By Heather A.
4 out of 5 stars ★★★★☆
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?
An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism is a crash course in 80’s nostalgia for those of us who were not able to experience it. There are so many 80’s references that I think I should recommend this book to my mom because she would appreciate the mentions of her favorite songs, TV shows, styles, etc. Each chapter was named after an 80’s song and they were always talking about issues during that time (when the characters were not talking about the plot, obvs). It’s definitely not a criticism because I had a lot of fun reading this book regardless and it didn’t take away from my reading.
What worked really well for this book was the close friendship of Abby and Gretchen. Abby had every reason to turn away from her friend, but she did not give up on finding a solution to Gretchen’s problem. Each time that Abby gets close to Gretchen to figure out what’s going on, Gretchen makes her life worse, but it’s their strong bond pre-demon that drives Abby.
My major criticism was the one part during spirit week (when Gretchen is possessed, but Abby doesn’t realize it) where people would sign up to be other’s slaves for the day and had to do everything that the other person told them. The book is set at a private school in the South, in the 80’s, but I found this to be very jarring knowing that the author wrote this in the 2000s and knows full well the implications of bringing up slavery and treating slavery as a joke. I really found this scene to be in poor taste.
Overall I found this book to be really fun, but there are also plenty of scenes that scared the pants off of me. The author knows how to turn up the volume on creepy when it’s needed (especially what Gretchen does to the other people in their circle of friends). Glad I was finally able to read one of Grady Hendrix’s books. I have had Horrorstör on my TBR for a long time!