This was one of those books that I noticed on the shelf and pretty much decided to buy before I even picked it up. The cover is designed like a video rental jacket from the 80’s, front to back, right down to the “Be Kind, Rewind” sticker, and it’s like I had no choice. I still remember in fourth grade when the one liquor store in town started renting VCRs and movies on VHS, and just looking at this book brought back the sights and sounds and smells of that place.
The book itself ticked pretty much all of the 80’s nostalgia boxes for me. Chapters named with 80’s pop songs. Two girls crying over the ending of E.T. Halley’s Comet. Birthday party at the roller rink. And that damned Geraldo special on satan worshippers. I didn’t sleep for three months after I watched that. 14-year-old me was an idiot.
As a horror story, it never quite landed for me. There were some creepy moments, including one in the dark out in the woods that totally played on my own (still-existing) fear of the dark, but after that, it steered more towards a high school version of Witches of Eastwick. That’s a-ok with me.
It’s really just a very 80’s story of BFFs. One girl is rich, the other poor and on scholarship to their snooty private school. They hang around with other rich girls, experimenting with drugs in spite of Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign. There’s drama and a falling out and mean-girl vindictiveness.
The actual exorcism, led by a young, muscled Jesus freak that the main character met after he starred in a bonkers but completely believable school assembly, was a bit of a letdown, too drawn out and repetitive to achieve full impact. But then the ending was satisfying enough that I can overlook the rest.
I don’t know how appealing this book would be to someone who doesn’t remember the 80’s, but for this Gen-Xer, it was money well-spent.