My Best Friend’s Exorcism is the second book I’ve read from Grady Hendrix. I first heard about this author when We Sold Our Souls was released last year. And I loved it. About a year or two ago I asked book Twitter to give me recs of books with music in them. I don’t remember who but someone brought My Best Friend’s Exorcism to my attention. And then it got recommended to me for a few more times. I decided it was time to give in and jump on the book. I had high hopes and I wasn’t disappointed.
I’ve put this title on my Armed with a Bingo card under the ‘A book that a friend recommends‘ square.
|Series: –||Genre: horror|
|Date of Publishing: May 17th 2016||Publisher: Quirk Books|
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?
“She could decide how she was going to be. She had a choice. Life could be an endless series of joyless chores, or she could get totally pumped and make it fun. There were bad things, and there were good things, but she got to choose which things to focus on.”
First off, there is an official soundtrack with all the songs mentioned in the book, which can be found on Spotify. This means I have two option: go with the easy route and pick a song from this list (which would be fine if I didn’t know only 1 song…) or go and pick something else. Ironically, I decided to pick a song which I didn’t know previously and it’s not on the playlist. What can I say, I like being difficult *shrug* Runnin’ With the Devil from Van Halen is a bit earlier than our time frame (the album on which this song is was released in 1978) but I think it fits to the story well.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism, as the title probably tells you, at its core is a story of friendship. Abby and Gretchen are friends since they were 10. They do everything together. They know each other the best. They are probably more sisters than friends. So when things take a horrible turn it’s time to test their bond – will it be strong enough or the horror will break it for good?
Personally I liked how the first 20% or so of the book shows us how Abby and Gretchen grows up, how their friendship gets stronger and stronger, how their dynamic works. By the time we get to the heart of the plot, we already have an understanding about them.
The main events take place in the summer of 1988 (which is the best year ever, I dare you to fight me on that). This era is about music, about change and about satanism. Abby and Gretchen live in a small town and though they both go to the elite Academy, their life couldn’t be any different – while Gretchen’s parents have money and are strict and religious, Abby’s parents can hardly pay the bills and hardly care about their daughter as long as she stays out of trouble and has good grades.
So, to no one’s surprise the only one who remains on Gretchen’s side when all the shit goes down is Abby, and even then she has a hard time. Abby is a great heroin – she is relentless, she has her flaws and she is loyal to a fault. She stops at nothing, even if that means she has to bear consequences she wouldn’t have to. Or that she has to stand against the world
My favourite thing about My Best Friend’s Exorcism is that perfectly gives back the 80s. Well, how I imagine the 80s anyway. Hendrix is good at creating this atmosphere of reality laced with the creepy supernatural. Which still feels way too goddamn real. There are a handful of really creepy scenes there which made me regret my decisions as I happened to read them at either right before going to sleep or while I was eating my dinner. So. Typical.
The other thing I loved – duh – was that the book was full of music references. The girls lives were surrounded, even highlighted by it. Which was well expressed in the chapter titles, doubling as actual song titles. Hendrix had a similar approach in We Sold Our Souls too, and I loved it there too.
Overall, My Best Friend’s Exorcism is a highly entertaining and fast read. Sure, it has some teen drama as almost all characters are teens so that’s kinda expected, but that doesn’t mean adult readers wouldn’t enjoy the hell out of it. My Best Friend’s Exorcism ultimately makes one think about the nature of real friendship. Something all of us need some lessons about.