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The Good Demon

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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.

311 pages, Hardcover

First published September 18, 2018

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Jimmy Cajoleas

6 books109 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 316 reviews
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,745 reviews5,292 followers
September 16, 2018
As a life-long horror fan, possession stories have always been some of my favorites. There’s just something so classic and iconic about the idea of a child or teen being taken over by some sort of dark entity, and even though the trope is typically filled to the brim with religious overtones and misrepresentation of many belief sects, they’re just fun. When I heard about this story’s twist—that the girl wants to be possessed and mourns the loss of her demon—I knew I had to read it. I just had to!

She was just a voice inside my voice, a body inside my body, a spirit inside my spirit, my demon. When She spoke I heard Her in my blood, and when She moved I felt Her in my bones.

Unfortunately, we’ve all heard the saying: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. While the synopsis behind this book caught my attention immediately, I was literally only a single chapter in when I realized that the subpar writing was going to ruin any chances I had of giving this book an excellent review. The narrative voice doesn’t read like a teen at all, and Clare’s internal monologue is so pretentious and angsty that it felt like I was reading some mid-2000s MySpace poetry. (Not in a good way. Is there a good way?)

I knew nothing could ever separate us, nothing could ever tear us apart. I was wrong.

On top of the narrative voice and the issues I had there, there’s another problem: if you’re a horror fan, you will predict every twist and turn this story has to offer. That said, if you don’t have much experience with horror (or, more specifically, possession and occult stories), then I think you could enjoy this a lot more than I did! I don’t lower my ratings for YA horror when it fails to impress me, because I know that I’ve been desensitized by much of the adult horror I read, but if I had, I think this would have been a 2-star read for me.

“It’s not weird,” he said. “It’s just different. Dad holds me and him to a higher standard than the rest of the world. Because we’re men of Christ.”

Next, there’s the topic of the religious representation, which was so all over the place. The picture the author has painted of Christians in this book is so over-the-top ridiculous and laughable that I was genuinely stunned to learn from the acknowledgements that Jimmy Cajoleas appears to be a Christian himself—because, seriously, the Christians in this book are terrible.

The solstice was when witches held black masses, or maybe the druids slaughtered a virgin or two.

Don’t get me wrong, though, it’s just fair treatment; the pagan and witchcraft representation in the story is downright gross. There are multiple comments and implications about all witches and/or pagans being dark, sinister, etc., and like the Christians, they’re all done in these outlandish caricatures that are positively villainous. If it had been toned down a little, it would have been at least a little bit amusing, but it felt like I was being hit over the head with a brick about it.

She always had a reason. She did it to protect me.

While I didn’t hate this book—I still think the synopsis had major potential, and it was a quick read that managed to keep me just entertained enough to keep reading—I can’t say that I would recommend it to anyone who reads much horror, as I think it would be a letdown. While Cajoleas shows definite potential to improve, I probably won’t rush to pick up any future releases of his.

Content warnings for demonic possession (obviously), violence, mutilation, animal abuse/mutilation/death, sexual assault, physical assault, slut-shaming, poor representation of multiple religions, parental neglect/abuse, drug/alcohol abuse, and overdosing/suicide.

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Amulet Books for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Taschima.
868 reviews399 followers
Want to read
May 15, 2018
I was sort of hoping this would be a weird romance where the demon exercised was a him, and they sort of fell in love, and she must go through hell to get him back...

Too weird?
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,605 reviews2,309 followers
June 25, 2022
The Good Demon
by Jimmy Cajoleas
This book I borrowed from the library and wanted to keep it! I wanted to read it again and again! I first rated it 4 stars but I kept thinking about it so I upped the rating to a 5!
It's about a girl that gets possessed by a demon at the age of eight. The demon who she calls She or Her becomes the girl's best friend. At age 15, a boy tries to rape her and the demon takes control. The girl's stepdad gets mad at the girl, figures, then calls for someone to get the demon out of her. He really doesn't know for sure she has a demon but the wildness she showed could have been a traumatic experience. A preacher and his son comes and get rid of the girl's only friend.
The rest of the story is the girl following clues to get her demon back the demon left for her. I loved the clues, the back stories of everyone as the story evolves, the magic, fantasy, and suspense. Terrific characters!
It's a story that stayed with me long after I finished reading. Great read!
Profile Image for Mel (Epic Reading).
917 reviews283 followers
March 19, 2019
If you want dark, broody teenage angst this is your book. There is magic in the air and most of it is ominous in Jimmy Cajoleas novel The Good Demon. If you take the idea of being at one with yourself and by representing all your emotions (including the bad ones) as yourself, plus a demon that lives inside of you, then this will intrigue you. Two questions then come to mind: What happens when someone takes that demon away? And what would you do to get that part of yourself back?

There are some very good metaphors and comparisons in the context of The Good Demon that relate directly to what I recall it being like to be a teenager. There are also moments where I feel like the demon is displaying what I want to even do today (like smack someone for being a jerk). This unique take on our extreme emotions being acted out by a demon that controls our body (when it chooses to) is a great example of what things like rage, anxiety, stress and other mental health issues can cause. Where it's really no longer us as the person making a rationale decision to act. Instead it's the disorder itself taking over. I loved the parallels that could be found in Cajoleas Gothic story. The ending really is the icing on the cake here to all the comparisons, moments and struggles throughout The Good Demon.

