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When Life Gives You Demons

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  456 ratings  ·  139 reviews
Sixteen-year-old Shelby Black has spent the past year training to be an exorcist. Her great-uncle Roy—a Catholic priest and Shelby’s guardian—believes she has a gift for expelling demons, and he’s put her through exorcist boot camp hell, but he still doesn’t trust her to do an exorcism on her own.

High school is hard enough without having to explain that you fight demons fo
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published July 17th 2018 by Swoon Reads
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Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-releases

***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

When Life Gives You Demons by Jennifer Honeybourn
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: July 17, 2018
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC received via exchange

Summary (from Goodreads):

Sixteen-year-old Shelby Black has spent the past year training to be an exorcist. Her great-uncle Roy—a Catholic priest and Shelby’s guardian—believes she has a gift for expelling demons, and he’s put her through exorcist boot camp hell, but he still doesn’t trust her to d
Candace Robinson
Well that was fun! Kind of had a Buffy vibe but with exorcisms!
May 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Thank you Netgalley for providing me a free review copy in exchange for an honest review

Remember The Exorcist? Terrifying movie? Pea soup? Spinning heads? Oscar nominations up the wazoo and so on? Yeah, of course you do. It's a great movie. Iconic even. It basically forced the word exorcism into the common lexicon and now, so many years later we have When Life Gives You Demons the latest in a long line of supernatural stories who's premise is the best part of the story.

The thing about this book
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, young-adult, fantasy
This review was originally posted at


When Life Gives You Demons is a story about a teenage girl named Shelby. Shelby is a student at St. Joseph’s catholic school, she has a best friend named Vanessa and she has a crush on Spencer. So far, she sounds like a typical teenage girl. But Shelby’s life is far more mysterious than the life of most teenage girls.

Shelby’s mother left under mysterious circumstances and she is missing ever since. Shelby is living with Uncle Roy, a priest,
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

I really liked Shelby. She’s snarky and her inner monologue was funny. Shelby’s dynamic with Uncle Roy was adorable. I loved that she was always forcing healthy food on him. There are some fun characters but I didn’t feel like we got to know anyone.

Plot wise, it was quick moving. However, like with the characters, it was very shallow. There wasn’t any sort of back story or explanation of anything. The build up was non-existent and all of a sudden, it was over.

Don’t get me wrong, I did
Kayla Brunson
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed When Life Gives You Demons! When I read the synopsis I knew that I was going to have to get my hands on it. A high school girl who’s training as an exorcist? Hand it over!

Our main character Shelby is training under her Uncle Roy who happens to be a priest. What is Shelby training for? Well to be an exorcist of course. She keeps her extracurricular activities to herself because she goes to a Catholic school and doesn’t know how her p
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018-reads
A rather quick read, but I think it would have benefited from a few additional chapters. You can read this book in one sitting, and it's lighthearted, but the relationship between Spencer and Shelby came off as underdeveloped and awkward. Also, it seemed like the action scenes were over as soon as it started, so that was a little weird, but overall, it was kind of enjoyable. ...more
Nicole (FearYourEx)
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
4/5 stars

If you're looking for a contemporary that's a bit mystery, a bit fun, and a teeny tiny bit romance this book may be perfect for you.

You follow Shelby as she lives with her great uncle, a Catholic priest and exorcist. She's training to be an exorcist as well. There is a pretty powerful demon causing problems in her town and she wants to get to the bottom of it.

Shelby grows a lot as the book goes on. The book was really fun and just the different sort of read I needed when I read it.
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
So I first added this to my 'to read' shelf because the premise sounded like a book that I would enjoy and I was right because it was definitely my thing. ...more
Rachael (RedRchlReads)
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, 2018-reads
I received an ARC from Fierce Reads in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

4 Stars!

When Life Gives You Demons by Jennifer Honeybourn is one of the few contemporaries I've read this year, and I'm happy to say that it was a fun, quick read with some Buffy-like elements. Shelby is an exorcist in training, who, like any other high school girl, is not pleased about her new vocation. While the story covers some fairly heavy, serious topics, it never takes itself too ser
Lisa Mandina
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is really exactly what it sounds like. A humorous story about exorcisms. LOL. No, really. In a good way! It reminded me quite a bit of one of my all time favorite TV shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I really think this would be kind of a fun series if that was ever a possibility. I would enjoy getting to follow Shelby as she works on her exorcism skills. And then there is her crush Spencer, and what his family does, they would be interesting to get to know more about as well. I feel li ...more
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
On paper I should love this, in reality not so much.

