On reading: My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Title: My Best Friend’s Exorcism

Author: Grady Hendrix

From the back: An unholy hybrid of Beaches and The Exorcist that blends teen angst, adolescent drama, unspeakable horrors, and a mix of ’80s pop songs into a pulse-pounding supernatural thriller 

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? 

The gist: Would you like your horror laced with a dose of ’80s nostalgia so strong it will make you break out in a perm and leg warmers? WELL I DO, and I didn’t even know it until I got eaten up by this book. 

Hendrix completely immerses you in the world of best friends growing up in the ’80s—music, vibes, language, outdated attitudes, it’s all there. Hendrix has a way of completely immersing you in the world of his booksHorrorstör with its flatpack-furniture-catalogue aesthetic, now My Best Friend’s Exorcism with its year book look and accompanying ’80s playlist. Reading it is like living there, being there, walking through moving images. 

And it’s not just the setting that Hendrix nails, but the relationship between the girls. Inwardly I shuddered as Hendrix recounted how the friendships built, developed, broke up. So many times I found myself smiling and nodding as Hendrix struck chords that pulled at childhood memories. Memories from when I was young, the passing of time making them almost feel like they belong to someone else. Sometimes they were good memories, sometimes bad, that’s the nature of growing up. For clarification purposes, please note that I do not recall ever experiencing an exorcism, or being exorcised.  Thankfully.

And not only is the book a brilliant, smart ode to the ’80s, a tender coming-of-age story drenched in horror, but it’s also got brilliant moments of comedy that will make you laugh out loud. 

My Best Friend’s Exorcism absolutely cemented Hendrix up there for me as one of my favourite authors, and his latest book The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is one I just can’t wait to get my hands on. 

Favourite line: “Corn dogs,” the exorcist said, “are all the proof I need that there is a God.”

Read if: You’ve a hankering for thoughtful, coming-of-age horror with that authentic ’80s vibe.

Read with: The classic ’80s playlist blasting out loud, whilst wearing your neon leg warmers. Obviously just like any other day then. 

Get it: My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

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