-working one, right? Haha. HaHAHAHAHA. NOPE. Abby is a complete moron. She makes some of the stupidest decisions, and dear god, she's written so poorly. What was her personality? Acting dumb and constantly acting like the victim? Because there's nothing more to her character besides that. It's so apparent that all of these young girls are being written by a middle-aged white dude. It's so obvious it hurts. The only character I actually liked was Abby's mom. Everything she said to Abby was 100% the truth. She warned Abby about hanging out with those horrible people. She told her daughter how idiotic she was acting. She kept it real, and I appreciated it. Nothing exciting happened until the last third of the book, and there wasn't even a body count. Sure, some messed up shit happened, but I didn't care because I wasn't invested in the characters. I was yawning for a majority of this book and waiting for it to just end already. Merciful God, this book was a chore. The only reason I'm not rating this book any lower is because some parts of it were pretty entertaining. I enjoyed the ending of this book...in theory. In the hands of a better author, this book could've been so much better. I liked the author's ideas, and I appreciated what he was trying to do at parts. But man, did the execution fall flat. My Best Friend's Exorcism was a waste of my time. I wanted to have fun with this, but the poor writing, horrible characters, and boring story line really hindered my overall enjoyment of this book. Maybe this book wasn't for me. Maybe you'll enjoy it. But come on, there has to be better horror out there. If you're looking for a scary, fun time, just watch The Exorcist and skip past this boring mess.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Provin Martin

    Five totally rad stars!!!! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 To enjoy this book, you must love the 1980’s, gore, horror and the sickly sweet friendship teenage girls have! This is my second read written by Grady Hendrix – – I just can’t get over his easy-going writing style and realistic characters. I adored the southern book clubs guide to slaying vampires, so I hoped I was in for a real treat with the selection. I was not let down! Abby is having a birthday party at the local rollerskating rink. But the only person who Five totally rad stars!!!! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 To enjoy this book, you must love the 1980’s, gore, horror and the sickly sweet friendship teenage girls have! This is my second read written by Grady Hendrix – – I just can’t get over his easy-going writing style and realistic characters. I adored the southern book clubs guide to slaying vampires, so I hoped I was in for a real treat with the selection. I was not let down! Abby is having a birthday party at the local rollerskating rink. But the only person who showed up was Gretchen and she doesn’t know Gretchen. Gretchen‘s gift is a children’s Bible, Abby is appalled!. But as her sad birthday party goes on, she learns Gretchen can’t skate and that gives her the opportunity to share her hobby with someone else. This is when Gretchen and Abby form a bond that is unbreakable. The twosome turns into an unstoppable foursome when they are in high school. Margaret and Glee join Abby and Gretchen for the summer of 1988- and they plan to make it the best summer ever! When the foursome takes a trip to the creek to celebrate their summer, things get a little wild. Gretchen goes missing and the search is on. When the girls finally find her she’s not the Gretchen that they lost. And so begins Abbys journey to exercise Gretchen’s demons. This book started me off with magical trip down memory lane. I grew up in the 80s and remembered every song, book and magazine mentioned. The story took me back to my childhood room, brought up similar memories I shared with my friends and made me long for mixtapes, jelly shoes and a teen beat magazine to read. Ah,yes, the 80s!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Trudi

