*I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Title: When Life Gives You Demons
Author: Jennifer Honeybourn
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: July 17, 2018
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 for a living, so Shelby keeps her extracurricular activity quiet, especially from Spencer, her cute math tutor. Secrets run in Shelby’s family, though: her mother has been missing ever since an exorcism went horribly wrong, and Uncle Roy is tight-lipped about it. But Shelby’s hell-bent on finding her mom, no matter what—even if what it ends up costing her her soul AND a date with Spencer.
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 grumpy Uncle Roy who is always criticizing her work. Throughout the book, Shelby never really gets a chance to shine and show off her skills, which was kind of sad because I thought she would be this total badass. Instead, this was more of a coming-of-age story in which she is still doubting her abilities to exorcise demons and is also crushing hard on the new guy Spencer at school.
I’ll be honest, take away the demons and you have yourself a cute boy-meets-girl story. I just wish there was more demon action and that Shelby had more of a spotlight. Uncle Roy kept stealing her thunder and I was like NO. BAD UNCLE ROY. Everyone kept trying to shield Shelby from the bad like she was some fragile little girl, but this prevented the growth of her character. In order to learn, she needs to make mistakes, and I feel like she didn’t really get the opportunity to do that.
There definitely could have also been some more action scenes. The book overall kept a pretty steady pace, but I would have liked to have that ‘wow’ moment while reading. One thing I also feel like could have been better was the ending. It felt very low stakes to me and it was almost too easy.
Overall, a cute story filled with demons, fluff, and teen romance and I recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, light read.