“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!“
TITLE & AUTHOR: My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
PUBLISHED : May 17th 2016, by Quirk Books
MY RATING: 5/5
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?
Hello dear readers! My Best Friend’s Exorcism is a book I bought on a whim – based on several Bookstagram reviews, and I haven’t regretted it in the least! In fact – I might have found a new favorite author, but I’ll wait on that until I read another book by him.
The end-of-the-year summations are still a month away, and I’ve read some seriously good books this year, but My Best Friend’s Exorcism seems to have its spot reserved in my top 5 books of 2020, and a special spot in my heart forever. I loved this book so much I cried after finishing it because there wasn’t more to read. Now what’s it about, you may wonder?
Gretchen and Abby are true BFF’s. They’ve been best friends since they were 10, they phone each other every night at the same time, they gush and rant about boyfriends, shopping, school, the usual stuff teenage girls are all about. They have two other friends in their weird clique, Margaret and Glee, and they all attend a rich-kids highschool, with Abby being the only poor, scholarship kid in the gang. After a wild night of skinny-dipping and LSD (everyone does it!), Gretchen disappears in the nearby forest, and after her friends find her she’s inevitably changed.
Abby starts getting concerned and suspicious once Gretchen lowers her hygiene standards and starts vomiting weird stuff all around, plus she says she’s not sleeping and her body is full of scratches and bruises, but it takes Gretchen suddenly snapping out of it and totally rejecting her best friend, for Abby to realize that something is seriously wrong. That beautiful creature suddenly turning everyone’s head around is not her friend, because her friend isn’t evil and cold, something must be going on.
This book is seriously vibing eighties. When I say seriously, I mean the covers are made like a vintage VHS tape, the chapters are named by famous (And very relevant to the text) 80s songs, and that’s only on the outside. On the inside, Abby is a huge E.T. fan, her hair is exactly the size you’d expect, and her and Gretchen’s favorite song is We Got the Beat. This book is bursting with 80s pop culture references, but that’s to be expected considering the main characters are two teenage girls living in 1980’s.
I was a 90s kid, which means I grew up with 80s movies constantly being shown on TV, and yes, E.T. was one of my favorites, along with Goonies, Gremlins and Princess Bride. It was an era perfect for a kid, though there are definitely some significant differences between a US and a Serbian childhood in 80s/90s, but all in all, if you were born anywhere between 1975 and 1990, you will love this wild nostalgia ride. If not, you’ll enjoy it because of it’s damned originality.
Much like Buffy and Sabrina, in My Best Friend’s Exorcism teen girls are clashing with the supernatural in their own particular way. Once Abby realizes Gretchen is not who she was before, she’ll go beyond the edges of right and wrong and reason itself, and she’ll put herself in harm’s way for her BFF. Abby has such a strong personality that her dedication and persistence will become the last line of defense between the demonic powers and the other friends, who acted even worse toward her than the demon-possessed Gretchen. This book narrates the true power of friendship and its unbreakable bond that stands the test of high school, time and demonic forces.
Even though this book is about demonic possession, I wouldn’t say it’s a classic horror novel, but there are some truly gruesome scenes which you should know about if you’re squeamish. Foremost, I would say it’s a comedy/adventure with paranormal elements. Disregarding all genre, it’s a book about friendship and eighties, and if you loved the 80’s classic movies you’ll definitely love this amazing novel. Grady Hendrix is a really good writer, and, as he himself says, he poured his soul and being into this novel and you can feel it. He’s also too funny and frank for his own good, and I had a few hilarious reading days thanks to him, and now I can hardly wait to get my hands on one of his other, equally interesting books, probably the one about a haunted IKEA.