    "What an excellent day for an exorcism." ~The Exorcist (1973) This is an okay book. Fair. Acceptable. But it takes too long to really get humming (I'm all in for foreplay, but Hendrix really pushes the limits to impatience here). More than three-quarters of the novel is essentially an angsty teen, coming-of-age high school drama about a group of girls and their growing pains with each other and with the world around them. It could very well be Gossip Girl or One Tree Hill -- except that one "What an excellent day for an exorcism." ~The Exorcist (1973) This is an okay book. Fair. Acceptable. But it takes too long to really get humming (I'm all in for foreplay, but Hendrix really pushes the limits to impatience here). More than three-quarters of the novel is essentially an angsty teen, coming-of-age high school drama about a group of girls and their growing pains with each other and with the world around them. It could very well be Gossip Girl or One Tree Hill -- except that one of the main characters might be demonically possessed (instead of merely being a catty bitch). Sometimes it's nigh on impossible to tell the difference. Here's the thing -- this book suffers by comparison to a lot of other things. Nobody writes the mysterious, dark and turbulent interior lives of teenage girls better than Megan Abbott. Seeing Hendrix attempt to do the same thing here as he explores the iron bonds of friendship forged by Abby and Gretchen when they were children pales in execution and gravitas to Ms. Abbott's vast talents with her mighty quill. The demonic possession and exorcism angle is adequately covered -- but again suffers by comparison to 2015's Bram Stoker Award winning A Head Full of Ghosts. And no matter who you are, if you're writing about this subject, your book is always going to be compared to Blatty's classic horror novel The Exorcist and Friedkin's enduring film adaptation of the same name. Hendrix might have thought he was doing something new and clever here by mashing-up a coming-of-age teen drama with the horror tropes of demonic possession stories, but he doesn't quite make it. Some scenes are definitely creepy and unsettling, there just weren't enough of them (too few of them coming too late in the story) to sustain any kind of coiled tension and impending sense of doom in the reader. And boy, is it really hard to write an exorcism scene that chills, rather than have it feel like a spoof out of a Scary Movie sequel, or a daytime soap opera. Who's old enough to remember Marlena Evans? Me!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    I saw this book on the list by Goodreads for new authors. I thought "Why not?" I was at a point in my reading career where I was choosing authors that were familiar for lack of willingness to take a risk with my time, and I hadn't had the best of luck getting outside the box. I'm glad I picked this up. The beginning of the book was a long introduction to the characters, and if not for the author's wit, it would've made me sleepy. It did give me a clear picture of the characters, rounding them nic I saw this book on the list by Goodreads for new authors. I thought "Why not?" I was at a point in my reading career where I was choosing authors that were familiar for lack of willingness to take a risk with my time, and I hadn't had the best of luck getting outside the box. I'm glad I picked this up. The beginning of the book was a long introduction to the characters, and if not for the author's wit, it would've made me sleepy. It did give me a clear picture of the characters, rounding them nicely and making them seem like actual people. For a long time, this book left me wondering if it was a story about mental illness or whether there would be an exorcism, and even if there was one would this still be a story about mental illness? It was a slow build with a purpose. It ended in a satisfying manner, leaving me feel sad that the characters were gone. There haven't been many books that made me miss the characters, but Abby and Gretchen were two of I will remember for a long time. I think there should be a name coined for the emerging genre of kid-horror (maybe there is and I have missed it), which contains horror that pits kids against evil. King's It and the Netflix Stranger Things are stand out examples. 5 stars because I really like these characters.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    "Stop!" Gretchen cried over the wind. "Abby, he won't stop until you stop. Please!" "The power of Christ compels you, Andras!" Abby shouted. "Leave this girl alone!" -- on page 305 Excuse me - what the hell did I just read? I suppose ask that aloud for an easy (or is it just groan-worthy?) laugh, but part of the success of Hendrix's My Best Friend's Exorcism is that it stubbornly refuses to lock itself into one distinct genre or idea. Ostensibly a horror novel - which I like to read as the Hallowee "Stop!" Gretchen cried over the wind. "Abby, he won't stop until you stop. Please!" "The power of Christ compels you, Andras!" Abby shouted. "Leave this girl alone!" -- on page 305 Excuse me - what the hell did I just read? I suppose ask that aloud for an easy (or is it just groan-worthy?) laugh, but part of the success of Hendrix's My Best Friend's Exorcism is that it stubbornly refuses to lock itself into one distinct genre or idea. Ostensibly a horror novel - which I like to read as the Halloween season fast approaches - the story is also a period piece (set firmly in the summer / autumn of '88 - meaning more big hair , Top 40 pop music, and TCBYs than you'd like to remember), a coming-of-age story, a cautionary tale (with such topics as drug use and moral panic uproars), and an observation on class differences. Even with that laundry list I think I still missed something. Anyway, we follow two lifelong BFFs - average teenagers Abby Rivers and Gretchen Lang - as Lang apparently descends into demonic possession after a murky night in the woods under her first acid trip. Not everything was explained very well or thoroughly, but it really didn't need to be - the reader is placed right alongside a confused but concerned Abby as she witnesses her best pal ride a virtual hellacious rollercoaster of experiences while apparently under the influence of old Beelzebub. And that is what I'll best remember about the book - it is a story about a strong friendship, and how its bonds are tested by all sorts of outside factors (whether otherworldly or not) during certain years.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    ”By the power of Phil Collins, I rebuke you!” I actually liked this one better than The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. I thought this book seemed ridiculous so I avoided it for a while, but it was well done and I should have read it sooner! It made me feel really nostalgic about the 80s, even though I was barely alive for them. Setting and dialogue were on point. This was creepy, sometimes gory, and also an at times heart-wrenching story about friendship. And poor Abby! She has s ”By the power of Phil Collins, I rebuke you!” I actually liked this one better than The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. I thought this book seemed ridiculous so I avoided it for a while, but it was well done and I should have read it sooner! It made me feel really nostalgic about the 80s, even though I was barely alive for them. Setting and dialogue were on point. This was creepy, sometimes gory, and also an at times heart-wrenching story about friendship. And poor Abby! She has such a hard time throughout most of the book, I just felt so bad for her. Of course, Gretchen also has a rough go of it.. Anyway, the way the book wraps up was surprising to me, but I loved it!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Janie C.

