Reviews of This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wrobel

This Might Hurt

by Stephanie Wrobel

This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wrobel X
This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wrobel
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Feb 2022, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
David Bahia
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Book Summary

From the USA Today bestselling and Edgar-nominated author of Darling Rose Gold comes a dark, thrilling novel about two sisters - one trapped in the clutches of a cult, the other in a web of her own lies.

Welcome to Wisewood. We'll keep your secrets if you keep ours.

Natalie Collins hasn't heard from her sister in more than half a year.

The last time they spoke, Kit was slogging from mundane workdays to obligatory happy hours to crying in the shower about their dead mother. She told Natalie she was sure there was something more out there.

And then she found Wisewood.

On a private island off the coast of Maine, Wisewood's guests commit to six-month stays. During this time, they're prohibited from contact with the rest of the world—no Internet, no phones, no exceptions. But the rules are for a good reason: to keep guests focused on achieving true fearlessness so they can become their Maximized Selves. Natalie thinks it's a bad idea, but Kit has had enough of her sister's cynicism and voluntarily disappears off the grid.

Six months later Natalie receives a menacing e-mail from a Wisewood account threatening to reveal the secret she's been keeping from Kit. Panicked, Natalie hurries north to come clean to her sister and bring her home. But she's about to learn that Wisewood won't let either of them go without a fight.

1
Natalie

January 6, 2020

I stand at the head of the conference table. The chairs around me are filled with men: short, tall, fat, bald, polite, skeptical. I direct the close of my pitch to the CEO, who has spent fifty minutes of my sixty-minute presentation playing with his phone and the other ten frowning at me. He is past his prime, trying to disguise the fact with hair plugs and a bottled tan.

"Using this new strategy," I say, "we're confident we will make your brand the number one beer with men twenty-one to thirty-four years old."

The CEO leans forward, mouth slightly ajar as if a cigar is usually perched there. He oversees a household-name beer that's been losing market share to craft breweries for years. As sales have slipped, my new agency has found itself on thinner and thinner ice with this client.

He looks me up and down, sneers a little. "With all due respect, what makes you think you"--he spits the word like it's a shit sandwich--"can get inside the mind of our man?"

I ...

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The chain of events is linear but alternates rhythmically between the past and present. Chilling scenes of former childhood trauma and parental manipulation intermix with suspense in the present as Natalie first steps onto the frozen grounds of Wisewood in the dead of winter. During her search for her sister, she encounters an eclectic range of personalities among the island's shaved-headed staff, whose artificial smiles thinly mask their mistrust of outsiders. She hears conversations of the great "Teacher" who founded and leads the Wisewood program, yet the Teacher herself is nowhere to be found. Only after stumbling upon a truth she was never meant to find does Natalie learn that she is not the only person there with a secret she would rather keep buried...continued

Full Review Members Only (636 words).

(Reviewed by David Bahia).

Media Reviews

Newsweek
The mastermind behind last year's Darling Rose Gold returns with a second, equally sinister feat…Fans of Liane Moriarty's Nine Perfect Strangers will adore this.

Shondaland
Wrobel once again proves to be a master at crafting thrillers.

Booklist (starred review)
Wrobel has honed her writing style even more sharply since her strong debut novel...and is again delivering her readers a 'ripped from the headlines' story. This Might Hurt contains moments and characters recognizable to those familiar with the NXVIM cult and its downfall, although the twists and turns are all Wrobel's own, and will leave readers guessing until the very end.

Library Journal (starred review)
It's hard not to fall under the spell of Wisewood, or Wrobel's mesmerizing, edge-of-your-seat storytelling. A deep dive into psychological abuse and manipulation and their long-lasting emotional and mental tolls; will certainly leave a mark.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
[O]utstanding...Some of Houdini's mentalist feats play a significant role as the action builds to final bombshell revelations. Fans of Liane Moriarty's Nine Perfect Strangers will want to check this out.

Kirkus Reviews
With her second novel, the author of Darling Rose Gold (2020) brings more multi-point-of-view fun to thriller fans...A taut thriller that examines the twin legacies of trauma and grief.

Author Blurb Ashley Audrain, New York Times bestselling author of The Push
This Might Hurt is a mesmerizing and original ride! Expertly paced, hugely unsettling, and perfectly dark, you'll be gripped in this clever exploration of fear and vulnerability right until the flawless ending—one you'll most certainly want to talk about.

Author Blurb Margarita Montimore, USA Today bestselling author of Oona Out of Order
A sharp and intriguing look at reinvention and self-empowerment. This Might Hurt follows three women, each confronting her own set of fears, with revelations and consequences that are unexpected and chilling, right up to the jaw-dropping finale. Dark and twisted in all the right places, I did not want to stop reading this book.

Author Blurb Tarryn Fisher, New York Times bestselling author of The Wives
A gut wrenching, propulsive story about vulnerability and power. It was impossible to put down.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Wellness Retreats

Women doing yoga on a beach The events of This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wrobel take place predominantly at Wisewood, a fictional island retreat off the coast of Maine that purportedly focuses on self-improvement techniques and conquering one's inner fears. The concept of a mental health "retreat" is by no means foreign to Americans, and wellness tourism has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry globally. Given this, self-improvement retreats reminiscent of Wisewood in either form or function are not only conceivable but already among a range of available options for those on the quest for a transformative vacation experience.

"Wellness tourism" is an unofficial umbrella term for any and all travel oriented towards one's well-being, often with an emphasis on...

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