Abby and Gretchen have been BFFs from the moment Gretchen showed up to her 10th birthday party… the only one who showed up… and they bonded over roller skating and a split lip. The friendship deepened with secrets, sleepovers, and coded conversations. Until one day, as teenagers, they took LSD with 2 other friends, and Gretchen disappeared into the water. When she was found, there was profound relief, but then… Gretchen starts acting weird. She says invisible hands are touching her, scratching at her. She stops caring about how she looks, stops bathing, starts becoming more withdrawn, and says mean things – some of which are true, but who tells the truth so plainly in high school? Abby is freaking out, because it seems as if nobody at this rich preppie school even cares, and nobody at Gretchen’s house is facing the truth either. It even takes Abby a while to figure out the true cause, and she only does after a traveling evangelical show passes by the school.
Her best friend is possessed. My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix is Abby’s story about what it really means to be a BFF.
This book was so good, I almost don’t even know where or how to convey my sheer enjoyment, but here goes.
Imagery: The novel painted pictures nobody wants to see, the stuff of night terrors to the tune of the Go-Gos. “Abby saw something pale and white squirming in the blackness of Margaret’s gullet, curling around her tonsils.” Sometimes the words just wanted you to see and feel the scene like this one – “The wind kicked over garbage cans and sent trash skittering down the streets, whipping fine sand through the parking lot, lashing its grains against exposed ankles.”
1980s setting: The front cover shows big hair and mullets. The inside cover looks like the inside of any yearbook. Their friendship started in 1982, and fast forwarded to the crazy of 1988, and here and there and all in between was my exact adolescence. The references are in abundance: Trapper Keepers, answering machines, Anthrax, stirrup pants (the horror!), Max Headroom (why?), Jazzercise, and the United Colors of Benetton (Again, why? And – did you know it still exists?).
High school drama a la John Hughes meets Carrie: Pimples and bad boyfriends, mixed with scandal and blood and bullying. Across eras, all teens care what their peers think and say, and this story is no different. Even when the answer was demonic and in their faces, they refused to see what was really happening, choosing to care about how it affected them. Abby is the poor girl in a rich school, and the rich get away with everything. Gretchen comes from money, and although she is not like that with Abby (until possession), her parents are exactly the stereotype. Their close friends are fair weather friends, easily turned. Everything you’ve ever loved about the brat pack, seems to be included in this book, with a bunch of vomit and blood for good measure.
The horror!: The horror came in all shapes and sizes – from the terror at the makeup hiding your zits being forcibly removed, to a Poltergeist 2 wormy thing crawling out of someone’s throat, I had to look away from the book several times to pull myself out of the story. Even the cover was completely creepy (check out the full cover below).
This was only the second book I’ve read from Grady Hendrix, but it looks like I will have to read his 2012 novels, Occupy Space and Satan Loves You as well. This novel is highly recommended to the max.
**Note about Quirk Books – I read and love everything Quirk puts out that they send us. Because I review about television and there’s a plethora of books sent to GoD for review, I only review books I enjoy. There’s just no time to read books that I don’t like. Quirk Books has never let me down, and I usually choose their books first when grabbing stuff from my editor.
A heartwarming story of friendship and demonic possession. The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act”¦ different. She’s moody. She’s irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she’s nearby. Abby’s investigation leads her to some startling discoveries””and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil? Like an unholy hybrid of Beaches and The Exorcist, My Best Friend’s Exorcism blends teen angst, adolescent drama, unspeakable horrors, and a mix of ’80s pop songs into a pulse-pounding supernatural thriller.