Dark and Creepy
There is no doubt this is a young adult horror novel. We meet demons (of course) and magical occult figures that are likely not out to make your life better per say. Easily my favourite part of the book is the One Wish Man. I imagine Doug Jones playing this role (were this a movie) where the One Wish Man has long, unnatural fingers, is lanky in height and overall just seems a bit too odd to be entirely human. As I adore the work of Jones in many TV shows and movies this really enhanced my experience of the One Wish Man. I so rarely see characters as real life people but this one was just so distinctly described that I knew it couldn't be anyone other than Jones.

It's difficult to have friends when you are in a dark, foreboding space. We've all seen this either first hand or witnessed someone else do it. Someone sabotages the friendship for no real reason other than they need to lash out at someone. Cajoleas does a good job of setting up our lead gal with the preacher's son in an unlikely, yet perfect, friendship. It also opens the door for each of our main teens to react to one another as both friends, possible romantic partners and as diametric opposites of good and evil. There is also a final test to this friendship that has no bearing on 'love' or romance that I really liked the spin of.

If you'd like to read a Gothic teen book this definitely fits the bill. Just know that there is a lot of implied, and obvious, mental health disorders addressed including: depression, anxiety and expectation stress. There is a 'first time' sex scene in it but it's nothing graphic in my opinion.
While perhaps not a five star book I would say that Cajoleas has brought us a unique teen perspective to looking at our inner voices and determining if they are our own or those of a demon.

To read this and more of my reviews visit my blog at Epic Reading

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
Profile Image for Jennifer Mlynowski.
110 reviews14 followers
October 16, 2018
Read my reviews at http://www.jenchaosreviews.com

The Good Demon By Jimmy Cajoleas

Amulet Books, September 18, 2018

320 Pages, Hardcover Edition

Teen Fiction

"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 exorcized 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."

Goodreads Rating: 3.80/ My Rating 4.00

Let me preface this by saying I had no idea that this was going to be a teen fiction. Most exorcism books are adult in my opinion. However, upon reading, I could see why.

When you think of possession of exorcism, you think immediately of William Blatty's Exorcist,  a story of a young girl possessed by the evilest demon that caused more than havoc and pain to the victim and her mother. It was the scariest book next to the Shining I have ever read. This book, The Good Demon, however, was not frightening. This book was more suspenseful. That may very well be the point of this story, so I had to change gears in my mind while reading this.

The young girl was possessed by a demon that claimed to love her, that was her best friend. In alternating timelines, the girl regales the times when the demon would "take over" control of her and either "save her" from a potentially dangerous situation or do something that was supposed to be beneficial. However, this was what caused the exorcism to take place. A reverend and his son came to the home and "delivered" her from evil, expelling the demon from her body leaving her empty and lost.

The plot was sticky and confusing, however, made sense at the end. The small town is shrouded in a cloud of mystery and evil, something that is hidden and never spoken about unless you ask the right questions to the right people. The girl, desperate to get her demon back becomes enmeshed in this mystery as getting her demon back becomes more significant than the ideal goal. She discovers a message in a strange book written not by her hand, but by someone else, which leads her to befriend the most unlikely person and follow a trail to a place that would give her what she ultimately wanted-HER.

In this quest, she meets a very evil group in the town that is responsible for the disappearances of people for many years. A group who thirsts for power and money no matter the cost. She is the center of it now, and she realizes quickly that maybe she should try to stay clear of them. But, can she? Who is in the center of this?

However, where there are wishes to be granted, there is always a price to pay.

Learning of the price, she is appalled and finds that she should try to relish the relationship with the real-life person only to be rebuffed. Anger spreads, and she decides the price isn't so bad after all. However, when the actual events lead to deception and greed, and the person she trusted to help turns out to be as bad as the group running the town's evil, she tries to make sense of all of it and runs.

Is the demon her best friend? Are demons good or bad? She must find out. What is more important? People or the demon?

The writing was simple to understand. It was not flowery prose like you would find in adult fiction after all this is a YA. I was not displeased with how it was written. The sentence and paragraph structure was stable enough that I was able to navigate each page quickly and efficiently. This is a well-written book, and, will impress many teens looking to find a book with great writing.

The plot was linear. Though it did have some flashbacks for background information, it did follow a particular pattern. It had a standard plot with twists and turned, several subplots emerged as I read along and became confused as to what the story was about and where it was going. However, at 90% of the book, they all tie together nicely to make an ending that made sense and left no openings or hesitation.

What I Liked:
I liked the development of the relationship between the girl and the other person in the story. It was not jerky or awkward. It was also, not very unrealistic. I enjoyed how it flourished over time and became more severe as they progressed through the story. It reminded me of when I was a teen. I also thought very fondly of the relationship she developed with her mother toward the end. 16 is an awkward age for girls and having a relationship with a mother is hard for teen girls. This was highlighted more than once.

What I Didn't Like:
The book was written in a narration form for the most part and contained a little less dialogue than I liked. I would have liked it better had there been more interaction. This seems to be more prevalent in books that are coming out now more than ever. While I did like the story a lot, I would have preferred more dialogue.

