Sometimes I literally pick a book based on it’s cover. I know that is something you shouldn’t do, but the title along with the cover intrigued me. It just screamed 80’s and I thought it would be kind of food to read an 80s inspired horror novel. Plus there was a ton of good reviews so I figured why not! Unfortunately, I was not expecting some of the very dark content that was in the book. Seriously, the book should come with a trigger warning! The majority of the book was interesting enough, but there was a large portion that dealt with sexual assault and rape. What bothered me the most was that it was used as a plot point and then disappeared just as quickly. So if that is a very triggering topic for you, I do not recommend this book. But there were some good parts as well, I just like to warn my readers about some topics that can be triggering.
So the book starts off with Abby having her 10th birthday party and no one but the new girl coming to the party. The party started off rocky, go better, and then ended in stitches. So it really set the stage for how Abby and Gretchen’s friendship would develop. The book then goes on to show their friendship as teenagers and that is the basis of the rest of the book. There were parts of this book that felt like they were pulled straight out of the mind of a teenage girl. I mean seriously, it was a little scary how on point some of these interactions were. The way these girls interacted with each other, their insecurities, the friendships and frenemies, they are just spot on! And let me just say there was a huge nostalgia factor as well. But when Gretchen disappears one night and is found the following day naked….things begin to take a darker turn. Yes, that is what you are looking for when reading a horror book. Things started to point to something taking over Gretchen. So things begin to spiral for both girls until one day when Gretchen comes back and looks different, and acts different (I think you can guess why… hint…look at the title). This is when things start getting kicked up to high gear.
Overall, did I enjoy the book? For the most part yes. Some parts were a pit cheesy…not to give anything away but a soda can becomes the catalyst for a miracle. And the love of the 80s definitely saves the day but I can’t tell you how, just trust me. I would have given this a solid 4 stars but I refuse to give a book that uses rape as a plot device. I understand why it was used in this book, but I really feel that this could have been accomplished in a variety of different ways. Rape (or the idea of rape) shouldn’t be used as a plot device, at least in my opinion. But if this isn’t triggering for you, it was still an interesting read. The way the author slowly reveals the truth about what is going on with Gretchen was incredibly interesting. How the evil inside Gretchen manifested was brilliant and made you feel a little frustrated at parts. Seriously how were the adults ignoring these signs? The author made sure to give you enough to keep you interested and knew when to turn push the limits with the reader. The way the exorcism occurred was…interesting. Parts of it were really dark, and other parts were a bit funny. If you want a horror story with a little nostalgia (and sexual assault isn’t a trigger) this is the book for you.