Sassy, No Spoilers: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires

book reviews, contemporary, funny, scary

Well, considering I’m back in the South (sorry, California), it seemed appropriate to write a review of Grady Hendrix’s The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. This book managed to creep onto the NYT best seller list, making me give a little cheer because books like don’t often creep onto that list. I know that was like, a whole year ago, but I’ve been busy, okay? Okay.

So let’s talk about vampires for a second.

see also: stacks of grad school reading

I grew up going to a teeny-weeny library in my teeny-weeny hometown in Alabama, where the selections were limited (to say the least). I was lucky to stumble upon Anne Rice’s vampire novels, so I gulped them up at a very early age (twelve? Thirteen?), so to me—that’s what vampires are. They do not sparkle. I repeat: vampires do not sparkle.

I used to be really into whatever vampire-driven novel I could get my gothic little hands on, stopping around the time True Blood ended its long run, for some reason. I moved on. Vampires moved on, their day in the sun kind of over (see what I did there?).

And then What We Do in the Shadows brought it all back around for me, reminding me how much I love a well-told vampire story (that is the funniest show I’ve ever seen, and the vampires remind me a lot of Rice’s vampires, but with unintentional senses of humor). While working in a teeny-weeny library in a teeny-weeny town in Northern California, I stumbled across Hendrix’s My Best Friend’s Exorcism, and I’ve been keeping up with his books ever since (that’s what a cool book cover will do for you). And I was so eager to see what Hendrix would do with a vampire.

Turns out, Hendrix’s vampires are kind of terrifying (as they should be).

This book is essentially exactly what the title suggests: about a gaggle of women who invite (never invite!) a man (never invite a man!) into their book club, and then really weird things start happening. I won’t give it away, because that’s the whole point of it, but I will say this is a page-turner. I enjoyed it, and had a few rare laugh-out-loud moments; Hendrix is quite good with humor—and also good at spinning really weird and uncomfortable situations.

Overall, this was such a fun read (and a little creepy—but not too much, fear not, fellow chickens), and I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys:

  • Southern book club chatter/scandal
  • Vampires that don’t sparkle, even a little bit
  • Strong female characters that are sick of everybody’s shit
  • Humor with a dash of scary

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sassy, No Spoilers: My Best Friend’s Exorcism

book reviews

Demons, cults, and teenage angst in the 80’s? Yes, please.

Deep in the throngs of editing my cult-based thriller, I decided to pick up books that might lend a helping hand in keeping things ~spooky~ but ~not too spooky~ because I like to sleep with the lights off and not thinking about what might be lurking in the closet (not that there’s much room in there for ghosts, I have a lot of craft supplies in there, sorry, Casper).

I first noticed My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix at my library. I work in a public library; I scan a lot of books every day. I scanned a copy of this one in a transit bin, and instantly gasped, called my coworker over, and Oo’d and Ahh’d, because it has the. Coolest. Cover. I have ever seen. I didn’t check out the book, because it had a hold on it elsewhere (and I wouldn’t cheat y’all like that, library folk do follow rules). And as a rule of thumb, if I think I will like a book, I buy it. (Support! Authors! And! Bookshops!)

*pencil pouch, legwarmers, and holy water not included

The author of this book isn’t a novice, but he’s just landed himself a lot of (deserved) attention with The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, Which is sitting in my TBR pile glaring at me as I type this. He also wrote a satirical take on a haunted version of IKEA. I love finding authors that take horror and smash it against humor (True Blood, anyone?), and that’s exactly what Hendrix accomplishes with MBFE.

To stay true to my name, I won’t spoil anything about this book. But I will say, it’s about two best friends in the 80’s who stand by each other…no matter what. What would you do if your best friend suddenly started acting like a total demon? Typical teenagers, amiright? This book is a wild ride through all things nostalgia, exorcists that are super swole for Jesus, and the limitless things we do for best friends.

Judge this book by the cover, I give you library-lady permission, and I also guarantee the song-lyrics-as-chapter-titles will have you jamming John Hughes movie soundtracks for weeks afterwards.

Read this book if you enjoy:

  • E.T. references
  • Stranger Things
  • The entire wild ride that was the True Blood series by Charlaine Harris
  • 80s nostalgia
  • Stories about insanely strong friendships

Also, if you were traumatized by The Exorcist as a child like I was, then this book will make you feel a lot better about it. Legwarmers are optional.

Rating: 4 out of 5.