Overall Impression:
The story is solid suspense, not horror as one may think given the subject matter. It was an enjoyable and fun read. The dropping of a point in the rating is only because I would have preferred more dialogue. I am a sucker for conversation in books. I think that progresses a story more and gives characters more dimension and life than straight narration
July 10, 2018
Clare hasn't been the same since her exorcism.  Her demon wasn't evil; she protected Clare from all the things that have hurt her:  her father's death by overdose, her stepdad's drunken belligerence, and even the guy from school who wouldn't take no for an answer.

Her unnamed demon left behind a cryptic note:  
-Be nice to him

-June 20

-Remember the stories

Before long, Clare is falling in love with the son of the preacher who performed her exorcism and realizing there may be more demons than her own in her small Southern town.  Soon she's questioning if her demon was actually saving her or isolating her for sinister reasons.

Unwilling to give up her search, Clare remembers the story her demon told her about a being deep in the woods and finds herself on a dark path to locate the One Wish Man.  If she finds him and he grants her wish to be reunited, what will he ask for in return?  And will it be a price she's willing pay?

It's up to Clare to choose her loyalty to good or evil and find truth in a tangle of lies.

The Good Demon was a truly surprising YA mystery!  Set in a small Southern town, the novel obviously has a lot of religious aspects relating to sin, good vs. evil, and purity.  The Gothic tale blends mystery and horror with an innocent fairy tale quality.  
I can't think of too many YA Southern Gothic novels but this is sure to be close to the top of the list!  My only complaint is my usual for the YA genre:  I would've appreciated a little more back story, character development, and in the case of this novel specifically:  more description and history of the town.  

This was an exceptional story overall and an excellent read for mature YA readers!  Thanks to Amulet Books and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.  The Good Demon is scheduled for release on September 18, 2018.

For more full reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,212 reviews3,213 followers
July 18, 2020
2.5 Stars
I love possession stories so I was very excited to pick up this one. I really loved the premise of a possession story that focuses out what happens AFTER the exorcism takes place. However, the execution just did not work for me. I found the writing, characters and general plot to be pretty weak. Such a disappointment because I so badly wanted to love this one.
Profile Image for Rachel Bea.
358 reviews116 followers
November 4, 2018
I adored this book. I actually wanted to cry at the end. Such a refreshing take on the possession trope. I love Clare, and while I can't identify with being possessed and wanting my demon back, I CAN identify with coping with family trauma, and coping with loss, and first love, and all the ways people you love can disappoint you, and learning that people can be both good and bad, and finding strength in yourself. Such a great story for adolescence.
Profile Image for The Library Ladies .
1,178 reviews59 followers
September 13, 2018
(originally reviewed at thelibraryladies.com )

I want to extend a special thank you to both NetGalley and Amulet books for sending me an eARC and a print ARC of this book.

I know that Halloween Season isn’t QUITE here yet (though honestly, once Labor Day hits I’m thinking about ghosts and ghouls and all things horror), but I just couldn’t wait for Horrorpalooza to pick up “The Good Demon” by Jimmy Cajoleas. I was fortunate enough to get approved for a copy on NetGalley, but then imagine my extra delight when I was at Serena’s and she said that we’d received a print ARC of it as well. I’d been hearing about this novel since this past summer, when it was all over my twitter feed during BookExpo. While I’m not usually someone who is super into demonic possession/exorcism stories (with a FEW exceptions, as you guys probably remember), the idea of a girl wanting her exorcised demon BACK was one that piqued my interest. The demonic possession stories I like usually buck some of the familiar tropes that are associated with the genre, but ultimately they usually still maintain the demon=bad concept. “The Good Demon” sounded like it was going to take that down as well, so picking it up I went in with some lofty expectations.

What struck me most about “The Good Demon” was Clara, our main character who is desperate to find her demon, Her, again. In many demonic possession and exorcism stories, the person being possessed is usually passive, and a secondary character that the main character is trying to help. Clara defies these trends, as not only is she the main character, she is incredibly active and entrenched in ‘doing’ within the narrative. Her reasons for wanting Her back are understandable because of how Cajoleas has written her: her father’s death was a traumatic moment in her life, her mother is an addict who has effectively picked her new husband over her own daughter, and Clara has no other friends or support systems in her life now that Her has been exorcised. While there were ample opportunities for Clara to fall into stereotypical traps of a ‘bad girl’, Cajoleas always kept her from teetering, and kept her grounded in a realistic personality. She always felt like a realistic teenage girl who has seen some shit, and her voice was authentic and natural. As she uncovers the mysteries of the small, closed minded town that she is living in, you see her go up against obstacles that aren’t always because of supernatural or occult driven issues; many of the problems she faces are because of misogyny and prejudice that is entrenched within an Evangelical culture. I liked seeing her interact with basically all of the characters, be it within flashbacks to her friendship with Her, to the fraught and sad relationship with her mother, to the complicated and bittersweet relationship she takes up with Roy, the son of the preacher who performed the exorcism. Roy is a particularly interesting foil to her, as her sullenness is matched with his fundamentalist driven optimism, and her bitterness towards his father is in stark contrast to Roy’s submission to him. It was a relationship that felt very teenager-y, with both of them making decisions that feel right in the moment, but may have fallouts that they cannot see.

