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This Might Hurt

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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.

336 pages, Hardcover

First published February 22, 2022

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About the author

Stephanie Wrobel

3 books1,173 followers
Stephanie Wrobel is the author of Darling Rose Gold, a USA Today and international bestseller that has sold in twenty-one countries and was shortlisted for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. Wrobel grew up in Chicago and now lives in London. This Might Hurt is her second novel.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,499 reviews
Profile Image for Meredith (Trying to catch up!).
815 reviews12.7k followers
November 21, 2021
Cold, Calculating, and a Little Bland

3.5 stars

"Nobody cared about the pawns. They were too busy watching the queen."

This Might Hurt
is about a cult focused on overcoming fear, its mysterious leader, and the woman in her thrall.

I am not going to get into the plot. It’s your typical cult leader/devotee story with a concerned family member trying to rescue the devotee. However, what makes this stand out is that the cult leader is a very intriguing woman.

The way the events unfold is a little confusing. There are several narrators and several parts to this book. There is one narrator whose identity is unknown for quite some time. For me, it seemed like Wroebel was trying to infuse a twist into the narrative with the unknown narrator, but when it was revealed, it was just rather ho-hum.

This book has all the makings of a solid psychological thriller: it is well-written, intriguing, and a little weird (in a good way), but it wasn't all that thrilling, and something was lacking; I didn’t care for any of the characters, some parts lagged, and the ending fell flat. At the same time, it is well-written and intriguing, especially in the beginning, in which I was enthralled with the story of the unknown narrator.

This Might Hurt was a mixed bag for me. Still, I give it props for some elements of originality and strong writing.

Thank you to Elisha Katz, Berkley Books, and NetGalley for sending me an ARC of this book!
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,306 reviews44k followers
May 26, 2022
Well, after devouring “Darling Rose Gold” in one sit, I was so happy to add another brilliant author at my favorite women thriller writers who scare the living daylights out of me list. Stephanie Wrobel can surprise you with her mentally disturbed characters who can easily make your precious jaws drop with their extreme and impressively bad shit crazy actions!

This book promises a great mash up of Courtney Summer’s Project meets Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers ( the adapted series can be watched at Hulu. It’s freaking scary! I screamed for 20 minutes after seeing Nicole Kidman’s ultra Botox-Ed face and confused her with a creature which is combination of Gollum and Gandalf! )

Let’s discuss my feelings about this book: I loved the fast, intriguing beginning and I enjoyed the blood freezing, WTH conclusion. But I think book’s direction got wavered a little bit. The different timelines of multiple POVs make you confused. This kind of story telling is smart but it can be also too complex for you to focus on the main conflicts and big revelations.

Especially the big revelation about Natalie’s part was a little bit disappointed and not so earth shatteringly surprising. The timelines and the details about Kit, young lady we don’t know her true identity who becomes fearless magician with the triggering impacts of her sadistic father and Kit’s POVs already fill your mind. You just get far away from the main story and you get tossed around the characters’ inner dilemmas, their fights with their inner demons. Their common point is both of them are emotionally disturbed characters who have different and a little delusional defense mechanisms to survive!

The story opens up Natalie, a shark, boss b*tch’s presentation at the meeting with local brewery company executives. She shows her true colors and I liked her instantly.

After the meeting Nat receives an email from the special retreat center her sister Kit checked in six months ago when she was hardly dealing with her emotional breakdown after her mother’s dying from big C.

The place’s name is Wisewood located on private island off the coast off the Maine. The guests are prohibited to contact with outer world: no cellphones, no internet, no visitors ( thanks but no thanks) the mysterious account owner from Wisewood threatens Nat to reveal the ugly secret she has been keeping from her sister if she doesn’t go to the island immediately.

Nat acts quickly to take the ferry, dealing with Gordon, right hand of retreat’s founder to talk with her sister! She is so adamant to face her and tell the big secret before she hears from someone else.

But the island already gives her haunted and excessively claustrophobic vibes: it seems like somebody watches her every move and the crew members of the Wisewood have stern and vicious methods to force you test your own survival skills.

Till the first third of the book: we read Natalie’s and a mysterious young lady’s POV ( she has also a sister which made me think if I’m reading Kit’s POV but a few pages later I realized she was someone else and we find out her identity -or guess- when we reach the first third) who has traumatic experiences because of her mentally sick father’s horrifying grading system. She thinks turning into Houdini is the only way to escape from her terrifying childhood. She has to confront her own fears.

As I told before: at the second third we start to read Kit’s and the mysterious fearless lady’s POV. As I start to read those parts, I think I lost my focus. Thankfully at the end: the author wrapped up the entire execution brilliantly.

I loved claustrophobic island theme: I wish the story was told with less POVs because there are enough materials for this book to write two separate novels!

I’m still rounding up 3.5 stars to 4! I enjoyed Darling Rose Gold more but I still enjoyed it’s one creepy location and cult themes of the book.

Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,198 reviews3,038 followers
February 21, 2022
This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wrobel

I got off on the wrong foot with This Might Hurt by not realizing that there were three narrators for this story. There are various timelines throughout the book and the narration of sisters, Natalie and Kit. Then there is another narrator, unnamed until later in the book, whose timeline I didn't understand until towards the end of the story. I'm not sure if understanding things sooner would have helped me enjoy the story more but I know my confusion kept me from caring as much about Natalie and Kit.

Natalie has always been saving her younger sister from herself and her unwise choices. So it seems like a bad joke when Kit decides to give up her latest low level job to spend six months at a place called Wisewood. Six months shut off from the internet, phone service, any contact with the rest of the world. No word from Kit at all, during that time. Then Natalie gets an email from Wisewood threatening to tell Kit something that Natalie did, something that Natalie is ready to confess to Kit.

Off Natalie goes to the private island where Wisewood is located. What Natalie finds is beyond creepy, with "cult" written all over it. Shaved heads, no touching, spartan quarters, and no answers. The question is, "can Natalie escape this place with her sister in tow"? Finally, towards the end of the book, I caught on to what the third narration was telling me. Say no to cults, folks, nothing good comes from being one of the "followers".

Publication: February 22nd 2022

Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley
Profile Image for Kat (semi-hiatus until October).
242 reviews664 followers
June 3, 2022
This Might Hurt? No. Unfortunately, This Did Hurt.

In a past timeline, there are two sisters who grew up with a deeply depressive mother and a sadistic, abusive father, Sir, who mentally manipulated and controlled them through daily tasks ranging from innocuous to cruel, supposedly designed to position them for success later in life. These girls couldn’t wait to get away from their father, and for 25% of the book while I debated whether to DNF, I couldn’t wait to get away from him too. Parents being cruel to children … grrr. I don’t want to read it, no matter how it serves the plot.

In a current timeline, successful businesswoman Natalie has received a menacing email saying that her sister Kit is at an idyllic sounding self-improvement retreat called Wisewood on a little island off the coast of Maine and that this individual is aware of a secret Nat wouldn’t want Kit to discover. In an effort to do damage control and protect her estranged sister, Nat visits the reclusive island, where it quickly becomes clear that all is not well in this place where the enigmatic leader and inner circle train participants to become their “Maximized Selves”. What becomes of these two sisters and how do the two timelines connect? You’ll have to read and find out.

I’ll leave it at that and just get to what did and didn’t work for me.

What worked:

Wrobel writes decently and the characters were all interesting and well-portrayed, despite being unlikable.

The idea was solid and the twists and reveals were clever.

It has some decent nuggets of wisdom about fear and vulnerability.

What didn’t work:

The cult plot just wasn’t doing it for me. I can read about real-life cults all day long, but for whatever reasons, I don’t like it in fiction.

The story is fairly slow and there’s no real sense of dread or menace. At best I got the tiniest bit of creepy vibes, but nothing that had me on the edge of my seat.

One of the characters is into magic and later, mentalism. That’s not my jam, so the only magic trick I wanted to see is for that part of the story to disappear.

The ending felt a bit rushed and anti-climactic, leaving me without a sense of resolution.

I have no doubt this was just a story with too many elements and triggers that I personally don’t enjoy and less about the author’s skill at writing, so I’ll still watch for more by Wrobel. Plenty of users have really enjoyed this, so please check out those reviews as well!

★★ ½

Thanks to Berkley Publishing, NetGalley and author Stephanie Wrobel for this digital ARC. I’ve given my honest and unbiased thoughts. This is due for publication on February 22, 2022.
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,127 reviews3,713 followers
October 31, 2021
Looking for a retreat to get away from it all? Well folks, perhaps Wisewood is just the place you’re looking for! Just beware of the small print in the brochure…you’ll have zero communication with the outside world. And let’s hope you don’t feel privacy is at all important. Because there’s a good chance they’ll be watching you!🥸

Natalie and Kit are two sisters that went in polar-opposite directions. Natalie, successful in business, while Kit has constantly floundered.

After receiving a cryptic email threatening to expose a deep secret, Natalie races to the island retreat where Kit has been living for months. It’s imperative she find Kit and come clean before it’s too late.

An entertaining, captivating thriller. I loved the ‘cultish’ vibe of Westwood as well as Natalie’s quest to ‘save’ her sister.

The storyline is told from two separate timelines, which I found easy to keep straight. As the story develops, you can feel serious tension building to what you know will be a great ending! And yes, it fits perfectly.

Already looking forward to more from this author.

A thrilling buddy read with Susanne.

Posted to: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend...

Thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing via Netgalley for an ARC to read and review
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,612 reviews10.7k followers
March 22, 2023
**2.5-stars rounded up**

Hoping for a fresh start, Kit Collins signs up for Wisewood, purportedly a Wellness Retreat, set on a remote island off the coast of Maine. This could be just what she needs to get her floundering life in order.

Initially, her stay was to be 6-months, where she would be completely cut off from the outside world, including from her older sister, Natalie.

Natalie, pretty much her younger sister's opposite, is a successful business woman with a fairly structured life.

All that gets thrown for a loop, however, on the day Natalie receives a seemingly threatening email stemming from Wisewood: We know what you did. Would you like to come tell your sister - or should we?

