My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

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Abby and Gretchen have been best friends 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. And as the strange coincidences and bizarre behavior start to pile up, Abby realizes there’s only one possible explanation: Gretchen, her favorite person in the world, has a demon living inside her. And Abby is not about to let anyone or anything come between her and her best friend. With help from some unlikely allies, Abby embarks on a quest to save Gretchen. But is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?

I’d had this book on my TBR for more than a year, so when I got it as a present last month, I didn’t want to wait further. The edition was fantastic! Honestly, I’ve never seen an adult book featuring that much “extra” material. The novel looked like a proper yearbook! It’s one of those I know I’ll never give away…

In spite of the title, I wouldn’t say this is a horror novel. I’m almost never scared by books (or movies), but, for example, A Head Full Of Ghosts was way creepier than this one. I loved them both, though. They’re very different books despite focusing on exorcisms. And I don’t know why I love this topic so much, as I was obsessed with The Exorcist on FOX this past year, too!

Although the exorcism theme wasn’t exactly a “fun” topic, the book definitely had its hilarious moments and the beginning of the novel made me laugh several times, especially when Abby described her love for E.T and the way she was afraid her best friend Gretchen wouldn’t love the film as much as she did. It’s not a book that should be taken seriously. It’s a book that you should read if you want to have fun and disconnect from reality for a while.

I had an amazing time reading My Best Friend’s Exorcism. I felt like I was watching a teen flick from the 80s (and I’m an absolute fan of that era) and I really wanted to be a part of the story -minus the possession, thank you very much-. There were tons of references and pop culture mentions and I couldn’t help but think this would make a great cult classic. Like Cabin in the woods (2012) and The Final Girls (2015). And maybe Detention (2010).

The only detail that prevents me from adding this book to the list of “favorite books ever” is that I didn’t exactly love the main characters. Everything else was perfect, but I didn’t love Abby and Gretchen as much as I should’ve, I guess. I thought I would because of the first chapters, but their teenage version wasn’t as fun as their childhood one, in my opinion.

Anyway, the good stuff. What I loved the most about this novel was the fact that it focused on the importance of friendship. Everything seems to revolve around romantic love these days, so it felt fresh and unique. Basically, the moral of the story is that the power of friendship -and 80s references- can save you from literally anything, even a demonic possession. It was ridiculous and endearing, and I adored every page. I even shed a few years while reading the last chapter.

I got emotional reading a book called My Best Friend’s Exorcism. Yep, that’s me.

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Quirk Books, 2016

The Deviants (CJ Skuse)

518q1tsobdlGrowing up in the sleepy English seaside town of Brynston, the fearless five – Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane – were always inseparable. Living up to their nickname, they were the adventurous, rowdy kids who lived for ghost stories and exploring the nearby islands off the coast. But when Max’s beloved older sister Jessica is killed, the friendship seems to die with her. Now years later, only Max and Ella are in touch; still best friends and a couple since they were thirteen. Their lives are so intertwined Max’s dad even sponsors Ella’s training for the Commonwealth Games. But Ella is hiding things. Like why she hates going to Max’s house for Sunday dinner, and flinches whenever his family are near. Or the real reason she’s afraid to take their relationship to the next level. When underdog Corey is bullied, the fearless five are brought back together again, teaming up to wreak havoc and revenge on those who have wronged them. But when the secrets they are keeping can no longer be kept quiet, will their fearlessness be enough to save them from themselves?

Before The Deviants, I hadn’t read a YA book in a very looooong time. To be honest, I wasn’t so sure about diving into this, especially since I didn’t like my last at all. However, The Deviants looked awesome and the cover was so stunning that I requested it on a whim, hoping it wouldn’t disappoint. Fortunately, it didn’t: it was pretty amazing.

This is the story of the famous five: Ella, Max, Fallon, Corey and Zane. They used to be inseparable, but something happened and they pretty much lost all contact with each other. Except for Ella and Max, who have been dating for many years, although their relationship isn’t as good as it seems. But why? And then Corey’s cat suddenly disappears and Ella and Max decide to help him, reuniting with Fallon again. And the summer of revenge begins…

This is one of those novels where the less you know about it, the better, and that’s why I won’t give more details about the plot. I wasn’t sure at first (okay, so what this is even about?) but The Deviants simply got better and better with every page. I especially love when that happens, because the final feeling is always much more gratifying than when a book starts off really well but quickly goes downhill.

After a slow and fairly weird start, the middle of the book was incredibly thrilling and engaging and the final part simply had me on the verge of tears. I loved how even though the theme was dark and dramatic, the novel still managed to present a beautiful ending. One of the most powerful ones I’ve read in quite some time.

Chapters were short but poignant and I particularly liked how the author finished them with a question. I was confused at first, but it all got answered at the end. I found this an extremely satisfying read, a book where all genres were perfectly mixed: mystery, revenge coming of age, romance, friendship…

The Deviants somehow reminded me of We Were Liars, but in my humble opinion, this one is far better. I saw the twist coming in that one and found the writing a bit too flowery for my taste. On the other hand, The Deviants was the perfect YA book, deep and meaningful, entertaining and emotional at the same time. I still prefer reading adult fiction, but I certainly hope my next YA is as good as this one.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Mira Ink,2016

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I received a copy of this e-book in exchange for an honest review.