“The year is 1988. 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?” — Summary from Amazon.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book at first, whether it would end up being sort of campy like a B horror movie. I was pleasantly surprised! It ended up having a very serious and intimate feel to it, and some bits were genuinely disturbing (spoiler? i.e. the tapeworm bit). Hendrix really knows how to make your skin crawl.
The story starts up fairly sweet, building the friendship between Abby and Gretchen from the moment they met up to the night it all went wrong. It makes you feel protective of them which makes the nightmare they find themselves in that much more distressing for you as well because you just want them to go back to being happy and carefree. But it gets so much worse before it gets better.
I actually listened to the audiobook read by Emily Woo Zeller, and that made it arguably more distressing. Zeller put so much emotion into the reading, and even went full in on the gross, disturbing scenes. Some of the noises she made really brought out the chills, and the distress she put into nearly every line of Gretchen’s added to the heartbreak.
I would recommend this book, but I’d also definitely warn about the body gore aspects if you have a sensitive stomach to things like that. Overall though, the story was insanely gripping and full of suspense. There are several more of Hendrix’s writings that I am interested in reading, even more so after finishing this!