My Best Friend's Exorcism

A Novel
Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1,528 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A heartwarming story of friendship and demonic possession.

The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since the 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?

Like an unholy hybrid of Beaches and The Exorcist, My Best Friend's Exorcism blends teen angst, adolescent drama, unspeakable horrors, and a mix of '80s pop songs into a pulse-pounding supernatural thriller.

©2016 Grady Hendrix (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Part Horror, Part Comedy, Part 80's Thrill Ride

Where does My Best Friend's Exorcism rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I listened to this book in two sittings during a long road trip with my friend, and we kept busting out laughing or saying "ewww" or making faces throughout. It's one of the more entertaining stories I've listened to, both due to the way Grady Hendrix handles the topic (I mean, 80's "It" girls where one of them gets possessed? Come on!!) AND because the narration is more of a performance than someone reading to you.

What did you like best about this story?

My Best Friend's Exorcism strikes a good balance between horror, humor and friend-drama. It truly is "Beaches meets The Exorcist," as the synopsis states. Emily Woo Zeller puts a lot of emotion into the dialogue and as a narrator she has amazing comedic timing. I honestly think I would have missed some of the humor and playfulness in this book if I had bought the paper version (which I almost did)

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I don't think I could ever do that, but I did listen to it in two sittings, which is a first. It's just so entertaining.

Any additional comments?

If you prefer audiobooks with straight narration, I would pass on this one because the performance elements are so strong. But if you do pass and you were curious about this story, then DEFINITELY read the paper version!

Another reviewer mentioned that some lines of dialogue are very quiet and you have to turn up the volume to hear. We had to do the same thing but it wasn't a bother in the car. (This is an audio production thing, not the voice actor.) Turn it back down once the quiet part is over, because when the characters are loud, Emily is loud. As it should be :)

Lastly, I gave the story four stars instead of five for a couple reasons. It's written from Abby's point of view, and because of that we don't get to see things that happen to and around Gretchen (the girl who is possessed) unless Abby is present. There are some things I wanted to "see" firsthand in the story that either we never get to know, or we find out secondhand when Abby finds out. Also, I didn't always believe the way the different parents acted. But overall I loved it!

36 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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In My Top 5 Audiobooks

I picked this up as a Daily Deal and didn't have any expectations going in, but I loved it. I listened to it in two days--as close to non-stop as sleep and work permitted.

I'm not sure why, exactly--maybe because the friendship between Abbie and Gretchen felt so authentic? Hendrix writes fully-fleshed characters with real flaws and zits, gives you enough time to get to know them and like them, and then begins the crazy stuff, a lot of which is gross, and some of which is legitimately scary.

One thing that I found hard to take, though--there is an incident of animal cruelty. You'll see it coming. If that's something that bothers you as much as it does me, you can easily avoid it by fast-forwarding for a few minutes.

35 people found this helpful

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Terrified and loved it

I got this for the daily deal. It wound up being a great purchase.

Being a practicing Christian and having been raised in church, I was really skeptical about buying this as stories about demon possessions scare the hell out of me. However, I wanted to try something different; I was pleasantly surprised. The 80's it-girl narrative, a really authentic friendship, irresponsibly high school students and a paranormal threat more powerful than anything anyone could image all in one story? Seems like it could go really cliché but it wasn't. Abby and Gretchen's friendship was so really and sincere from start to finish. Their dedication to one and other brought tears to my eyes. The author made them so real and loveable. So when we see Gretchen start to spiral out of control, I felt like I was losing a close personal friend. The final chapters made me so emotionally conflicted. I was scared enough to want to rip out; but so invested I wanted to jump in and start praying with Abby. Which could only mean that it was a Great story.

Emily Woo Zeller had a great voice. Her delivery was perfect; she really committed to the emotional content. I really felt the high school 80's girl attitude wafting though my speakers

10 people found this helpful

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An Out of Nowhere HIT!

What did you love best about My Best Friend's Exorcism?

Because I believe that demonic possession can happen, I wasn't excited about getting to know the characters and seeing the downfall of Gretchen. My favorite part, however, would have to be the sick and twisted things that "Gretchen" does to her friends. I'm not going to spoil, so please read! They are incredibly SHOCKING!

What did you like best about this story?

Same question, but I'll put up something else. I loved how this experience (reading the book) was a combination of something horrific and the love and cherished friendship between Abbie and Gretchen. It made the possession part much less horrific.

What does Emily Woo Zeller bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Zeller is stellar! Okay, that was so cheesy and I'm sorry for putting it that way; however, I haven't listened to many books where a narrator has had so much emotion put into it. I would compare her to Emma Galvin (The Poison Princess series, Divergent, and more). They both have youthful voices full of emotion and expression. There's no way I would've had that just reading the book. (Oh, and you know when a female narrator does the voice of a male character and you're like "Really? That is the dumbest fake masculine voice I've ever heard!"--Absolutely none of that! She didn't try to hard to make her voice sound like it was something that it wasn't.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I don't ever do this. It is, however, one of the books where I was watching television, and thinking, 'I could be listening to My Best Friend's Exorcism!' At which point, I would stop watching TV and listen to the book.

Any additional comments?

I don't know anything about Grady Hendrix and I haven't read her other book(s). (At least, I believe the author is female). However, I suggest this book to anyone who 1. Grew up in the 80's (full of references to that decade of music, film, etc.) 2. Is a girl or boy with a best friend you'd do anything for 3. Loves a story that makes you sink to the depths of despair without falling into the pit of despair. 4. I don't know, just read it! It's worth it!