That's enough convincing for her. Natalie packs her bags and off she goes on a mission to save Kit; and let's be honest, to save her secret too.

Over the course of this story, we follow both Natalie and Kit's perspectives, but we also get a historical perspective from an unknown third character.

Eventually, the person's identity is revealed, but basically, this perspective is following a charming little girl being psychologically abused by her domineering Father.

Most interesting to me was following along with Natalie as she arrives at Wisewood and slowly deciphers what it is all about. The whole-vibe is quite cultish and I feel like Wrobel did a nice job with that.

I also really enjoyed the historical perspective of the little girl, growing up the way she did and what she chose to do with her life.

In other areas though, this fell short of my expectations. The pace was quite uneven for me, with my interest level waxing and waning heavily throughout. By the end, I really couldn't be bothered to care anymore.

I finished this 2-weeks ago and already have completely forgotten what the big secret was. That's not a great sign.

Wrobel definitely has a knack for exploring complicated familial relationships. They certainly abound in this story.

Truthfully, some of the circumstances are difficult to read, so if you feel like you could be sensitive to any plot involving significant mental abuse, and at times physical danger, you may want to proceed with caution.

Overall, I personally could have used higher stakes with a lot more suspense and intrigue. This is still a solid story, if a bit lackluster. With this being said, I'm sure many Readers will enjoy it. Sadly, it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Please don't take my word for it though. As we all know, reading is highly subjective. If the synopsis sounds interesting to you, pick it up and give it a go!

Thank you to the publisher, Berkley Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

Even though this one didn't quite knock it out of the park for me, I still enjoy Wrobel's writing and ideas. I would definitely pick up future works from her.
Profile Image for Liz.
2,143 reviews2,760 followers
December 2, 2021
2.5 stars, rounded down
I was a big fan of Darling Rose Gold. Wrobel obviously has a thing for twisted parent-child relationships. In This Might Hurt, Natalie is a workaholic with no life outside her job. But when her sister, Kit, disappears for months into a “self improvement retreat”, Natalie feels forced to get involved. Especially after she receives an email threatening to expose a long held secret to her sister.
The POV changes between Natalie and Kit. There are also chapters told from the perspective of a daughter of a tyrannical, diabolical father. Imagine having to accrue enough activity points to be allowed to sleep at night. It takes awhile to figure out who this daughter is.
There are several mysteries here. What did Natalie do to her sister? Why is Kit so messed up she needs this retreat? Whose history are we reading? And what exactly is going on at this retreat? One by one, it becomes obvious what the answers are.
I struggled to stay engaged once the story moved to the retreat, which spends way too much time on the retreat’s teachings. It quickly becomes obvious this place is some sort of weird cult.
I am starting to realize that psychological thrillers just don’t work for me anymore. I found this story uneven, even annoying at times. I had no respect for any of the characters. The ending, in particular, really didn’t work for me.
I’ll give Wrobel another chance, based on Darling Rose Gold.
My thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing for an advance copy of this book.
Profile Image for Ceecee.
2,081 reviews1,661 followers
September 28, 2021
Wowza, what a start, this is one ticking time bomb of a book! In January 2020 Natalie Collins pitches to a misogynist CEO and board, she’s capable and very driven but where’s the fun Natalie?? Her sister Kit is at Wisewood on an isolated island off Maine doing a six month self improvement programme. This entails achieving a level of fearlessness to become their Maximised Selves. Yes, indeed. Natalie gets an email which is threatening in tone, this demands she comes to Wisewood to confess what she did to her sister or ‘they’ would tell her. What has Natalie done? She’s in control until she’s not. She rushes to Maine where she’s about to learn that she’s up against way more than she bargains for.

This is one book you won’t forget in a hurry, it certainly makes you reflect on human nature, on control and manipulation and how far we’re prepared to go as human beings. It is utterly chilling in places, there are several elements to the story that blow your mind as well as different levels and interpretations of how things hurt and oh boy, do they hurt in manifest ways. Wisewood is one weird place, it gives off unsettling cultish vibes, it’s claustrophobic and gives you goosebumps. However, it does force Natalie to consider the way she’s treated Kit over the years and acknowledge it. There is one point of view that is very unsettling, a life of punishment, of extremes in order to be brave, to prove certain points and that is a tough read as it’s meant to be. There are some good reveals in the novel but for one in particular I hope for more, it’s a bit disappointing but by the same token it is believable. What an enigmatic conclusion! My mind is working overtime and I’m actually glad it’s not made absolutely clear or flagged with complete certainty as it’s just more to think about which I really like.

My only minor negative is that it’s hard on occasions to work out whose who in the different timelines and it’s a bit confusing at times. However, the further you progress through the novel it does all click into place.

Overall, this is a novel that is very hard to put down. Stephanie Wrobel has a way of pulling you into a narrative and not letting you go, she is a very talented author in my opinion. This one really makes you think especially about the human spirit and it’s one I’ll certainly keep reflecting on.