I had more mixed feelings about the actual possession story. I loved the flashbacks to Her, and I liked seeing Clara and Her interact, and have a complex relationship. It sets a groundwork that makes it very believable that Clara would go as far as she would go to get Her back. That was a very fresh take on possession, that perhaps this ‘demon’ wasn’t necessarily a ‘bad’ thing. But by the end, it becomes pretty clear that the full deconstruction of the ‘possession’ story isn’t going to happen. It gets part way there, I will give it that, but ultimately it didn’t take a bold stance on redefining ‘demons’, and why people like Roy’s Dad might conflate something that empowers or emotionally supports girls and women as ‘demonic’. I appreciate that ultimately Cajoleas is promoting the idea that you should feel secure within yourself and to be able to stand on your own, but I think that this message ultimately undercuts the positive female friendship message that I was hoping we would get from it.

While it didn’t QUITE live up to my expectations, “The Good Demon” was a fast and fun read, and it’s absolutely one that dark fantasy and horror fans should pick up during the upcoming spooky season.
Profile Image for Nikki "The Crazie Betty" V..
803 reviews125 followers
October 31, 2018
I won this book through a goodreads giveaway and was extremely excited to pick it up. We’ve all read books and heard stories about possession, but a story about the exorcised trying to get their demon back? That was new to me and sounded extremely intriguing.

The novel opens up with teenager Clare, who has recently been exorcised of her demon. Who is only referred to as “Her”. Clare is depressed and angry and feels like she has been stripped of the only person who truly understood her, and cared for her, since her father’s death. Upon discovering a message that was left by ‘Her’, Clare goes on a quest to prepare herself to be reunited with her demon. The middle is slightly slower as we learn about Clare and her relationship to ‘Her’, but if felt right for what the story was and how we were learning more about Clare and those around her. Of course, Clare isn’t exactly a reliable narrator as we only understand the demon and their relationship through her memories of their time together. There isn’t any real objective view and the entire story is done through Clare’s POV. As Clare moves through the story, learning more about herself and the town she’s grown up in, she must also come to terms with some hard truths and decide what she is willing to sacrifice to once again be reunited with her beloved friend.

The end of the story was fantastic, in my opinion, and really brought everything around full circle. And boy did I have feels. Like, all the feels. Angry, happy, disappointed, sad, disgusted. Seriously, all of them. I can’t say that the story ended “happy”, but I do feel like it ended exactly the way it needed to. The writing really pulled me in, which is saying a lot for me as I read this entire book only during a flight to and from a work destination. And I’m exceptionally, ridiculously, terrified of flying. I can’t usually find something to keep my mind occupied from thoughts of falling out of the sky and dying so I must give serious kudos to Cajoleas for taking me out of my reality for a few hours. I’ll definitely be looking for more of his work and would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys strongly character driven pieces with hints of the paranormal.
Profile Image for mo.
198 reviews93 followers
July 24, 2020
Something's just off about this place. It's like the town has a bad heart--cruel, gone wrong somehow.

So this was a pleasant surprise.

I saw this book in a stack of new ones that my library had acquired. The cover intrigued me, as well as the summary, so I started reading, only intending to skim a page or two. I ended up liking the prose-- especially how the author described the sensations the protagonist, Clare, has when demon-possessed--so I kept reading. And reading, and so on, until I'd finished the whole book. Admittedly, it was a quick read (maybe only 3 uninterrupted hours?), but still. I've been swamped with school this summer and unmotivated to read for pretty much this entire year so far, and I found this book engaging enough to finish.

I really liked that the author didn't paint characters in broad brushstrokes of good and bad. A preacher who exorcises the main character is unlikable, yes, but he isn't a cartoonish villain. Likewise, Clare's demon (called "Her" or "My Only") is twisty, but her relationship with Clare shows genuine warmth and love. I think this novel is ultimately about how loneliness and abuse can go hand in hand, as well as how power-hungry groups can harm an entire community.

3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
Profile Image for Yvonne.
46 reviews1 follower
June 20, 2020
This is the first time I've done a review on a book simply because I find this book to be one of the best ones I've read in quite some time.

If you like books about possession and demons and a twist at about every single chapter then you will love this book. Just when you think you have the plot figured out, or how it's going to end, it will change.

The first chapter started a little slow but after that it picked up pretty quickly and I really found that there was hardly anything in there that would qualify it as boring. By the end I literally couldn't put down the book until I finished it and that was for the last four or five chapters.

You'll find yourself rooting for even what we would traditionally call the bad guys. Because of the way the book is written there's a fine line between who's bad and who's good. This is something you'll have to decide for yourself when you read it.

This is a young adult book but I still highly recommend it for those who traditionally only read adult horror. The story is complex enough that it will definitely keep your interest.
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 7 books1,212 followers
August 9, 2018
What happens when you have been part of an exorcism but you want your demon back? The answer is you enlist the help of the son of the preacher who did the exorcism to help you find her and get her back.

The voice in this book is what makes it stand out, though .

