My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix Book Review Read it later

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Contributor Lindsey S.

I stumbled upon My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrx in 2018, when I was just getting into audiobooks. In fact, it may have been one of the first I ever listened to. As someone who doesn’t scare easily, it gave me goosebumps and immediately became a book I recommend whenever someone is looking for a spooky read. Recently, it’s gained popularity on Bookstagram and it makes me so happy to see, because it truly is a magnificently eerie story.


It’s 1988. Denim jackets are all the rage, Phil Collins is on every mixtape, and the hair is big. Best friends Abby and Gretchen are entering their sophomore year of high school and are ready to spread their wings. Along with their other friends, Glee and Margaret, the foursome hunker down at Glee’s family lake house for a girl’s night, complete with some weak acid. 

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Gretchen decides to go for a late-night skinny dip, but she never emerges. After hours of searching, her friends find her. Gretchen is terrified, visibly shaken by something, but she won’t tell Abby what happened.

As the days pass, Gretchen changes. Her once flawless skin is covered in acne. She has bags under her eyes and knots in her hair. She’s wearing the same clothes all week and not even Calvin Klein’s Obsession perfume can mask the odor. Abby brings her concerns about Gretchen to a number of adults and her friends, and they all turn it around on Abby. Eventually, Abby is ostracized by Glee and Margaret, and later Gretchen herself. 

While everyone else chalks Gretchen’s changes up to a bad acid trip, Abby is the only one who thinks something deeper is wrong. Gretchen is paranoid. She claims someone is always touching her, whispering to her, watching her…

After a series of harrowing events that throw Gretchen’s family into a tailspin and truly tests the bonds of her friendship with Abby, Gretchen returns to school looking like a better version of herself. While her exterior is flawless, who she’s become is uglier than when she looked the part. 

Abby seeks help from the spiritually and physically strong Christian Lemon, who claims he can see a demon on Gretchen’s back. The two come up with a plan to exercise this evil entity and save Gretchen’s soul before it’s too late. Despite all of this, including the cruel tricks Evil Gretchen plays on Abby, she never gives up on trying to save Gretchen. 

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Is something else going on with Gretchen, or is she truly possessed? And if it’s the latter, how far will Abby go to save her best friend? 

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Genre: Fiction/Thriller

Abby and Gretchen’s friendship is tested to the extreme when Gretchen gets possessed. With the help of an exorcist, Abby fights to save her best friend’s soul before it’s too late. 

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Set against the backdrop of the Satanic Panic movement, My Best Friend’s Exorcism reads like an 80s horror movie. Hendrix does a great job of cramming the book full of 80s pop references that, even if you didn’t live in that decade, you feel like you remember it. 

Contributor Lindsey with My Best Friend's Exorcism
Contributor Lindsey with My Best Friend’s Exorcism!

The first time I listened to this book, my review on Goodreads simply said, “This book is, at its heart, a testament to true friendship” and that ultimately sums it up. Yes, it’s a solid scary read. The person Gretchen becomes, and the malevolence behind it, is terrifying. The narrator for the audiobook does a great job bringing the evilness to life. But woven within the dark and twisted moments is a beautiful reminder of how important it is to fight for your loved ones. Whether it’s an unhealthy relationship with people or food, or it’s reminding them how great they are when they question that. 

I could go on for hours about Hendrix’s ability to craft loveable underdogs and genuinely good characters. Even when Gretchen was at her worst, there’s still bits of her humanity that shine through, and those moments make the reader want to root for her. 

If you love pop culture references, gory visuals, and a unique take on possession all wrapped up in a soul-sister like friendship, then this is the book for you. 

Do you have a favorite thriller that you recommend? Share it with us in the comments! 

And check out some other books by Grady Hendrix. He’s become one of my auto-read authors since 2018. 

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Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Genre: Paranormal Thriller

It is said that the Orsk furniture store is haunted. Every morning displays are destroyed, but there’s nothing on the security cameras. To solve the mystery, three employees decide to stay in the store overnight. What begins as a silly covert operation soon turns into something more deadly. 

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The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Genre: Vampire Mystery

A handsome new stranger has moved into the neighborhood. Patricia Campbell and her true-crime obsessed book club are convinced he’s a vampire. In order to save their suburban community, the women start their own investigation and find themselves in a situation no one expected. 

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The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

Genre: Contemporary Thriller

Lynnette Tarkington survived a brutal massacre two decades ago. For the last 10 years, she’s met with other “final girls”–women who were the last ones alive after traumatic, murderous events. When one of the girls goes missing, Lynette is convinced someone knows about their group and is out to finish what was started. 

Read more reviews on our book index here

Buy this Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-million | Audible

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