Book Review: My Best Friend’s Exorcism
Howdy scream queens and spirit seekers,
It’s time for another book review!
This time I read My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix.
Lately I’ve made a point to read works of fiction in the horror genre since that’s my own writing genre, and Hendrix has quite the reputation, so I thought I’d give this one a try. How did I feel about this read? Keep on scrolling, people!
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 am an Amazon affiliate and earn a tiny commission for purchases made through the Amazon links in this post. It’s a great way to help me keep things running on my blog if you’re already intrigued enough to make a purchase.
This was my first read of something by this author, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
In the end, I don’t think this author is for me.
In this novel we follow the life of Abby and her friend Gretchen. They grow up together with many memorable moments, but it all changes on a weekend out near some woods at their friend Margaret’s place. Something has changed in Gretchen. She’s not the girl she used to be, and Abby won’t rest until she can help her friend. Is Gretchen just outgrowing their friendship, or is there something darker at work?
So first and foremost I want to tackle something that’s been bugging me. This work has been tagged as horror a great many times, but ultimately I don’t believe this book has enough horror to really justify that classification. I would say at least 75% of this story is more of a coming-of-age tale with some spooks here and there. There just wasn’t enough focus on the horror element for me to call it a horror novel. So if you’re looking for a horror novel, I would look elsewhere. If coming-of-age stories are your thing, you’ll probably love this! Moving on.
Overall, the characters were alright. Abby is your typical teenager growing up in the 80’s. She wants to fit in and find her place in the world. Gretchen is her partner in crime and they do pretty much everything together. I liked their relationship and how it built over the beginning of the book. That being said, I felt that both of their characters could’ve had a bit more depth to them. They didn’t quite feel three-dimensional. We had a good backdrop of what happened to make them close, but it wasn’t quite enough for me.
I also feel that other characters were extremely simple and followed cliches to a tee.
The plot really drew me in (it usually does). I mean, the 80’s? A friend potentially possessed by a demon? Sign me up! Unfortunately as I’ve mentioned above, that’s not really the focus of this book in my opinion. This was more coming of age, and since the characters are in high school, that’s means oodles of high school drama. I’m not a huge fan of that, so I got pretty tired of the seemingly endless little tiffs that occurred. At a certain point it just felt whiney and annoying.
As far as the 80’s go, I love the nostalgia, but nostalgia has its limits. To be frank, there are too many 80’s references. I’m big on nostalgia, but it felt like I was beaten over the head with it with the constant references. If the author would tone it down by maybe 20-30% I think it would be fine. To me it just felt like he may be overcompensating or trying to prove how much he knows about the 80’s. That really made things drag for me since all those little details in the grand scheme of things aren’t all that important.
I almost DNF’d this book, but decided to see it through to the end because I did care enough to want to see how the story ended. Was this book a great horror novel? Not by any means, but if you like coming of age tales with plenty of drama and a couple spooks, this is definitely the book for you.
That’s a Wrap!
Thanks for stopping by, and happy reading!
Have you read this book before? What did you think? Do you have a book recommendation similar to this one? Feel free to share in the comments!
If you’d like to see other reviews of mine, feel free to check out the book review section of my blog or my GoodReads. You can also follow my GoodReads reviews here. There are some great binge-worthy books on there!
Have a great day!
Join My ARC Review Team | Subscribe
This book has a lot of positive reviews, but if you’re not the right audience for the book, it’s not going to work. Good review as usual!
Yeah, I think most people that gave this a try maybe weren’t specifically looking for horror or maybe they prefer light horror. Thank you friend! I’ll keep trying new authors. Theres gotta be some gems around here!
I’m a fan of Grady Hendrix, but I don’t think this was one of his best and I think your review is spot on. If you feel like giving him another try I recommend Horrör Store, The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying Vampires, and his upcoming The Final Girls Support Group.
Thanks! Glad I wasn’t offending anybody, at least not yet haha!
Yep, all three of those are on my TBR, but I knocked him down on the totem pole since this one was just okay.
Great review, Jonny. Reviews seem really polarizing on this book. Given my experience with the author’s other books, I think I’ll have similar reaction as you to this one.
Thanks! Yeah, I think overall I’m in the minority, but there does appear to be a wide range of opinions. I just wanted more scares and blood and everything horror and didn’t get that.
I also think I’m getting to the point where anything high school themed may get on my nerves if the drama takes precedence. PTSD from my high school days? Haha, maybe!
The reviews I’ve seen seem to either love it or hate it. I prefer my horror books to be all about horror, not a couple of chapters at the end.
Oh I totally feel ya. I kept asking myself why people are labeling it that way. It just wasnt enough. Snoozeville! Wheres all the terror?