With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Penguin Michael Joseph for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Melissa (Semi-hiatus Very Behind).
4,648 reviews2,114 followers
February 19, 2022
2.5 stars, rounded up

Like many other people, I adored the darkness of Darling Rose Gold. It was twisty in the best possible way for me. This one, unfortunately, doesn't even come close to that.

In trying to figure out what didn't work for me, I came to the conclusion that there was just too much build up and not enough payoff.

We have three points of view: Natalie, the responsible older sibling, Kit, her younger sister who has left for a wellness retreat on a remote island for six months, and an unknown (at first) female who we are introduced to as a child being abused by her domineering father. It soon becomes apparent as to who this child is, and although those sections were the most difficult to read, they were the most compelling of the story. I found Kit and Natalie to be rather one-dimensional.

However even with the slow, slow build, the payoff in the end isn't what it could have been. I was expecting an ending like Darling Rose Gold with everything clicking together, but it didn't turn out that way, and the ending is a bit ambiguous (ugh).

It wasn't a bad book, but just not as good as I was hoping it would be. I will still read more by this author because she definitely crafts unique tales.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Lindsay L.
679 reviews1,323 followers
April 5, 2022
4 stars!

Shocking and strangely addictive!

Cults. Sisterly bonds. Magic. Self reflection. Childhood trauma. Unconventional therapy. Isolation. These are a few of the focal points of this twisted, disturbing and absorbing tale. This novel revolves around the love and loyalty between sisters. The characters were remarkable and memorable.

This is a plot I will NEVER forget. It was unique, bizarre, uncomfortable, creepy and kept me guessing. In many ways you must suspend your disbelief to read this (usually a deal breaker for me), however, the story is so eerie and engrossing that I was consumed and curious from start to finish. The writing is excellent! Told in dual timelines and multiple narratives, the stories wove seamlessly together.

Though I loved the previous release by this author, Darling Rose Gold, slightly more than this, I highly recommend checking this one out too!

Thank you to Berkley for my review copy!
Profile Image for Jasmine.
260 reviews281 followers
February 22, 2022
This Might Hurt might be the slow burn of all slow burns.

Sisters Natalie and Kit Collins have drifted apart since their mother passed away. While Natalie has refocused her energy into her job, Kit decided to join a wellness retreat of sorts for six months. Located on a remote island off the coast of Maine, communication with the outside world is strictly prohibited. No cell phones, no internet, nothing.

Fast forward six months, Natalie receives an ominous email that has her rushing to the island desperately wanting to talk with Kit. And the story unfolds from there.

This story has multiple POVs, timelines, and parts. The identity of one character does not get revealed until a good way through the book, which I found a little confusing.

I was so excited to get approved for this arc, but unfortunately, I had to push myself to finish it. For a thriller novel, I found it lacked tension and urgency. What was supposed to be fraught with unease came across as dull. The ending was a nail-biter, but it came too late.

Although this wasn’t as compelling as Darling Rose Gold, I will definitely read the author’s next release.

I recommend this book if you’re looking for a slowly-paced suspenseful novel featuring a cult-like group.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing an arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for JaymeO.
408 reviews304 followers
December 11, 2021
“Sometimes you live like life is a punishment.”

I absolutely loved Stephanie Wrobel’s debut, Darling Rose Gold. When I saw she had a new book coming out, I was frantic to get my hands on it. It is obvious that Wrobel has an affinity for writing tales about different types of child abuse. However, This Might Hurt did not live up to her debut.

Wrobel’s writing strength is in showing how the trauma of abusive childhoods negatively impacts an individual’s ability to appropriately grow and mature. This is executed brilliantly in both the characters of Rose Gold and Rebecca. It is this reason that I really became invested in Rebecca’s backstory. However, I was unable to emotionally connect with Kit and Natalie. I wish the plot had just focused on Rebecca because the subplot didn’t add anything for me.

I also found the dueling timelines in this book to be very confusing and distracting at times. I was actually more than a third of the way through the book before I realized who all of the characters were. If the intent was to include a surprise element, I don’t think that it was very successful.

Finally, the reveal of the secret was just not that shocking and I did not care for the ending.

However, I am inspired to invent my own mantra!

“I am goddamn invincible.” -Madame Fearless

3/5 stars

Thank you to Edelweiss and Berkley Publishing for the ARC of This Might Hurt in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Carolyn Walsh .
1,542 reviews595 followers
January 6, 2022
I enjoyed author Stephanie Wrobel's previous book, 'Darling Rose Gold.' This one, not so much. The author spins a complex tale of a sibling relationship, overcoming fear and pain, child emotional and psychological abuse, stage magic, mind control, cults, self-empowerment, and letting go of the past. The book's format did not work well for me. I found ts structure convoluted and disjointed. The story moves back and forth in time. The chapters are told from the perspective of Nat and later her sister, Kit. There are also chapters describing an unnamed person's abusive childhood and later adult struggles. The delayed reveal of the identity of the unnamed person seemed contrived.

