My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
Published by Quirk Books on May 17, 2016
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?
cw: sexual assault, parental abuse
I was anticipating this read a lot and it really let me down. Let me be clear, I wasn’t expecting it to be my new all-time favorite book, but I thought it would be a really enjoyable read. It started out well, I liked seeing the friendship between Abby and Gretchen develop. I found all the character dynamics interesting. For the first 25% or so, I was really into the story and got through it relatively quickly.
From there, it kind of devolved for me. Part of it was the frustration of all these bad things happening. EVERYTHING kept going wrong and it was painful to read through. But I also just didn’t find it interesting. I wasn’t scared at any point, if anything I was just grossed out. There are a lot of graphic depictions of gnarly stuff, and things coming out of mouths.
I’m also just suuuper over the catty teenage girl trope, which is what this entire book is about. Gretchen is mean and catty because she’s possessed, all of the other girls are mean and catty because they’re girls. It’s tiresome and annoying and I’m really over seeing girls depicted like this and talked about like this. Also also, there is a lot of casual homophobia, which I felt like didn’t have a place in the book. Besides some comments the girls make, Gretchen and Abby have this “no homo” thing that drives me out of my mind.
Anyway, overall it was just kind of meh to me. It wasn’t bad, it just pushed the wrong buttons for me. If you really, really want to read it, I think you should! But if you were on the fence about it, maybe lean the other way. It really depends on what you’re looking for in a story.