“When Life Gives You Demons” is what would happen if Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural had a crossover only with less than stellar writing. Following Shelby as she embarks on this journey of salvation for the damned when she learns that her mother’s disappearance is far worse than she thought and trying to fight the forces of darkness and having a normal social life might be more than she bargained for.

I really wanted to love this and
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of Jennifer Honeybourn's second novel and I feel incredibly honored to be one of the first to express my love for it! Full of laugh-out-loud moments and heart-racing exorcisms, When Life Gives You Demons will give you Buffy vibes in the best way possible. Shelby was incredibly relatable (as far as teenage exorcists go) and I could have lived inside of her world for much longer. July 2018, can you hurry up a bit so my friends and I can all gush about this book ...more
Samantha (WLABB)
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, paranormal, ya
Who knew a book about a teenaged exorcist could be so charming and delightful?

• Pro: You will see this in a million reviews for this book, but it's only because it's so true. This book definitely scratched a Buffy-type itch for me. Shelby shared a lot of similarities with Buffy. She was a little snarky with a great sense of humor, and also struggled finding the balance between fighting demons and being an average teenager. This plus the raging guilt about her mother's disappearance endeared Shel
Stay Fetters
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
"The man's face contorts and he’s spitting and foaming at the mouth. And then- oh lord- his head starts to revolve on his neck, bones cracking and popping, until it twists all the way around and his face is on the wrong side of his body. I wince. I really hate it when they do that.”

This is my second experience with this author. Her first book and I didn’t get along that well but this one showed a lot of promise. It started off really well and it piqued my interest with performing exorcisms but i
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book like Jennifer Honeybourn’s other book, Wesley James Ruined My Life, was a very quick read for me! If I had had the time, I would have read it all in one sitting. Rather than focusing on too much detail, Honeybourn’s books tend to be very plot driven, which is why they are a little shorter than the average YA book. When Life Gives You Demons definitely gave me some Buffy the Vampire Slayer + My Best Friend’s Exorcism + Supernatural vibes (which is definitely a good thing), and it was qu ...more
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
THIS REVIEW & MORE → Paws and Paperbacks

ARC provided by the publisher.

I would like to thank the awesome ladies at the Swoon Reads booth at BookCon for recommending this book; they had me sold at humorous contemporary + paranormal. I knew from the first page that I was going to be seriously entertained while reading this. When Life Gives You Demons was the perfect fun summer read!

In addition to trying to pass her classes and studying with her cute math tutor, Shelby spends her time outside of hi
Mar 21, 2019 rated it liked it
A light, laugh out loud read about a girl who exorcises demons while attending high school and crushing on her cute study buddy.

I thought the writing was quirky and the exorcism scenes depicted with teen incredulity and sarcasm that befitted the character of 16-year-old Shelby Black.

The support cast is great although Uncle Roy has to be my favorite character. There’s something about a 6’4” bad ass priest forced to eat cottage cheese on toast that had me giggling with them.
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it

*I was sent an ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review!*

I did not expect to like this as much as I did to be honest. Like I expected some really cheesy and cliche plot, with cooky characters and supernatural elements that I like to make fun of. But nope. I mean it was a little cheesy yes. But it was also quite fun!

What I Liked:
Shelby. I liked her a lot. She was super clumsy, slightly sarcastic, but very determined. Her attitude towards her demon hunting life was pretty much
Nasty Lady MJ
Sep 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
To see full review click here.

It’s almost October which means I’m in the mood for some paranormal YA.

The only thing is while paranormal romance was the big on trend back when I was in the targeted age of YA, it has really faded away. Which is good. Because there was a lot of crap out there in the late 00’s. HOWEVER, while you think that newer paranormal YA books would have a tough bar to overcome. The shit’s still getting published. When Life Gives You Demons is one of these books.