The story focuses on Kit, a meek, discontented woman who is grief-stricken and feels guilt over her mother's death. She decides to take a self-improvement course at a retreat. The course is taught at Wisewood, on a small island off the coast of Maine. After six months, Kit has not returned, and her sister Nat cannot contact her because cell phones and computers are forbidden during the stay at Wisewood. Nat, the more successful sister, decides to go to the retreat and bring Kit home. She has been the more forceful sister and has always felt protective of Kit. She has received an email stating that the writer knows a secret that Nat has withheld from Kit, and she must confess it to her sister or the person on the island threatens to reveal it. I found this part not as compelling as the story of Rebecca.

When Nat arrives on the island, she is clearly not welcome. She gets eerie vibes and feels she is being watched. Someone has been in the room assigned to her. She finds that Kit has become a part of a weird cult with strange rituals and disturbing group dynamics. The cult leader is a woman named Rebecca, and the aim is to bring distraught group members to their 'Maximized Self' through conquering fear and pain. Kit explains to her sister that she has never been happier and intends to remain on the island. She has gained status and prestige within the cult. The characters range from the bland to the easily manipulated and to the deranged.

The story moved slowly until the last third, with some danger, shocking twists and reveals. Will Nat be able to convince Kit to leave? The stunning conclusion was open-ended.
Much thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster, Canada, for the opportunity to read an ARC of 'This Might Hurt' in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,230 reviews1,564 followers
February 25, 2022
This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wrobel is a thriller novel. The story in This Might Hurt is one that is told in different timelines and by changing the point of view between the characters with one being an unknown character with a late reveal.

Sisters Natalie and Kit have been out of touch for the last six months with Kit having gone off to a private retreat known as Wisewood. Natalie has always looked out for Kit so when she gets a note from Kit she immediately heads out to Wisewood to find her sister not letting the remote setting and unwelcoming residents get in her way.

I really thought that his Might Hurt by Stephanie Wrobel would be a book that was right up my alley and I’d fall in love with it but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. This one was sort of confusing with the timelines and point of view changes that I’d often find myself trying to figure it out and I never really felt connected with the characters due to this. By the end I found that some parts were actually likable so it was a shame that it got off to the rocky start leaving my rating at two and a half stars.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,482 reviews7,778 followers
February 4, 2022
Some people guzzle the Kool-Aid when they should take sips.

After experiencing Munchausen’s by proxy via Darling Rose Gold I knew I was going to be the first in line for whatever Stephanie Wrobel came up with next. I didn’t bother reading a blurb or anything before requesting an early copy. And then I got one! The gods smile upon me!!!!!! Now all I have to say is . . . .

The story here is that Natalie’s sister Kit has been out of touch for over six months. While Natalie knew Kit was signing up for some sort of hippie dippie “wellness retreat” sort of place off the coast of Maine, she can’t figure out why Kit wouldn’t bother reaching out just to say she’s okay. Now Natalie has received an email from someone at Wisewood threatening to expose a secret she has been keeping from her sister so she takes it upon herself to show up in person to not only find out of Kit is really doing alright, but also to confess what she’s been hiding.

So I’m going to be completely honest here and say the big “secret” wasn’t a real humdinger for me and also when it came to the subplot regarding . . . .

It took me a bit out of my culty yum yum mindset. But that’s just a personal preference. I’m not a fan of “mindbenders” or illusionists and I’d rather join a cult myself than even have a cup of coffee with a weirdo like David Blaine. So take that gripe with several grains of salt. This story kept my attention right from the start despite me not being gung-ho for magic tricks and I looooooooooooved the grand finale.

4 Stars.

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!
Profile Image for Frank Phillips.
528 reviews262 followers
April 8, 2022

This Might Hurt was such a crazy read for me! At times I felt this was a story about a cult and its’ egomaniacal leader, then I thought it might develop into a murder mystery, then I thought it was a tale of revenge, then I swore it was just about a pair of sisters who experienced a very turbulent family upbringing, resulting in a very strained relationship as adults…eventually I realized it was just a little bit of everything, all wrapped up into one BEAUTIFUL green hardback! Was this a good thing, or was it too much? I’m probably still deciding!

As we begin this story Natalie has received a very cryptic and threatening email from an anonymous source, leading her to track down her little sister Kit, who has been off the grid at an island retreat called Wisewood for the past six months. Is Kit in danger? This is something Natalie is determined to find out as she makes the journey to the isolated and very private island off the coast of Maine. Almost immediately it’s made very clear that she is unwanted, and the retreat is available by invite only, and outsiders are not to be trusted. But why? All this does is naturally increase Natalie’s anxiety over Kit’s welfare.

This suddenly led to the first shift in perspectives. This unknown perspective is told from years earlier and is that of a young woman who is raised in a very unconventional household in which her father forces her and her older sister to endure several tests of bravery to gage her level of fear. She is either granted or deducted points based off her performance, leading to an unhealthy and frankly hard to read at times coming of age side story.

The next perspective is that of Kit’s, told from six months earlier leading up to present day, as she first arrives at Wisewood, meeting the retreat’s charismatic leader Rebecca, also referred to as Teacher. Kit is insecure and unhappy with her life and has come to Wisewood looking for a way to make her mundane existence more fulfilling. Almost immediately she gravitates to Teacher and becomes one of her most dedicated disciples in route to achieving what is called her ‘Maximized Self.’ As Teacher’s favorite, Kit is forced to endure what I would simply call a variety of mind games (called Q1 & Q2), but is she really as damaged, vulnerable and naïve as she appears?

