Friday, February 17, 2017

My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Meet Abby and Gretchen. It’s 1988; they’re 16 and have been best friends since the fourth grade. They both attend Charleston, South Carolina’s prestigious Albemarle Academy.  Gretchen comes from a wealthy if distant family and Abby…does not.  Abby and Gretchen have a great friendship.  Closer than sisters, they’re always together no matter what their parents think.  One evening during an attempt to take acid, Gretchen, Abby and a two other friends run around a country estate waiting for the drug to kick in.  Gretchen gets the great idea to go skinny-dipping and before the others can stop her, she’s ripped off her clothes and dashed through the woods towards the river.  The others realize what Gretchen hasn’t: the tide is out, affecting the depth of this part of the river.  Abby races through the woods trying to find her friend.  She finally finds Gretchen cold and muddy a few hours later.   While it seems like crisis has been averted, their problems are just beginning.

It begins with Gretchen not being able to sleep.  Her parents say they hear weird sounds coming from her room at all hours.  She loses weight.  She won’t shower.  She rarely talks to any of her friends and when she does, manages to say or do something outrageously nasty.  Abby tried to appeal to Gretchen’s parents but gets a typical “We know our daughter.  She’s fine.”  This is genteel, southern code for “We don’t talk about our problems out loud and we certainly wouldn’t talk about them with YOU.”  In a desperate plea, Abby tells Gretchen’s mother the whole story of what happened the night Gretchen started to act strange.  Before she knows it, she’s been accused of dealing drugs and is forbidden to see her best friend.  Everyone else has ditched Gretchen.  Her parents and teachers are in denial.  How can she help her friend if she’s not even allowed to talk to her at school? 

One morning nearly a month after the incident, Gretchen arrives at school completely changed.  Not only has she showered, but she’s gotten a drastic new haircut, new clothes and seems to be… almost glowing.  Everyone wants to be seen with Gretchen, wants to date her, or wants to be her friend.  Sinister things keep happening to Abby and Gretchen’s circle of friends.  When a voice that isn’t Gretchen’s speaks from her best friend’s mouth Abby finally knows the truth: Gretchen’s been possessed.  Is Abby and Gretchen’s friendship stronger than the devil himself? 

Readers who enjoyed Hendrix’s first book, Horrorstör, will appreciate the author’s second novel. Adult and teen horror enthusiasts alike will find plenty to entertain while grossing themselves out.  Bonus: the book is set up like a high school year book which makes for some entertaining finds before and after you finish the novel. Check out MyBest Friend’s Exorcism from the library today!