Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since 5th grade. While they are from opposite sides of the economy- Abby’s parents are dirt poor and Gretchen’s are loaded- a fateful E.T. skating birthday party brings the girls together. The two are inseparable; that is until a fateful night involving a tab of acid and the woods behind a rich friend’s house. Soon, Gretchen is feeling hands on her and hearing voices. She starts to refuse to bathe or change her clothes, and begins to visibly hurt herself. Terrified for her friend, Abby tries to uncover what’s happening to Gretchen but is repeatedly told her friend has a mental illness and needs to be left alone. The truth about Gretchen becomes eerily apparent to Abby after a series of behaviors that are entirely unlike her friend. Abby determines Gretchen is possessed, and she must find a way to save her, even as Abby’s social standing gets more and more ruined in the process.
Author Grady Hendrix has done it again. After his great work on Horrorstor, I was ready for the next book and he did not disappoint. The characters, as before, are well-written and believable. The imagery is often utterly terrifying, especially when you discover what has literally been eating one of their friends alive! My Best Friend’s Exorcism begins as more of an homage to the culture of the 1980’s, Aquanet hairstyles, music, and teenage misadventures, before it rapidly becomes a strikingly vivid horror novel. I found myself rushing to finish the book because I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism is careful to not get too holier than thou, while also encouraging the importance of having a friend watching your back. Do keep in mind that the book does get incredibly violent and involve cases of animal cruelty and some allegations of sexual abuse; if you’re highly sensitive to either, consider skipping this book.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix is now available from Quirk Books.