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?
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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!