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review 2016-08-07 20:01
MY BEST FRIEND'S EXORCISM Review
My Best Friend's Exorcism: A Novel - Grady Hendrix

Synopsis: 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.

 

*****

 

Folks, I loved this book. I really, really, really loved this book.

 

While reading My Best Friend's Exorcism I experienced something pretty rare — I felt myself being totally and completely enraptured in the story. If I'm lucky, that happens maybe once or twice a year . . . and it hadn't happened at all this year — until this book, that is. At times I got frustrated while reading simply because I couldn't take it in fast enough. I wanted more! more! more! and I wanted to gulp it all down at once. I finished this book in two sittings, and it would've been one if life had not briefly gotten in the way. Yeah, it's one of those books.

 

What makes this novel sing is the author's obvious affection for the decade in which the story is set — the eighties — and the careful attention to detail that brings the setting and characters to life. The story focuses on two high school sophomores, and what happens when one of them becomes possessed by a demon. The story works because Grady Hendrix takes time in building these characters up, letting their friendship grow — it feels authentic. These girls are people I knew in high school, and I'm sure any reader would recognize them as well. By the time the bad stuff starts to happen the reader will already feel a deep sense of connection to and affection for all the characters, making the build-up to the climax and the resolution all the more striking and pulse-quickening.

 

It must be noted that this story is not The Exorcist. Every time I hear of a book
about kids or young adults possessed by a demon or the devil, my mind immediately shifts to that '70s William Blatty horror novel . . . But this ain't that. Hendrix makes this tale all his own, and while it's not as frightening or scarring, I enjoyed it just as much . . . if not moreso. There are so many pale imitations of The Exorcist out there, but My Best Friend's Exorcism stands on its own, and manages to not only get out from under the shadow of that classic tale but avoid it completely — a remarkable feat in its own right. Major props to Hendrix for that.

 

In short: read this now. I haven't loved a book this much since Owen King's Double Feature, and that released in 2013. This is a can't-put-it-down thriller about possession, drenched in neon colors and '80s pop songs. It's one of the more vibrant and fresh stories I have had the privilege of experiencing in quite some time. Scary enough for the horror audience but not too frightening for the faint hearted, My Best Friend's Exorcism is a story almost anyone can enjoy. If you've finished watching Stranger Things and you are itching for more like it, this novel will be right up your alley. Five easy stars.

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text 2016-08-05 03:12
Reading progress update: I've read 109 out of 336 pages.
My Best Friend's Exorcism: A Novel - Grady Hendrix

I haven't been this enamored with a book in a very long time. I'm sad about having read a third of it already. 

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review 2016-06-06 02:27
Review: My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
My Best Friend's Exorcism: A Novel - Grady Hendrix

For the nostalgia factor, this is a really fun read.  The author takes us through the friendship between Gretchen and Abby, beginning at a fifth grade roller skating party through to the present day, all framing the pivotal events (see the title) in their high school years.  And he gets it right.  He gets adolescent girl friendships right.  

 

Hendrix nails the 1980's nostalgia, up to and including some of the absurdity.  And I could love this book for that, but then there is the horror factor.  That, for me, is where it gets squidgy.  It wasn't over the top, but there was still enough that (even though I could see some of the humor in it) I was not comfortable with those aspects.  Even more so than his prior novel, Horrorstor.  And perhaps that is part of what the horror genre is supposed to do.  Make you uncomfortable and mess with your mind a little bit.

 

So, fun and nostalgia for the win, drugs and demonic possession for the - uh, no!  not going there.  But then there is the use of 1980's song titles as perfectly matched chapter titles, and I'm back to nostalgia.  I guess, in reviewing this book, I have to go with the slightly generic feeling summary of "I enjoyed the writing, but not all of the subject matter."  I don't see myself rereading this one, demons just aren't my thing. 3/5 stars 

 

 

This review was previously posted on my WordPress blog at http://wp.me/p5Tcfi-19Q and refers to an Advance Readers Copy from Uncorrected Proofs received for free from the publisher.  I received this book through a SnapChat post, with no stated requirements for reviewing.  Here it is, however, with only my honest opinion. And honestly, I sometimes think that the things I don't like about a book in this genre are exactly what people who like horror probably enjoy about it.

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review 2016-04-23 03:17
NetGalley Review: My Best Friend's Exorcism
My Best Friend's Exorcism: A Novel - Grady Hendrix

I received this book via NetGalley to give an honest review.

Alright so when I saw the title and read the blurb I said to myself that has got to be a good book it is going to be filled with horror, the devil and so much more. Was this considered horror for me no, no, no. It was far from it i.m.o.

For me it was just okay would I read it again sure would I recommend it yes. You have Abby who one day invited everyone to her birthday party and the only one who showed up was Gretchen this is how they became best friends. They were so close that they were practically sisters, then one decision ends up changing everyone for not only Abby but for Gretchen and those around her. It seems that Gretchen is being possessed by something but what exactly and can she even be saved. 

Now when we get to at least two of the scenes that I just was like umm okay I just couldn't wrap my head around it. 

Now I did like how the characters were written, the friendship that Abby and Gretchen have seems real and genuine and I love that. See how they have each other's backs is awesome that is something females need to do. I just couldn't believe with Gretchen's family seeming to be religious (that is how I felt they were) didn't pick up on anything like the smell a demon gives off or the coldness in the house. Though maybe that is just me. 

This book does take place in the 80's setting so that was really cool especially since I am an 80's baby and didn't get to experience it just by reading the story it seemed like a neat decade to be a part of. 

If you would like a light read, something that you know is not believable, memories of the 80's, friendship that has to withstand something then pick this up. 

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review 2016-02-21 12:26
Love and Exorcism (Melanie Hansen)
Love and the Exorcism - Melanie Hansen

Meh. The set-up feels a lot like lust rather than actual chemistry; and I also didn't like that one of them was not exactly 100% sober. And the time jump didn't help its case. Completely forgettable.

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