Readers who love YA horror will enjoy this. I'm excited to see Cajoleas write more.
702 reviews
September 28, 2018
I received an e-ARC through Edelweiss Plus in exchange for an honest review

This.... was a strange book, in a bad way. The story was hard to get into until 48% and by then I think it was kinda too late for me to change my opinion. It was not creepy at all, and the main characters really annoyed me. The female mc was so pretentious and bitter (the latter quality understandable) and the male mc was very naive and gullible. I quite enjoyed the mystery reveal though.
Profile Image for Laura.
425 reviews1,254 followers
August 23, 2018
3.5 stars
After Clare gets an exorcism, she's desperate to get the demon (referred to as Her) back because she was her only friend. Clare has a complicated life. Her mom and stepdad drink and are belligerent. Her dad passed away and she's still coping. Clare finds herself on an adventure through town while trying to get Her back.

There was an almost fairytale like quality to the story with a gothic atmosphere. I enjoyed the mix of mystery and horror throughout. My one complaint is the rushed ending. I wish things could've been expanded on. This was a great, unique little story I'd recommend to anyone who enjoys young adult horror and wants something a little different. This one was fun.

I won this through goodreads in exchange for an honest review.
April 24, 2020
The Good Demon tells the story of Clare who has her demon excircised out of her against her will and now tries to find a way to get Her back.

The writing had a nice flow to it and it really caotured the spooky atmosphere. I also really like that, when things were seemingly happy and calm, you could still always feel something darker bubbling beneath the surface.

I will say that how Clare comes to some conclusions didn't akways make sense to me, and I would've liked both the character development and world building (how the magic works and what it does) to have been stronger.

At its core The Good Demon is a unique exploration of addiction, which I thought was really well done and enjoyed a lot. 3.5🌟
Profile Image for Amanda Minnock.
201 reviews47 followers
October 23, 2019
3.5 stars.

I loved how the book was written. It kept me gripped, I read it in a short time.

Different from what I’m usually reading, i don’t get the part about the group of crazies because nothing became of them? But yeah, whatever.

Profile Image for Rajiv.
966 reviews66 followers
June 28, 2019
A big thank you to NetGalley and Amulet Books for sending me an advanced e-copy of “The Good Demon” in exchange for my review.

I love reading thrillers and horror books, but I tend to stay clear of possession story-lines as they really creep me out. For the same reason, I was skeptical to read “The Good Demon” as I thought I would not enjoy it. As I did not have very high expectations of this novel, I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would have!

To begin with, the story is really not your typical gory, horror, possession story-line. It is actually haunting, beautiful, creepy, and mysterious tale all put into one. I loved the concept of how Clare, the main character, misses her spirit “Her” and wants to be possessed again. Moreover, I really enjoyed Clare as a character overall, and the different emotions she goes through. I loved her flashbacks with ‘Her’, her complex relationship with her family and her first love with Roy. It was interesting to read how she goes through different emotions while trying to solve the mystery of who the ‘One wish Man’ is, how he is connected to Kevin, and how he can help her get ‘Her’ back. We gradually see Clare grow into a mature person during the course of the story.

That is not to say that the book doesn’t have its scary moments. One particular scene that sent chills down my spine is when Clare gets locked in with Luther Simpkins. I don’t know why, the image of him coming after her was terrifying. The where also other gripping moments like when Clare meets Gaspar, or when she sees Miss Mathis without her glasses. I was at the edge of my seat with Kevin’s flashback and how he connects to the Paradise Society. There are just so many things happening in this book and each chapter offers something new and intriguing. The author has done an amazing job in giving equal importance to the plot and the interaction between the characters. I would like to check out his other novels to see if they are equally good

Overall, I really enjoyed “The Good Demon” a lot and would give it 5/5 stars for its unique take on possession.
Profile Image for Jackie.
631 reviews42 followers
May 29, 2018
Love and faith are put into question as the struggle to reunite with a demon leads to serious consequences.

“The Good Demon” follows Clare a young woman who recently became the subject of an exorcism and is grieving the loss of the demon known simply as Her when she reconnects with the son of the Reverend who performed the rite. As she struggles with her loss she becomes determined to get her demon back regardless of the cost and as her jour eh progresses she finds there’s more to her small town and their connection to the dark side than she could ever imagine.

This is a paranormal book in nature with dark magic holding center stage but it really serves as a great allegory for abusive relationships and the people who prey on those who are at their most vulnerable. The narration in this book is somewhat unreliable as we go giving us snapshots of the dynamic between Clare and Her and it’s not until the climax of the novel that we finally get the full picture and it begs the question is this a good demon after all?

There’s a bit of romance in this but I have to say I like how it ends with the focus shifted to that of Clare and her mother who have been living parallel lives with both actual and human versions of demons and the healing they need in order to move forward with their lives and it’s that love that I hope will be the take away from this book.

I know this review is very sappy but I swear this book is dark and twisted in its own way and offers up creatures and sacrificial practices that will haunt your dreams but there’s a lingering message there that I think will be something that will stick with the reader longer than fear.