    While I enjoyed the way this story pulled me in for a good portion of the book, I was disappointed by the lack of clarity in the parts that involved the supernatural. The majority of the narrative was about the strength of a friendship, though it was a one-sided relationship for a painful amount of the time. Youthful naivety, social status and hurtful betrayals kept the story flowing. When the horror elements first appeared, they were enticing and creepy. However, by the end, I was disappointed While I enjoyed the way this story pulled me in for a good portion of the book, I was disappointed by the lack of clarity in the parts that involved the supernatural. The majority of the narrative was about the strength of a friendship, though it was a one-sided relationship for a painful amount of the time. Youthful naivety, social status and hurtful betrayals kept the story flowing. When the horror elements first appeared, they were enticing and creepy. However, by the end, I was disappointed by the lack of explanation regarding the possession. I craved more background. While the ending was apt for a story of friendship, it left me wanting more in the horror department. 3.5 squirmy worms

  28. 5 out of 5

    Krystin Rachel

    Book Blog | Bookstagram Filed Under: Don’t take acid in the woods. I 👏 FUCKING 👏 LOVED 👏 THIS. I own Horrorstör by this author, but I haven’t read it yet. I only bought it for the cover, and format without any idea of what the book was about or if I liked the author. And honestly, I wanted to read My Best Friend’s Exorcism for the same reason. This is 100% a “#bookstagram made me do it” read. The alternate cover is gorgeous VHS '80s goodness. And the yearbook format print that I had was goddamn ado Book Blog | Bookstagram Filed Under: Don’t take acid in the woods. I 👏 FUCKING 👏 LOVED 👏 THIS. I own Horrorstör by this author, but I haven’t read it yet. I only bought it for the cover, and format without any idea of what the book was about or if I liked the author. And honestly, I wanted to read My Best Friend’s Exorcism for the same reason. This is 100% a “#bookstagram made me do it” read. The alternate cover is gorgeous VHS '80s goodness. And the yearbook format print that I had was goddamn adorable. I literally read every single message written on the front and back covers with unabashed nerdy glee. Clearly, Grady Hendrix is killing the book format game and there’s nothing that turns me on more than someone who throws clichés out the window and walks a creative path less followed in writing. It’s like half the reason I married my husband who wrote me bizarre poetry on the reg. But, it turns out Hendrix is also killing the horror writing game because this is one of my most favourite books that I’ve read in a while. And I’m so bummed it wasn’t in my life so much sooner. My Best Friend’s Exorcism was like Beaches and The Exorcist were put into a blender and this novel is the resulting concoction (minus tapeworms and Bette Midler.) And let me tell you, it was fucking delicious nostalgic, creepy goodness. I think this novel will hit hardest for people who grew up around or in the '80s. I was born in 1985, so I only have a cursory connection to the decade, but I was close enough to it that I now have a soft spot for '80s style, references and pop culture. The nostalgia of this book’s setting – which is so heavy it’s basically a secondary character – wasn’t lost on me and really only enhanced the reading experience because there’s just something about '80s horror that I’m totally in love with. This is about Abby and Gretchen, best friends who bond over E.T. and roller skating rinks and the cruelty of parents and other kids. They’ve grown up together, turning into adopted sisters; they have each other’s back through thick and thin. So when Gretchen begins to act very strangely (or does she just have PTSD?) after a botched acid trip, it tests the girls’ love in deep, dark and twisted ways. The events are literally entertaining as AF. Deceptively linear, but entirely different and gory and creepy and funny. The plot feels honest, l like you’re watching a friendship you’re personally involved in. I cannot say enough about the plot points and the journey the reader is taken on to get from beginning to end. It was truly like watching an '80s horror movie mixed with a love story – eerie and charming, but disturbing. It elicited such genuine emotion from me – do you know how hard that is to do?! The characters are vibrant and fully formed. The exorcist dude might have been my favourite part – part meathead, part evangelical asshat, part overconfident teenage boy. But truly all the characters who pop up to bring life to this demonic tale are well-drawn renditions of humans in the '80s... and just humans in general. The dialogue was canon to the decade, the relationships and experiences felt like what I went through in high school as a teen girl – the teen angst, the desperation to be understood, the adolescent petty drama that feels so important at the time. AND OMG THE CAKED-ON MAKEUP. Beyond that, this novel is about the joy of having a very best friend with who you can be yourself no matter how awkward, weird or difficult your lives are. And how far you’d go to protect that. I loved this. It’s beautiful and it’s horror. What more could I fucking ask for? Grady Hendrix is a new favourite author. It’s official. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | 5 stars