18 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Don't try to listen in car

Story was okay. More like a commercial for the bands and brands of the '80's with a story thrown in. My biggest issue was the narrator. Her voice so soft on parts I had to turn my speakers up to heat her, only to be blasted by her shrill scream seconds later.

42 people found this helpful

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Great story, annoying narrator.

This audiobook was recommended to me by a friend. I had no problems getting into the story; it definitely held my attention. The narrator, however, made listening difficult. Pauses after a sentence and "she/he said" made it sound like the later was a separate sentence. "I don't care what you think." Pause. "She said." It threw off the flow of the story and became increasingly annoying.

3 people found this helpful

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Just a bit young for me

This was for a younger audience than this Grandma. Well performed and good story though.

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent Re-Creation of the 80's

Despite being well past YA, I really enjoyed this book. Interesting and fully realized characters lent the story a reality beyond just the usual paranormal.
I am SO, SO thankful to the reviewer who warned about the sequence of the dog torture and killing. So happy I got to immediately fast forward without losing any of the story.
I especially loved the depiction of the 80's culture. Very fun.

3 people found this helpful

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Sweet and ridiculously fun

After listening to this fluffy, sweet, and totally fun book, I felt obligated to buy a copy for my best friend of 20 years and inscribe it "you're my one person." Funny and fast-paced and everything you want in a ya novel. Made me laugh and cry and have all the feels. I'm happy I stumbled across this writer. Can't wait to read more.

15 people found this helpful

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Thoroughly enjoyable!

A great build up of characters and events. This is a really well-structured story made even better with the perfect narrator.
As I was 14 in the mid-80's, the cultural idioms and details made the book even better.
Definitely worth my credit!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sasperella
  • 01-04-18

Loved it!

I was a little dubious to begin with, the first 20 minutes or so were quite slow but I gave it a chance and found it gripping! I love Hendrix's style of writing and am looking forward to reading more from him.
The narration was great too, with no voices sounding silly.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Matty-Bob Cash
  • 08-06-18

Awesome!

Better than I expected. As a migraine sufferer Audible has been a godsend and having such wonderful tellings as this keep my love for books going.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mariam
  • 01-12-18

Too long story

The exorcism story came only close to the end. There was no need to go through the childhood elongated story, it only made it boring. The performance got exaggerated sometimes.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-20-20

glad I didn't pay for it

I was so eager to read this book. I got the audio version for free so was so happy to finally read/hear this. Because of the reviews I was expecting a really scary read but was rather disappointed. I'm glad I had the audio version because if I had read this myself I think I would have put it down and struggled to come back to it at times. I was just wanting something scary to happen but it took a long time for something demonic to make a presence. Maybe I was expecting too much horror or whether the person reading it just wasn't creating as much of an atmosphere as I would have reading it myself.

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  • Jack
  • 12-29-19

it's a good book but more YA than I expected

this book is a lot of fun and I wish it had been around when I was 14 or so. which isn't a criticism, it just wasn't quite what I thought it would be like. if you want something fun and easy to listen to with a side of gross-out this will keep you entertained. narrator does a very strange voice for shouting though which ruined the mood at times.

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  • Drax17
  • 10-02-17

High School really can be hell !!

Great story. High school was hell for most of us & feel like yourself or some of your class mates were possessed at some point. This story brings that to life. Its starts with Gretchen being the only one who comes to Abby's birthday & how their friendship started & was built up to best friend status from there. I loved that it was set in the 80's away from todays technology age, where people actually had to see each other or call or write to communicate. Music references are littered throughout & mark the start of every chapter. It did seem a little slow to start, but it was setting for all the ground work for all the friend/relationships later to be torn apart. Once events started unfolding you knew where it was going & couldn't wait for it to happen & it didn't take long.

But one thing that did bug me & I don't know who to blame more, the writer or the narrator. I am not a writer by any means but I did read somewhere that a author should steer clear of using 'said'. This book is a great example of way. It was constant, Abby said, Gretchen said, he said, she said, said, said, said etc. It just became more pronounced every time & the narrator seemed to pause just for a second before she read SAID. It became very grating.

And after all the events unfold, its never answered how they came to be. Never once did Abby seem to ask how this all happened while trying to save her friends & herself. This was probably most let down of the story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-12-19

Awesome!

Entirely unexpected but in a completely good way. A bit gory at times. The artist reading the story was awesome too.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-17-19

An 80s flashback of horrors

If you like novels that capture a particular time and place well, then this book is for you. Like Hendrix's previous novel Horrorstor, which tapped cleverly into the experience of IKEA floor staff, My Best Friend's Exorcism uses a charming combination of wit and familiarity to draw us in. Set in the 80s Charleston, a southern town, Hendrix captures perfectly, the teenage girl experience of the time. Full of throwbacks to pop culture, the novel transcends genres to explore deeper human experiences, such as friendship and it's impact on our lives. The main characters are believable and complex, and surprisingly the villains are not just your expected 'demon', but also adult, human, and flawed. Through them, Hendrix considers the willful ignorance of adults, and the impact of their own selfish desires to maintain the status-quo.

Zeller as a narrator starts off sounding robotic. However, is a perfect complement to Hendrix's dialogue, bringing to life, the voice of teenage girls. In climatic moments, she pulls through, and in the end, she really hits her stride. Bringing tears to the eyes of listeners at the beauty and poignancy of friendship. Though light on the horror, Hendrix does produce an entertaining novel which ultimately is fulfilling.

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  • Rugrat
  • 07-31-17

GREAT BOOK

I loved this book from start to finish, I was born in the 80's and a big fan of old horror movies so this was perfect.
The narrator was great also I never got lost while listening as I do with some narrators.