**special thanks to the publishers and netgalley for providing an arc in exchange for a fair and honest review!**
Profile Image for robbie .
138 reviews69 followers
April 19, 2020
This book had SUCH an interesting premise, I've been wanting to read it for months. I think the fact that I built it up in my head for so long may have made the actual book seem kind lackluster. I enjoyed it enough, some of the writing was like......annoying?? I think there were a LOT of good concepts that weren't explored to their full potential. I tried to get excited for the advancements that COULD have been interesting, but things sort of fizzled out. I enjoyed it for what it was, but I prob wouldn't recommend it to any of my friends.
Profile Image for Natalie.
34 reviews
January 1, 2019
Well, I held off on finishing this book so it would be my first New Year's read.

I was surprised by it, and it definitely creeped me out and made my inner Catholic School Girl cringe and squirm uncomfortably a bit.

I ended up enjoying it way more than I thought I would, that is for certain. I am too tired to write up a cohesive review, ah well.

Profile Image for Mira.
139 reviews12 followers
September 17, 2018
"Like I said, passing through on a sunny afternoon, you wouldn’t see anything was wrong with this place. You have to live here to know it. You have to have spent your whole life drinking its water and breathing its air, taking all the badness and rottenness into yourself, making it a part of you, before you’d ever know anything was wrong at all."

Okay, I must admit I was a little taken aback by the turn The Good Demon took about halfway through. I'm one of those people who aggressively avoid blurbs (a.k.a. the little treacherous bodies of text that look all innocent but end up giving away half of the plot line in less then five sentences). Up until then, it was a fairly wholesome book. Well, it did have an exorcism and an abusive stepfather orbiting the narrative but it was a journey of saving a friendship and finding new ones along the way. Or at least I thought so. When the book hit the 50-percent point, it was like all hell broke loose and out of sudden it was substantially more interesting. You'd have to be blind not to see certain plot twists coming from a mile off. However, and this is an achievement worth nothing because I feel like I've seen all turns YA books can put on the table, there were some moments that genuinely surprised me - not necessarily the-ending-of-Fight-Club-worthy surprise, but it was there. I don't know, sometimes I wonder if reading too many book changes the way your brain is wired and you end up making all the connections long before the book comes with the big reveal. Perhaps the books I keep picking up are just too obvious. Anyway, if are not yet all that acquainted with this genre, I do think this could provide some thrills.

The Good Demon was a decent effort. Clare wasn't the two dimensional basic bitch character, that's true. The minor characters were done well enough. Unfortunately, there's a but. The one character that had the most room to grow and expand and morph, was the character that was the least believable. Roy is a sheltered Christian boy, son of the preacher, with innocence forced onto him but with a little bit of a rebel heart deep down, that much is clear. And, in all seriousness, there probably couldn't have been a better choice for the romantic interest. As good as it sounds, he felt more like a 13-year-old kid than a guy in his late teens. At first, I regarded as a character trait that would gradually dissipate as the story progressed and Clare's influence would take root. It didn't. And it was annoying. Roy was just a mere pawn in the story which is the biggest regret I have with The Good Demon. I demand one more minute of silence for the wasted opportunities.

If someone asked me to name a book similar to this, I supposed I'd hand over Anna Dressed in Blood and The Price Guide to the Occult. I'd liken them to each other the same way I'd liken Lucifer to Supernatural. They are just that kind of books - they the same feel to them. And I undeniably like that kind of books. For some reason, I'm always lured in by the promise of something dark and twisted that takes a long time to uncoil but once it does, it's goosebump-inducing. I enjoy the buildup.

The Good Demon does seem like a 4-star read as I'm rereading this review. But something's irking me about it and I can't shake it off. I simply can't bring myself to mark the rating up so I'm keeping it at the middle ground of a three. Just know that it's the better kind of three, the kind that's almost a four but not quite. The Halloween season is round the corner, spooks are in the air - I'd say go for it. Oh, and it has illustrations! Sparse but nice ones. I liked that touch.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: attempted rape, abusive stepfather, drug abuse, overdose, animal sacrifices, gore (all sort of minor, but I thought you should know)
Profile Image for Kerri.
489 reviews15 followers
September 2, 2018
2.5 stars - I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway. I was intrigued by the concept for this story when I first read the synopsis. It is a clever and creative idea and I had high hopes for the finished product. While I wasn't totally disappointed, the story didn't quite live up to my expectations. Don't get me wrong, it is well-written and there is sufficient character development...all of the functional stuff is there. For me, the bigger issue is that it lacked a real hook, a reason to go on reading, and there wasn't enough tension to keep me invested. I knew where it was going almost immediately and the horror part of the story, where the author could have upped the ante and made it super scary, faded away before it was even given a chance to develop. I mean, you have this whole secret society and they should be doing everything in their power to stop Clare, but, other than putting feathers above their doors, they do nothing? They don't chase her, they don't try to stop her, they don't threaten her family...nothing. So much potential there and it was completely dropped. Overall, great idea, good writing, sub-par storytelling.
Profile Image for Emily Craven.
Author 13 books83 followers
October 5, 2018
This book was fabulous. I have not read anything like it. It's got a gothic/horror kind of vibe. Considering that it's contemporary but fantasy I'd probably say closest comparable title is Holly Black's Curse Worker series, or maybe her Darkest Part of the Forest novel.

