Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
Abby and Gretchen have been BFFs since fifth grade, when they bonded over a shared love of E.T., roller-skating parties, and scratch-and-sniff stickers. But when they arrive at high school, things change. Gretchen begins to act...different.<br> <br> And as the strange coincidences and bizarre occurrences begin to pile up, Abby realizes there is only one possible explanation- Her best friend Gretchen, her favorite person in the world, has a demon living inside her. And Abby is not going to let anyone or anything come between her and her best friend.<br> <br> With help from some unlikely allies, Abby embarks on a quest to save Gretchen. But is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?
1988. Charleston, South Carolina. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act--different. She's moody. She's irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she's nearby. Abby's investigation leads her to some startling discoveries--and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?
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Excerpt provided by Syndetics
<anon I1="BLANK" I2="BLANK">The exorcist is dead. Abby sits in her office and stares at the email, then clicks the blue link. It takes her to the homepage of the paper she still thinks of as the News and Courier, even though it changed its name fifteen years ago. There's the exorcist floating in the middle of her screen, balding and with a ponytail, smiling at the camera in a blurry headshot the size of a postage stamp. Abby's jaw aches and her throat gets tight. She doesn't realize she's stopped breathing. The exorcist was driving some lumber up to Lakewood and stopped on I-95 to help a tourist change his tire. He was tightening the lug nuts when a Dodge Caravan swerved onto the shoulder and hit him full-on. He died before the ambulance arrived. The woman driving the minivan had three different painkillers in her system--four if you included Bud Light. She was charged with driving under the influence. "Highways or dieways," Abby thinks. "The choice is yours." It pops into her head, a catchphrase she doesn't even remember she remembered, but in that instant she doesn't know how she ever forgot. Those highway safety billboards covered South Carolina when she was in high school; and in that instant, her office, the conference call she has at eleven, her apartment, her mortgage, her divorce, her daughter--none of it matters. It's twenty years ago and she's bombing over the old bridge in a crapped-out Volkswagen Rabbit, windows down, radio blasting UB40, the air sweet and salty in her face. She turns her head to the right and sees Gretchen riding shotgun, the wind tossing her blond hair, shoes off, sitting Indian style on the seat, and they're singing along to the radio at the top of their tuneless lungs. It's April 1988 and the world belongs to them. For Abby, "friend" is a word whose sharp corners have been worn smooth by overuse. "I'm friends with the guys in IT," she might say, or "I'm meeting some friends after work." But she remembers when the word "friend" could draw blood. She and Gretchen spent hours ranking their friendships, trying to determine who was a best friend and who was an everyday friend, debating whether anyone could have two best friends at the same time, writing each other's names over and over in purple ink, buzzed on the dopamine high of belonging to someone else, having a total stranger choose you, someone who wanted to know you, another person who cared that you were alive. She and Gretchen were best friends, and then came that fall. And they fell. And the exorcist saved her life. Abby still remembers high school, but she remembers it as images, not events. She remembers effects, but she's gotten fuzzy on the causes. Now it's all coming back in an unstoppable flood. The sound of screaming on the Lawn. The owls. The stench in Margaret's room. Good Dog Max. The terrible thing that happened to Glee. But most of all, she remembers what happened to Gretchen and how everything got so fucked up back in 1988, the year her best friend was possessed by the devil. Excerpted from My Best Friend's Exorcism: A Novel by Grady Hendrix All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.</anon>
Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
In 1982, Abby met Gretchen at her bomb of a birthday party, and they have been best friends ever since. Now high school sophomores, they spend their time as most 16-year-olds do in Charleston, SC: listening to music and sneaking smokes and Bud Lite. After a night of lame acid and skinny-dipping turns horrible, Gretchen begins to act differently-very differently. Mood swings may be common for teenage girls, but Abby fears Gretchen's condition is much more than that. Abby can't get anyone to believe that there is anything wrong with Gretchen, so she digs into what could have altered her friend's personality. When the truth comes to light, it is greater than teen angst, peer pressure, or popularity-it is the work of the devil. VERDICT Hendrix (Horrorstör) brings his blend of dark humor and horror back in this perfect balance of teenage dread and supernatural thrills. Readers who lived through high school in the 1980s may dredge up old memories of big hair and stirrup pants, which will be frightening in itself. [Five-city tour; previewed in "Editors' Spring Picks," LJ 2/15/16.]-KC © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Teenagers in the 1980s had a lot to worry about. Would the button on their skin-tight Jordache jeans pop if they ate too many Cool Ranch Doritos at lunch? Was their Aqua Net really responsible for the growing hole in the ozone layer? And what about the proliferation of news reports that there were Satanic cults lurking around every corner just waiting to prey on innocent kids? Abby and Gretchen are high-school juniors living a fairly typical adolescence in South Carolina until the night they experiment with LSD and Gretchen disappears. When she stumbles home hours later, naked and filthy, she denies that anything bad has happened to her. Oh, but it's bad indeed Abby realizes her best friend has been possessed by a demon. Gretchen starts randomly bleeding and has strange flashbacks and fits. She refuses to change her clothes, preferring to douse herself with United Colors of Benetton perfume to mask the fact that she hasn't showered in weeks. Then, out of nowhere, she seems to recover. But the oddities simply go from physical to psychological she manipulates their circle of friends so that bad things multiply (including a particularly horrific scene involving a tapeworm), and no one but Abby recognizes what's happening. Hendrix nails the stagnant air of suburbia and gets right to the dark heart of dysfunction that lies beneath so many teenage-girl friendships. Readers who thought Heathers wasn't quite dark enough will find this humorous horror tale filled with spot-on '80s pop-culture references totally awesome.--Vnuk, Rebecca Copyright 2016 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
The wonder of friendship proves to be stronger than the power of Christ when an ancient demon possesses a teenage girl. Hendrix was outrageously inventive with his debut novel (Horrorstr, 2014) and continues his winning streak with a nostalgic (if blood-soaked) horror story to warm the hearts of Gen Xers. "The exorcist is dead," Hendrix writes in the very first line of the novel, as a middle-aged divorce named Abby Rivers reflects back on the friendship that defined her life. In flashbacks, Abby meets her best friend, Gretchen Lang, at her 10th birthday party in 1982, forever cementing their comradeship. The bulk of the novel is set in 1988, and it's an unabashed love letter to big hair, heavy metal, and all the pop-culture trappings of the era, complete with chapter titles ripped from songs all the way from "Don't You Forget About Me" to "And She Was." Things go sideways when Abby, Gretchen, and two friends venture off to a cabin in the woods (as happens) to experiment with LSD. After Gretchen disappears for a night, she returns a changed girl. Hendrix walks a precipitously fine line in his portrayal, leaving the story open to doubt whether Gretchen is really possessed or has simply fallen prey to the vanities and duplicities that high school sometimes inspires. He also ferociously captures the frustrations of adolescence as Abby seeks adult help in her plight and is relentlessly dismissed by her elders. She finally finds a hero in Brother Lemon, a member of a Christian boy band, the Lemon Brothers Faith and Fitness Show, who agrees to help her. When Abby's demon finally shows its true colors in the book's denouement, it's not only a spectacularly grotesque and profane depiction of exorcism, but counterintuitively a truly inspiring portrayal of the resilience of friendship. Certainly not for all readers, but anyone interested in seeing William Peter Blatty's infamous The Exorcist (1971) by way of Heathers shouldn't miss it. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.