Full Disclosur
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, arc, ya
this was...fine. It felt to me like it was relying a lot on the general premise of "teen exorcist" to be compelling without doing much legwork. Similarly the romance wasn't particularly developed either? It feels like an outline of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfiction.

The cover art is really cute though.
Katherine Paschal
“Hi. Um, is Spencer here?”

A smile crawls across the man’s face. Friendly or creepy, I’m not exactly sure, but I’m going to take it as a good sign that he’s opened the door to let us inside. Either Spencer is here, or this guy is inviting us in so he can kill us.

Hopefully Spencer is here.

Shelby spends her time going to school, crushing on her study partner, hanging out with her best friend- oh and hunting demons. As an apprentice to her uncle Roy who just so happens to be a Priest, Shelby h
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
**I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**

I honestly didn't think I was going to end up reading this book in two days but that's exactly what I did. Somehow it sucked me right in and I could not bring myself to put it down until I finished it. With some great Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Mediator vibes, this book was fun, quick, and a completely engrossing read.

The story moves quickly and reasonably, with only a few moments here and the
Lana لانا  (Bibliomedico)
" Evil has a vibration - we were built to sense it , but most people lose the ability along the way"

The only regret I have , is waiting all this time to read this amazing book . I received a copy two years ago from the author as I won one of her Instagram giveaways but didn't start reading it until last week .

It is definitely one of my new favorite fantasy books , I only gave it 4/5 because I simply need more , it was too short , there are still many things I wished to read about .

Brittany (BritReadsBooks)
Jul 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
*I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Wow, this was a super quick read for me! The writing was light and fluffy, which I probably needed after reading so many dense books. Basically, this book is Buffy meets Supernatual, but it’s more of a parody than anything. It was funny and cute overall, but not really what I expected.

Essentially this book is about a teenage exorcist named Shelby whose mother goes missing and she is stuck training with her grump
Hannah L (Reviewer)
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A standalone, When Life Gives You Demons makes light of demon possession, and its kinda funny. An everyday teenager and... well... an exorcist, Shelby is fed up. Her priest-uncle is constantly on her back about her chants and holy water and her grades are slipping. All the while, her Mom has disappeared and Shelby blames herself. As time goes by. demon possessions starts to increase in town, and its up to Shelby to fix it, all the while trying to balance her love life and her school work.
Eileen (BookCatPin)
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
When Life Gives You Demons was equally as fun and adorable as Jennifer Honeybourn's first novel, Wesley James Ruined My Life. The story's simple plot revolved around the main character learning to fight evil while trying to balance a normal social life.

The story has a Buffy the Vampire Slayer feel to it except with an edge of chill and convenience. I enjoyed the lightness but I also felt a little vexed with the barely there climax. While the demons sounded repulsive and were destructive they did
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Mandy C.
Cover Story: Anti-Citrus
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: Jump Right In
Bonus Factor: Exorcisms
Relationship Status: Pals

Read the full book report here.
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
It was an exciting read. As usual, I don't like the teenagers and mostly identified with uncle Roy. Also I think the writer didn't do justice on Josh. I was hoping for some kind of closure on Josh at least. All in all, it was fun and definitely a page turner. 10/10 will recommend it if you're looking for something interesting but light. ...more
Tess (Book_Voyage)
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was a very entertaining and perfect fall/October read! I absolutely love reading about paranormal experiences and this story certainly did not disappoint. This story follows Shelby who is being trained to be an exorcist by her great uncle Roy, who just happens to be a Catholic priest and also an exorcist. Shelby manages to get herself into a great deal of wild adventures and chaos and havoc ensue! I loved her snarkiness and her inner monologues. I feel that the author could have gotten ...more
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Jennifer Honeybourn works in corporate communications in Vancouver, British Columbia. She's a fan of British accents, Broadway musicals, and epic, happily-ever-after love stories. If she could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, she'd have high tea with Walt Disney, JK Rowling, and her nana. She lives with her husband, daughter and cat in a house filled with books. WESLEY JAMES RUINED MY LIFE ...more

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