I found it incredibly engaging considering the only small amount of fantasy in the mix (more magic realism than contemporary fantasy). The author does a fabulous job of slowly revealing the intricacies of the small town we find ourselves in, and the main character's obsession with getting her demon back after she has been exocised. It examines young friendships, blossoming love, complex relationships, and what we're willing to sacrifice for someone we love (but may not know as well as we'd hoped). Part mystery, part suspense, part fantasy, and full of the occult, I didn't expect to love this book as much as I did, but I'm glad I requested it as I want to recommend it to everyone.
Profile Image for Kelsey.
305 reviews65 followers
September 10, 2018
***Big thank you to the publisher for sending me an early finished copy in exchange for a honest review***

(Trigger Warning: Attempted rape scene (very brief) and drug abuse)

I REALLY enjoyed this book. A lot. I was pulled in immediately and couldn't put it down. I loved the take on the whole demon/possession subject. I think the writing is beautiful and the author does a great job making you feel for the characters, Clare and her demon.

I will admit, I wish it had been a TAD bit more scary. I mean, it was creepy...but not scary. I finished this book pretty late at night, and fell asleep immediately. I'm a big chicken too when it comes to scary stuff, especially demon related things, but this story didn't bother me.

Clare is a lonely girl who made a friend when she was little and coping with her mother and father being drunks/drug addicts. Clare's demon, who is known as Her, has been Clare's only companion for many many years. Clare's demon soothes her and keeps her company, She protects Clare.

After She saves Clare from a possible horrific event, there is enough proof of Her existence that Clare's stepfather calls for an exorcism. The exorcism, or "deliverance", is a success. Clare's demon is ripped from her and now Clare feels utterly alone. The loneliness is unbearable until one day Clare stumbles upon clues that She left her. Three clues, that's it. Clare has until June 20th to figure out what the clues mean and how to get Her back.

Clare digs into the history of the town and the evil that lurks there. She realizes that not everything is at it seems and people will kill to keep their secrets safe.

The most disturbing part of the book is towards the end when Clare starts to dig up secrets involving the town. The ending was happy, but there were a lot of loose ends that I wish could have been tied up. I have a lot of questions!

This was a great read to kick off my Fall reading. While I still wanted it to be a bit more scary, it all worked and ended up being a great spooky read.
Profile Image for Claire.
798 reviews91 followers
August 18, 2018
I was able to read more than 30% of The Good Demon and realized that it wasn't for me, despite the interesting premise and fascinating illustrations that accompanied the story.

The main character, Clare, felt so alone and only the comfort of her own demon made her feel complete. After she had been exorcised, Clare tried to get "it" back. She discovered some artifacts along the way and started befriending the pastor's son (who also happened to be present during her exorcism). Clare is pretty with green eyes but she was surprisingly alone and desperate for a connection with anyone or ANYTHING. Always looking everywhere for her demon.

And while I found it incredibly disturbing (I'm a Catholic), I liked how this novel wasn't a generic horror/paranormal story. Unfortunately, I didn't find it "gripping" enough to rate this higher than most readers but there is still something worth reading about this story. The author tends to write in a personal way (as if the character is really speaking to its reader) with the right amount of description. Very expressive. I'm recommending this book to those who like weird stories.

*Huge thanks to the publisher at Netgalley for approving my request to read this book in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for The Aspie Author.
124 reviews13 followers
March 31, 2023
When I first read this book, I was going through a mild depression. I didn't know who I was anymore, and that made me even more sad and angry. I felt hopeless, alone, and vengeful. When I read the first few pages, I immediately didn't feel those depressing emotions anymore. It was a short-term break from my mental suffering, and I needed that severely. I felt like someone understood my pain, like Clair. She perfectly describes how depressed and frustrated she was when her demon was exorcised from her. Just like how myself was taken away from me.

I would have to thank Jimmy Cajoleas for writing this book.

This is my 3rd favorite book of all time! And it will stay that way forever!
Profile Image for Kelly Gunderman.
Author 2 books77 followers
October 1, 2018
Check out this, other reviews, and more fun bookish things on my young adult book blog, Here's to Happy Endings!

You know, I love books that give me the unexpected when I read them. I love books that are completely unlike anything else I've read, books that completely bend my mind into thinking other ways and give me a great story that I am hooked on from the very first chapter.

The Good Demon is one such book - it is a book that I had no idea would be written the way it was, with so many interesting elements and plot twists throughout the whole thing. I had no idea that I was going to be so enthralled with the book. The Good Demon was a book I hadn't even heard of until an ARC of it showed up in my mailbox (thank you, Amulet Books!). I put off reading it for a while, figuring that it was going to be good, sure, but I wasn't sure it was going to be something that I would want to finish all in one sitting, quite like it was. I wished I hadn't put off reading it as long as I did, though, because The Good Demon is seriously one of the very best books that I have ever read, hands down.

"She was just a voice inside my voice, a body inside my body, a spirit inside my spirit, my demon. When she spoke I heard Her in my blood, and when She moved I felt Her in my bones."

Clare is not your typical southern girl living with her mother and stepfather - no, in fact, she is quite different. For years, Clare has kept a secret - she has had a demon living inside her. Only this demon isn't an enemy and doesn't hurt Clare. In fact, Clare has come to love her demon, because she keeps Clare safe and is her friend. She can calm her when she is stressed, she is always there when she has had a bad day, and she talks to her when she feels lonely. Clare loves her demon.

