The Good Demon by Jimmy Cajoleas
Teen ∴ Horror ∴ Urban Fantasy > Possession, Exorcism ∴ TW: Abuse, rape, slut-shaming
Expected publication: September 18th 2018 by Amulet Books
eGalley ∴ 320 pages
True Detective meets The Exorcist in this gripping YA mystery debut about one girl’s exorcism—and her desperate quest to reunite with her demon
Clare has been miserable since her exorcism. The preacher that rid her of evil didn’t understand that her demon—simply known as Her—was like a sister to Clare. Now, Clare will do almost anything to get Her back. After a chance encounter with the son of the preacher who exorcised her, Clare goes on an adventure through the dark underbelly of her small Southern town, discovering its deep-seated occult roots. As she searches for Her, she must question the fine lines between good and evil, love and hate, and religion and free will. Vivid and sharp, The Good Demon tells the unusual story of friendship amid dark Gothic horror
I really enjoyed this book. I was a little weary of a female character written by a male author, but I think Cajoleas did a great job! Clare is about 15, has no friends, an abusive stepfather, and a mother who tries but fails a lot. Cajoleas handles her with care and I really appreciated that.
Poor Clare had her beloved demon ripped away from her by Reverend Sanders and his son Roy. Throughout the novel, Clare is desperate to figure out how to get Her back. She starts discovering clues She left behind. Things like a specific date, “be nice to him,” and other things.
Some things I really appreciated were how Clare’s personality and attitude evolved throughout the story. She starts off as this secluded, lonely girl, with only a demon to keep her company. Clare starts to change once she accepts an unlikely friendship and begins to understand life without Her.
There are some sensitive topics in the book, like domestic and intimate partner abuse, rape, and slut-shaming. I do believe that the mention or inclusion of them helped build Clare’s character and move the plot in the right direction tonally.
I almost forgot, but there are really cool illustrations throughout the book. Not many, maybe 8, but they’re really cool and help give a good visual to what Clare is seeing.
There is only one thing I thought felt off throughout the story. There’s an inclusion of a secret society in the town, but it’s never elaborated on or tied up. It almost feels like it was just an excuse to include more demons, but doesn’t really mean anything in the long run.
Overall, I really enjoyed this. I definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to get into horror, but doesn’t want it to be too scary or just likes demons. Demons are cool.