Last, but definitely not least, we get a few very brief but informative glimpses into Teacher's perspective. Is she truly as delusional, vain and unlikable as she comes across for the majority of the novel, or is there another more amiable side to her? Is she in fact simply misunderstood and a victim of her circumstances? Yes, she encourages her WW disciples to continually strive to overcome their deepest fears and shame in order to be invincible and in turn 'truly maximized,' but is that all? What are her true motivations??

When Natalie arrives, the proverbial sh*t hits the fan, and secrets new and old are unearthed, resulting into a climactic ending… or did it? In a way I was satisfied with the ending, but at the same time I was kind of left craving more. To me it felt like there was a fair amount of build-up for not as much pay-off, depending on your expectations. I can certainly appreciate the polarizing reviews now that I’ve finished this one. One thing I can confidently say is that this read much differently than Wrobel’s debut, Darling Rose Gold, and for the most part I really did enjoy it. I was intrigued throughout, not knowing which direction this one would take. If the ending had been a bit more embellished (that may not be the best word), I would have left this one feeling like it was a definite 5-Star Read, instead of the 4-Stars I gave it. All in all, I would definitely recommend this to those looking for a suspense/mystery that covers a variety of different themes!
Profile Image for Chelsea | thrillerbookbabe.
527 reviews695 followers
October 12, 2021
First of all, thank you to Berkley Publishing and Stephanie Wrobel for my ARC of this book that comes out on February 22, 2022. Welcome to Wisewood, where we keep your secrets if you keep ours. Wisewood is a private island off the coast of Maine where people can go for six months to get away from it all. Some people are struggling with anxiety, others drug abuse, but no matter the cause, Wisewood touts that it is the solution.

Maybe that’s why Natalie Collins hasn’t heard from her sister in half a year. The last time they spoke, her sister Kit told Natalie that there has to be more to life than a 9-5 job, and then she disappeared. When Natalie receives a threatening email, she knows she has to go find Kit. Someone is going to reveal a dark secret that Natalie thought she buried and she has to get to Kit before they do.

Thoughts: There is so much more to this book than originally meets the eye. Not only is the origin of Wisewood intriguing and captivating, but the characters in this story wrap the reader up from the start. The multiple perspectives are all interesting and start to build a story that comes together to shock and awe the reader.

This Might Hurt dives into the origin of our fear. It looks at what humans are afraid of and why. This book examines the human condition and boils down to the universal truth that we just want to be loved for who we are. Though this book has an undercurrent of many complex and interesting themes, it is a fun story and is fast-paced from start to finish.

This book goes beyond Wrobel’s first novel in many ways. I loved the themes of control and manipulation and the deeper questions such as how far can you push someone. Anyone who enjoys a hypnotic and cult themed book will immediately be drawn to This Might Hurt. Wrobel has quickly shot to the top of my list of favorite authors, and we can be sure she has many great books to come. 5-stars!

First available on mysteryandsuspense.com
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,168 reviews37.3k followers
November 4, 2021
Review posted to blog:https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend...

Sisters, as if that relationship wasn’t complicated enough. Throw in a cult and anarchy ensues!

The day Natalie receives an email from Wisewood, the island retreat her sister Kit took off for a few months prior, threatening to reveal something Natalie would rather keep from Kit is the day Natalie takes off for a private island on the coast of Maine. Natalie has no idea what’s in store. Wisewood isn’t like any of those other wellness retreats you’ve heard about or been to. Their goal is to teach their guests to become their Maximized Selves by becoming fearless, specifically by letting go of the pain and suffering they’ve been carrying for years. Their methods for doing so, however, are wild.

Kit has embraced this way of life and has come into her own at Wisewood, just like so many others before her.

Dark, disturbing, and entertaining at times, I was enthralled by several of the characters, yet some of the storyline dragged a bit and left me a tad confused. Though I didn’t quite love this book as much as Stephanie Wrobel’s Darling Rose Gold, I enjoyed This Might Hurt and look forward to her next book.
3.5 Stars

A buddy read with Kaceey.

Thanks to Elisha at Berkley Publishing Group for the arc.

Published on Goodreads, NetGalley, and Twitter.
Profile Image for Erin Clemence.
1,109 reviews323 followers
February 4, 2022
Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication date: Feb. 22, 2022

Stephanie Wrobel’s “Darling Rose Gold” was one of my favourite debuts, and I knew it would be a hard one to follow. Wrobel’s newest novel, “This Might Hurt” is calculating, curious and completely unique, full of family dysfunction, in the way we have come to expect from this author.

After struggling with the loss of her mother, Kit finds escape in a “resort” called Wisewood, led by the “Teacher” Rebecca. Finally able to find her footing and start over, Kit is willing to put her family and friends behind her, especially her estranged sister, Natalie, and make Wisewood a permanent fixture in her life. But Natalie has other ideas and is desperate to find her sister and bring her home, especially after receiving an email threatening to reveal all of Natalie’s secrets to Kit, including the one Natalie did not want her to ever find out about.