Then her father calls the preacher and has an exorcism performed on her, causing Clare to lose her demon. She feels lost and alone without the company of the companion she has always known and loved. She wishes she had a way to bring her back, to set things right and get things back to the way they were, but she has no idea how to go about doing that.

And then, she discovers a clue that might really help her bring her demon back, but it's quite vague, and Clare is left to decipher what it could mean.

"Be nice to him
June 20
Remember the stories"

Clare starts off by reading into the clues left for her, starting with befriending the preacher's son. She figures that "Be nice to him" must mean she should be nice to the preacher's son, so she does so - and then she starts off trying to figure out the remaining clues.

Soon Clare is sneaking out at night, trying to figure out what the other clues could possibly mean. She wonders if she is on a wild goose chase, and if her demon must not have had any idea what she was talking about, but eventually Clare figures it out - and it's a true ride for her.

The Good Demon was such an interesting read. There was huge twist at the end that I didn't see coming, and while I don't know how much I really liked the ending (I was kind of hoping it would have ended differently), I was still surprised. It wrapped things up nicely, and really wasn't the way I expected at all. It was amazing though, and it really completed the story - like I said, plot twists are so much fun.

Some of the chapters in this book are flashbacks to times that Clare spent with her demon, such as times that her demon took control of her body and helped her or went around doing this and that. Those chapters are pretty interesting, too, and I think they add so much to the story. The other chapters are kind of like present day, and together both sections really pull the story together and make it complete.

Clare's character is interesting. The way she talks on the phone to the preacher's son (their conversations were about deep topics), the way she thinks - it's all different from what we're used to and I think it made Clare seem a lot more realistic as a character. Clare really wanted to get her demon back, and she was willing to do pretty much anything at all to make that happen.

I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a book as much as I enjoyed The Good Demon. I thought it was really well written and it flowed nicely, so I was able to enjoy it. I read this book rather quickly, honestly - like in a single night - because it was the kind of book that kept me on the edge of my seat and wouldn't let go until I finished it.

There wasn't a dull moment in this book. If you like your books full of important things going on all the time, and a mystery that you want to try to solve along with the main character, this is the book for you. There are some semi-creepy parts (but with a book with a title like The Good Demon, it's kind of to be expected, right?), but overall this book is about the power of a friendship, even an unlikely one that others don't understand.

After I read this, I immediately ordered the hardcover because it's such a beautiful book and I can't wait to read it again.

Note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Profile Image for Alyson Stone.
Author 4 books61 followers
June 26, 2022
Book: The Good Demon
Author: Jimmy Cajoleas
Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

I found this one at a thrift store and picked it up because it sounded interesting. I will admit though that I had never heard of it until then. This is a horror novel. I think it would be the perfect read around Halloween time and if you are a fan of exorcism books.

We follow Clare, who has an exorcism performed on her. Exorcisms are supposed to make people better and want to move on. However, she isn’t like that. Rather than being glad to be rid of her demon, she wants her back. Throughout the book, we follow Clare on her quest to bring the demon back. The deeper she goes on her quest, the more secrets she discovers. She finds out that her small town isn’t what it seems and is involved in a cult. However, this doesn’t stop her. She will stop at nothing until she has her demon back. Along the way, she befriends Roy, who happens to be the son of the preacher who performed her exorcism. This odd couple makes for a fun ride.

I enjoyed Clare. She isn’t the most likeable person and will do whatever is needed to reach her goals. She goes as far as to hurt people or put them in mortal danger. Now, this isn’t good. However, her determination and how she’s not afraid to achieve her goals is the marking of a strong character. She knows what she wants and she knows what she has to do to get it. At the end of the day, she is grieving. She is grieving for the thing she lost. You see, she thought her demon was the only thing in the world that understand her and what she had been through. Whenever you learn Clare’s backstory, you start to sort of understand why she wants this demon back. She’s lonely and has been through a lot. She has a lot of trauma in her life and wants to be with the one thing who understood. She wants to be with the one thing who she could talk to without being judged. In a teenager’s mind, this is a big thing. They want to feel safe and wanted. They want to have someone to open up to. When you find that, it’s hard to let go even though you know what you want isn’t right.

Clare in dangerous situations will also look to her demon to save and protect her. Like I just got finished saying, she has a lot of trauma in her life. The demon has always been there to help her and get out of those situations. However, Clare does have a decent side. Whenever she first learns of the price to return her demon, she is appealed and decides that it is not worth it. However, she grows angry and changes her mind. After all, it’s just one life. She thinks that one life is worth her happiness and will fix everything. This is something I liked. We bring in moral grounds, but Clare’s quest for happiness makes her push past that. Her quest is all she can think about. She wants the pain to end. I think that for this reason, that may be a good talking point about mental illness. There are parallels here and I think that if you were reading this with a group, it would be a good time to pause and have a chat.

Now, the plot may come across as confusing at times. There were times that I had to go back and reread and think about what I had just read. In the end, it does all come together. To me, this is the mark of a great writer. This shows us how carefully everything was planned out.

Overall, I did enjoy this one. It’s a short read and didn’t take me all that long to get through it.
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