Book Review: My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Book: My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix – published by Quirk Books, audible edition, 10 hours 11 minutes.

Synopsis: 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?

My thoughts: I want to start out by saying I absolutely adored the 80s setting of the book. Although I was (for the most part) too young to experience the 80s in all it’s glory, I still feel a lot of nostalgia for the era and it was wonderful to read a book set in this time. It was also refreshing to read a book about teenagers living in that 80s, because of the technology available to them. I mean, Abby had a MICKY MOUSE PHONE.

To be honest I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into this book, I’d seen some positive star ratings on Goodreads but hadn’t read any of the reviews for fear of spoilers. This was a great book. I felt like it was well paced, the character development was really good, the setting was a lot of fun, and the themes were dealt with in a pretty decent way considering it was set in high school. I mean, demonic possession of a teenage girl? How would you even be able to tell most of the time AMIRITE? He he he. Parts of the story were genuinely creepy (the scene where Gretchen is scribbling something on a piece of paper will stick in my mind for a long time), and I have to admit at times in the book I even teared up a little bit.

I was always really excited to step into the world when I hopped in my car for the long drive home from work every evening (which is when I usually listen to audio books). On some evenings I even sat in the car for a little while longer when I got home just so I could hear what happened next. I also want to mention the cover art for this book, which I think is so perfect for the era the story was set in, and the high school setting. 80s yearbook perfection. Although I read this in the dead of winter here in Australia I think this would make for an awesome summer read, so definitely put this on your to-read list for the upcoming season if you haven’t already done so.

Rating: 8/10

Book Review: Perfect Days by Raphael Montes

Book: Perfect Days by Raphael Montes – published by Penguin Press, hardcover edition, 272 pages.

Synopsis: Teo Avelar is a loner. He lives with his paraplegic mother and her dog in Rio de Janeiro, he doesn’t have many friends, and the only time he feels honest human emotion is in the presence of his medical school cadaver—that is, until he meets Clarice.

She’s almost his exact opposite: exotic, spontaneous, unafraid to speak her mind. An aspiring screenwriter, she’s working on a screenplay called Perfect Days about three friends who go on a road trip across Brazil in search of romance. Teo is obsessed.

He begins to stalk her, first following her to her university, then to her home, and when she ultimately rejects him, he kidnaps her and they embark upon their very own twisted odyssey across Brazil, tracing the same route outlined in her screenplay.

Through it all, Teo is certain that time is all he needs to prove to Clarice that they are made for each other, that time is all he needs to make her fall in love with him. But as the journey progresses, he digs himself deeper and deeper into a pit that he can’t get out of, stopping at nothing to ensure that no one gets in the way of their life together.

My thoughts: This book was creepy in all the right ways. I picked it up on the recommendation of Kirstie from Melbourne On My Mind (one of my favourite booktubers), and was not disappointed. I managed to read it over the span of a couple of days (during yet another failed readathon attempt *sad trumpet*), and was completely captivated by the story the entire time.

I love stories like this, psychopath obsession/kidnap scenarios are my jam and I don’t care how much of a creep that makes me. I’ve heard people compare this book to You by Caroline Kepnes, but to me they were very different. The overall vibe of this book seemed a lot darker and more chilling to me, although Teo and Joe could both easily be classified as narcissistic psychopaths.

I have to admit, some points of the story made me feel physically ill but I don’t want to go into too much detail because #spoilers. I enjoyed the twists and turns along the way, and I honestly had no idea how the story would end. This is definitely worth picking up if you like books about obsession, stalking, kidnap, or just want something a bit creepy to curl up with on a cold winter’s night.

Rating: 8/10

Current Library Loans

I try to make an effort to visit my local library once every one or two weeks. Because I reserve most of my books online I don’t spend that much time browsing the aisles, but it does mean I always have a book on loan that I know I definitely want to read. Now lets see if I can find some free time to read in between all the time I’ve been spending watching the Olympics lately! Here are the books I currently have on loan from my local library:

Celeste by V.C. Andrews
Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon
Secret Brother by V.C. Andrews
Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little
The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly
The Special Ones by Em Bailey

Holiday Book Haul

The last thing I need in this world is more books. And yet… I just can’t seem to resist the lure of new books while I’m away on holiday. Despite being very close to being over the limit with my luggage on our way to Adelaide last month, I still managed to pick up these goodies:

Black by Fleur FerrisEbony Marshall is in her final year of high school. Five months, two weeks and four days . . . She can’t wait to leave the town where she’s known only as ‘Black’. Because of her name, of course. But for another reason, too. Everyone says Black Marshall is cursed. Three of her best friends have died in tragic accidents. After Oscar, the whispers started. Now she’s used to being on her own. It’s easier that way. But when her date for the formal ends up in intensive care, something in quiet little Dainsfield starts to stir. Old secrets are revealed and terrifying new dangers emerge. If only Black could put all the pieces together, she could work out who her real enemies are. Should she run for her life, or stay and fight?

The Hatching by Ezekiel BooneDeep in the jungle of Peru, a black, skittering mass devours an American tourist party whole. FBI agent Mike Rich investigates a fatal plane crash in Minneapolis and makes a gruesome discovery. Unusual seismic patterns register in a Indian earthquake lab, confounding the scientists there. The Chinese government “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. The first female president of the United States is summoned to an emergency briefing. And all of these events are connected. As panic begins to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at Melanie Guyer’s Washington laboratory. The unusual egg inside begins to crack. Something is spreading… The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. An virulent ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake. But this is only the beginning of our end…

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack ThorneIt was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.