Wisewood is a seemingly innocuous “retreat” on a deserted island, claiming to “completely transform” its guests after their six month stay. Upon further investigation, of course, it is quite obvious that Wisewood is a cult, with a manipulative leader and obliging followers. “This Might Hurt” not only explores the cult life, but also provides the reader with the history of Rebecca, its founder and leader, which was completely engaging for me and highly entertaining. Of course, the relationship between Kit and Natalie was dysfunctional, as a result of parental neglect and abuse, which leaves Kit wide open to be taken under Rebecca’s wing and groomed to be part of the Wisewood community.

The story is told from the perspective of Kit and Natalie, in reverse order, from when Natalie begins her search for Kit to when Kit was initially recruited into Wisewood. As well, there are snippers of another character’s perspective, too, whose identity is not revealed until later on.

“This Might Hurt” has a unique, magical aspect to it, too, that is reminiscent of “Now You See Me”, with one of the protagonists setting out on a childhood dream of becoming a magician, against her parents’ wishes. This is one of those novels where information is revealed slowly, and seems to be out of place and random, but it is all brought together beautifully at the end.

Right from the beginning, I was pulled in, and as the novel ebbed and flowed, my curiousity was only piqued further. The ending hit like a sucker punch, and it provided an unexpected conclusion to the story. Wrobel had one heck of a challenge in writing a sophomore novel on the heels of such a gritty and disturbing novel as “Darling Rose Gold” but I think “This Might Hurt” is just the novel to do it.
Profile Image for Mary.
1,568 reviews507 followers
March 18, 2022
I continue to be a little unsure of how I feel about Stephanie Wrobel, and This Might Hurt really didn't help me out with that. I have to say that I was completely addicted to this book the entire time and I thought it was a super quick read, but at the same time, something was missing. It's funny because a lot of people I talked to weren't huge fans of the past chapters, but those were actually the parts I loved most of all. For potential spoiler's sake, I won't say who they were about, but I spent basically the entire time wondering who’s past it was, and who took such extreme risks later in life. Eventually, I did put it together, and although it wasn't a huge surprise, it was still pretty crazy to think about. There was also something insanely great about Wisewood, and I wish Wrobel had given us way more details about it.

I really liked Natalie's viewpoint and I also found myself wishing I had more of it. The majority of the story is told from another POV (the one I couldn't figure out who it was), and those parts when they were set in the past were on the verge of heartbreaking. There is abuse set in these pages, and while it wasn't exactly the same as what I experienced growing up, I could definitely understand it and I liked the way Wrobel was able to capture it. Overall though, I really just wanted more of the present-day including Natalie's character. I loved the mystery surrounding what happened to Kit and what exactly Wisewood was, but the execution was lacking for me and there are lots of unanswered questions that remain.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Profile Image for Darla.
3,513 reviews618 followers
February 12, 2022
Principle I: I want to live a life in which I am free.
Principle II: As long as I fear, I cannot be free.
Principle III: I must eliminate any obstacles that impede my path to freedom.

Welcome to Wisewood. Teacher will help you to overcome your panic attacks, your addictions, your guilt, your . . . . Natalie's sister Kit has gone to Wisewood for a 6-month regimen. A cryptic email from Wisewood to Natalie makes her fear for Kit's wellbeing. Natalie has a secret and this may be her last chance to come clean. Once she gets there, things will not be so simple. Teacher says the island is a safe haven and those in the Inner Circle believe in her. But what if it is really prison? Peer pressure is real and wanting to be Teacher's Pet can be quite a motivator. Do you want to be free? Are you afraid? What obstacles are impeding your path? This might hurt. . .

Thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Gary.
2,674 reviews375 followers
September 8, 2021
I was drawn to this novel after reading the excellent reviews but for me it never quite got any better than three stars. I did enjoy the writing and the characters were good but it felt a little slow and confusing. I find myself in the minority and feel sure many people will disagree with my review. On the positive side I enjoyed the writing style and would gladly read more of this authors work in the future.

Kit Collins and her sister Natalie haven’t spoken for over six months so it a surprise when Natalie receives an email from a retreat group Kit joined. The last time they spoke they were grieving the death of their mother and the two sisters dealt with the situation very differently. Nothing bothers Natalie whereas Kit is struggling to cope with the day to day pressures brought on by work and family. Convinced there is more to life, Kit decides to join a retreat called Wisewood. The email states that they know Natalie’s secret and are going to tell sister Kit. Natalie knows she must speak to Kit first.

Residents of Wisewood are required to commit to six month stays, where they are not allowed to contact the outside world. The rules state no phones or internet so that the guests can truly focus on the retreat and its beliefs so Natalie is going to have a fight on her hands to speak to Kit.

