My Best Friend's Exorcism - Grady Hendrix

Abby and Gretchen have been friends forever, they have a friendship others can only be envious of. One night, out in a cabin by the lake, something happens to Gretchen that cannot be explained and she became someone Abby doesn't recognise. Will Abby find out what happened? Or is Gretchen lost forever?

Well, I am definitely glad I picked this up! Another of my "I deserve a treat" books I bought before Christmas, this has been on my list for such a long time after seeing so many readers online love it. Hendrix seems to be a creator of wacky and weird novels with outstanding covers, this particular book has a cover that encapsulates the spooky 80s horror film posters of our past and sets the tone of the novel before you even read the first page.

Straight away I was enamoured with Gretchen and Abby's friendship, it felt born out of necessity and Hendrix creates a world for the reader where this is the most natural friendship in the world. Not only was their connection so powerful, individually they were very compelling characters. They harboured real teenage fears and wanted to protect each other from harm, but also they wanted to be slightly rebellious and make a name for themselves - a true depiction of teenage years we've grown past. Similarly, the cast of characters surrounding them felt realistic and well-rounded, making the entire illusion of reality from this novel as solid as a rock.

What I have come to realise is that Hendrix does creepy extremely well. This horror was a slow burn that gradually built up the fear and worries for Abby and the reader. Gretchen's downward spiral progressed at a steady rate that just creeped me out, her actions and obliviousness to her appearance made me extremely nervous, what was going to happen? What had already happened? When there was a sudden switch back to presentable and perfect Gretchen I felt like I had whiplash but I was even more creeped out by this! I was mentally telling Abby to get as far away as possible from Gretchen, Hendrix made her feel like such a real character that reading her interactions made my skin crawl.

We've all seen 'The Exorcism' yes? Well, this was even weirder than that. It felt a little forced in the book, I mean, I know that is what the whole book is about, it is called 'My Best Friend's Exorcism' and all but when we got to it there just seemed to be an overwhelming level of "this could have been done differently". Eventually, when the exorcist leaves Abby alone with Gretchen things start to turn around for me, I fell back in love with their friendship and the powerful bond Hendrix had created for them. Underneath all of the bad-mouthing and arguments they had had, Hendrix keeps those strings attached and plays on each one bringing the reader back to root for a possessed Gretchen's recovery.

Despite my unhappiness with the titular scene, I actually really loved this. It was gritty, real, heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time. I wanted nothing more than to re-read it immediately.

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