My Best Friend’s Exorcism
Author: Grady Hendrix
Publisher: Quirk Books
Genre/Themes: Fiction, Horror
Release Date: May 17th 2016
Page Count: 336
“I love you, Gretchen Lang. You are my reflection and my shadow and I will not let you go. We are bound together forever and ever! Until Halley’s Comet comes around again. I love you dearly and I love you queerly and no demon is bigger than this!”
The moment I saw My Best Friend’s Exorcism in the flesh, I knew I wanted it. It’s formatted to look like a high school yearbook, which is honestly such a cool concept. The bright colours on top of the 80s feel of the photographs really sets the tone for this novel. If you are familiar with the work of Grady Hendrix, you know that his earlier novel, Horrorstör, is formatted to look like an IKEA catalog. Awesome right? I’m so glad I picked this one up as it was the perfect book to get me out of my recent mini reading slump.
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?
What I Liked
The chapter titles. I mean, I don’t know about you, but 80s music is the best music. Am I right? Each chapter title within this novel was the title of a song from the 80s and I absolutely loved that. Not only were they great song choices, but they were perfect descriptors for the chapter you were about to read.
The friendship. Gretchen and Abby have an amazing friendship. They were always there for one another from the beginning to the end. Abby knew something was wrong with Gretchen, only a best friend would, and she always searched for a solution to bring her best friend back to normal. Even when everyone doubted her and started to believe she was insane, she never gave up. That’s true friendship is you ask me.
The descriptive visuals. Oh man, there were scenes in this novel that were described so well that they provided the most intense visuals. Honestly, there were certain moments in this novel that would be absolutely PERFECT for a film adaptation. This could easily be adapted into a film with the same vibes as Jennifer’s Body or something along those lines. It definitely has some comedic moments (um, the Lemon brothers?) mixed in with some seriously creepy scenes.
What I Didn’t Like
The how? It really may have been that I missed this tiny important detail, but how exactly did Gretchen become possessed? I’m a little lost on how this whole story came to be. She ended up lost in the woods and then what? Did some random teenagers preform some sort of ritual with her? For some reason this just wasn’t very clear for me.
The fast forward. I’m not sure how much I liked the idea of the time jump at the end of this novel. I kind of wish that we stayed in the time period of Gretchen and Abby throughout high school. I’m happy to know that their friendship went on after that, but I do wish it stuck with a single time period.
It’s no secret that I really enjoyed My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix. A horror story, mixed with a bit of comic relief that takes place in the 1980s? Count me in. I highly recommend checking out this novel! Before you go, I decided to quickly put together a Spotify playlist based on the chapter headings throughout the novel! Enjoy the 80s greatness!
About The Author
His fiction has appeared in Lightspeed Magazine, Strange Horizons, Pseudopod, and The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination. He is one of the founders of the New York Asian Film Festival and his nonfiction has appeared in Variety, Slate, Playboy, Time Out New York, The New York Sun, and The Village Voice.
Thank you for reading!