I would like to thank both Net Galley and Michael Joseph UK for supplying a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Theresa Alan.
Author 10 books1,043 followers
January 28, 2022
2 or 2.5 stars. I did not enjoy this. Much of it was unnecessarily confusing. A good mystery is one in which the reader thinks, “I didn’t see that coming, but this makes sense,” not that the author purposely was coy about who was telling the story and during what time. There is jumping from sister to sister, Natalie and Kit, a storyline that makes sense even if it leaps around in time, and another story that’s hard to read because it involves an appallingly psychologically abusive father.

Natalie becomes worried about her sister when she disappears for six months in what Kit called a wellness retreat. Kit warned her sister that she wouldn’t have access to phones or other devices where they could contact one another, but Natalie stills worries. Natalie has a secret that, once it’s revealed, doesn’t seem like nearly such a big deal to me, but when Nat gets an email threatening to expose this, Nat decides it’s time to come clean and also make sure her sister is doing all right.

NetGalley provided an advance reader copy of this novel, which RELEASES FEBRURARY 22, 2022.
Profile Image for Summer.
376 reviews117 followers
March 10, 2022
“Look down at me and you see a fool.
Look up at me and you see a god.
Look straight at me and you see yourself.”
- Charles Manson

Natalie Collins hasn’t spoken to her sister Kit in over 6 months. The last time she spoke to Kit, she told her that she wasn’t happy with her life so she was going to a sort of self-improvement retreat for 6 months, at a place called Wisewood. Wisewood is located on a private island off the coast of Maine, and guests are not allowed to have contact with the outside world: no internet access and no phones.
After receiving a menacing e-mail from a Wisewood account threatening to reveal a secret Natalie has been keeping from Kit. In a panic, Natalie rushes to Wisewood to tell her sister the truth and to hopefully bring her home.

I’m so glad that I ended up giving this book a chance! I read so many thrillers that I rarely find one that stands out but This Might Hurt is truly unique to the genre. Not only does it contain one, but it contains all of the following:
-an unreliable narrator
-an attention-starved magician
-a sinister cult
-dark family secrets

If Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers and Adam Neville’s Last Days had a baby, it would be This Might Hurt. This book opens with a truly disturbing scene that grabbed my attention and didn’t let go until the very end. Filled with dark humor and shocking scenes, This Might Hurt is not for the faint of heart but seasoned thriller readers will love it.
Profile Image for Jody.
269 reviews69 followers
March 30, 2022
3.5/5 Stars

This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wrobel is an interesting psychological/cult thriller that despite strong hints of promise didn’t quite do it for me. Although the slooooow burn menacing tension and creepy setting make it a page turner nonetheless.

This story is told by three narrators in real time and flashbacks. Nat and Kit who are sisters with a complicated, often dysfunctional relationship grieving the death of their mother and a third unknown woman narrator who we learn more about as the story unfolds.

My biggest problem with this story was I couldn’t muster much interest in Nat and Kit. I wasn’t invested in their story or outcome. But, the dark and twisted point of view of the third woman kept me captivated. The terrifying and abusive horrors of her childhood led her down a chilling path and her story completely carried the book for me.
Profile Image for Mallory.
1,248 reviews125 followers
March 6, 2022
This is a hard book for me to review. I enjoyed most of it, but There were some pieces I didn’t care for. I didn’t find the identity of the third perspective very mysterious and overall I didn’t think this book was all that thrilling. It is a story about a cult with cult like behaviors and the family member trying to save someone caught into the cult. It’s a story that’s been told. I will say the story of how the cult leader became what she is was fairly interesting but also disturbing at times. I had a hard time connecting to Natalie and Kit and therefore didn’t care as much about their stories. I was also underwhelmed with the secret that Natalie traveled to Wisewood to confess to Kit before someone else told her. Overall I give it a 3.5 rounded up for star selection because I did like the writing.
Profile Image for Heather~ Nature.books.and.coffee.
678 reviews164 followers
January 5, 2022
3.5⭐!! Kit and Natalie are sisters, and they have pretty different lives. Natalie is a successful business woman. Kit has been having a hard time dealing with things in her life so she decides to go to this unique retreat called Wisewood. It ls on a private island off the coast of Maine, and you learn to be a fearless person while also having no antact with the outside world while you're there.

Natalie hasn't seen Kit in 6 months, since she's been at Wisewood. One day Natalie receives an email from Wisewood that threatens to tell Kit something Natalie has wanted to keep hidden. Natalie heads off to get to Wisewood and expose the secret to her sister before they tell her, and get her to come home. Once there, she realizes Wisewood is not what she was expecting. It's definitely an unsettling place with some strange things going on very cultish.

The story is told through two timelines. I did enjoy the unexpected twists that happened. The final reveal wasn't what I was expecting, I was hoping for a bit more, but I'd say this book was pretty good, entertaining and worth the read.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the gifted copy! All opinions are my own!
Profile Image for Mara.
1,637 reviews3,888 followers
February 22, 2022
2.5 stars - It's hard to rate this one, because I liked the way this started and I liked the way it ended, but the middle was pretty messy for me from a plot perspective. The writing itself was strong, but I felt like the story and perspectives kind of meandered all over the place.
Still, if you love a isolated mystery or a cult based thriller, this is worth checking out. I think it will just be very YMMV
CW: child abuse, high control religion/religious trauma
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