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Home > My Best Friend’s Exorcism (2016): A Novel Review

My Best Friend’s Exorcism (2016): A Novel Review

Best Friend

Friendship Really is Magic

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix tells the story of two high school seniors, best friends Abby and Gretchen in 1988. I really enjoyed this book. Grady Hendrix has a fun writing style, excels at worldbuilding, and writes interesting and relatable characters.

There are a lot of fun 80s references which help give the story character. With the title being what it is, it is clear that an exorcism will happen at some point to someone yet this is also a coming of age story. Gretchen and Abby are a compelling duo who you can easily root for and see your own friendships in them. They have been friends since fourth grade and it really shows. Their conversations, friendship, and struggles are true of high school seniors. 

The exorcism portion and demonic entity lore in this story feel realized and fleshed out. I loved how certain possession tropes were given a fun twist throughout My Best Friend’s Exorcism. I also liked how the exorcism is a crucial part of the story and built up to well. It does not feel lazily placed at all and makes for a great climax. The subsequent fallout is just as well done as the build up to the moment. Seeing the characters slowly start to realize what is going on, watching as the character tries to save her friend, and the friend’s descent into full possession and trying to fight back make for a fun read. 

Best Friend

This story feels so real that it makes you want to scream at all the people who do not believe the girls and help with the exorcism. The adults are all infuriating throughout the story. Again, this is a testament to great writing. We have to hate the adults to root for the girls even more.

I also appreciate how the teenage girls are written to be so smart, especially the one who has to help her possessed friend. The characterization is great, with each main character having a distinct personality and dynamic with each other. The things that they all go through make a lot of sense and always feel in character. 

As always, Hendrix touches on extremely relatable themes and ideas with ever relevant commentary. We all have friends and best friends and this really is a beautiful and pure story about friendship and bonds. The female friendships and high school drama are written from a fully realized perspective. My Best Friend’s Exorcism also covers young teen/adult female topics such as not being listened to and diet culture in a respectful way while bringing attention to these subjects.

Something that really stood out to me was the ending. Hendrix’s endings never fail to wrap up everything quite nicely and be satisfying, but this conclusion is much more extreme on an emotional level. 

Interestingly, Abby and Gretchen’s story takes place in the same universe and neighborhood as The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, just at a different time. 

Overall, this is a very heartwarming and enjoyable coming of age throwback story with a possession and exorcism in the background. There are great, relatable characters and the writing is top notch. Check up on your best friend; we can never talk to them enough.

Best Friend

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Molly Wilson