  29. 4 out of 5

    Maxwell

    What a ride! This was such an unexpected delight. I figured it would be entertaining and fun, a little different from what I normally read. But I ended up really loving this! If you are looking for a cheeky, darkly funny, irreverent horror-ish novel, this is it. It's totally lambasting 80's culture and the ridiculousness of so many fads, while telling a story of friendship and growing up through the lens of a horror story. Imagine Mean Girls meets Fear Street. Abby is a lonely kid, one of the poor What a ride! This was such an unexpected delight. I figured it would be entertaining and fun, a little different from what I normally read. But I ended up really loving this! If you are looking for a cheeky, darkly funny, irreverent horror-ish novel, this is it. It's totally lambasting 80's culture and the ridiculousness of so many fads, while telling a story of friendship and growing up through the lens of a horror story. Imagine Mean Girls meets Fear Street. Abby is a lonely kid, one of the poorer kids at her school, who becomes fast friends with Gretchen when she's the only one to show up to Abby's rollerskating birthday party when they are little. From then on, they are inseparable. One summer in high school, they go skinning dipping at their friend Margaret's house on the waterfront and Gretchen comes back changed...potentially possessed. The problem is, Abby seems to be the only one who notices or cares. Abby will do whatever it takes to stop the evil force potentially ruining Gretchen's life, even if it comes at a cost to Abby's own welfare. This is a story packed with 80s references, hilariously ridiculous commentary on American fads from that period, a playful rip on the supernatural horror genre, and just an overall good time. Grady Hendrix really committed to the playfulness in this book, while still developing the heart of the story which is Abby and Gretchen's friendship. He captured teenagers really well, better than many adults are able to often. And that quality, paired with some really creepy stuff made for a pageturner that had me laughing, cringing, and saying "aw" at the end.

  30. 5 out of 5

    The Artisan Geek

    23/1/20 This one wasn't it for me. I wasn't sucked into the story, the characters didn't interest me and the story wasn't able to make me care much for their wellbeing. The main character messed up in jaw dropping dumb ways and honestly she was so annoying. There was also unnecessary racist stuff in here. The whole 'slave day' at school where people could 'buy slaves' or had slaves assigned to them... Also at some point a girl loses a ton of weight and the MC gets worried, says she looks like an 23/1/20 This one wasn't it for me. I wasn't sucked into the story, the characters didn't interest me and the story wasn't able to make me care much for their wellbeing. The main character messed up in jaw dropping dumb ways and honestly she was so annoying. There was also unnecessary racist stuff in here. The whole 'slave day' at school where people could 'buy slaves' or had slaves assigned to them... Also at some point a girl loses a ton of weight and the MC gets worried, says she looks like an Ethiopian. What in the frick is that supposed to mean? Yeah, I'm not surprised if a white girl in 80s America said this sort of dumb ass stuff, but it was so incredibly unnecessary in the scheme of this story. You can find me on Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website You can find me on Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website

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