This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wrobel

Published: February 22, 2022


Pages: 336

Genre: Psychological Fiction

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Stephanie Wrobel grew up in Chicago but has been living in the UK for the last four years with her husband and her dog, Moose Barkwinkle. She has an MFA from Emerson College and has had short fiction published in Bellevue Literary Review. Before turning to fiction, she worked as a creative copywriter at various advertising agencies.

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.

“Some people guzzle the Kool-Aid when they should take sips.”

Kit longs to feel like she belongs to something, anything. She doesn’t want to feel like she is free-falling through life anymore. Natalie has always done things by the book. She has made sure her little sister, Kit, has never had to go without anything. When an unconventional type of therapy falls into Kit’s lap, she is ready to leap. But after months without any contact, a single email with one sentence brings Natalie rushing to save her sister before it’s too late.

Whoa. This was a ride from start to finish. I loved how the story was told, with several alternating angles, giving different perspectives, and both past and present intertwining to lead the reader to one terrifying conclusion.

The characters were fantastic and incredibly well developed. It was apparent how much effort went into bringing them to life. I loved the stark differences between the characters—the imbalance of fear, family, truth, and justice.

The themes throughout this novel were beautifully presented, and terrifyingly realistic. So much truth is hidden behind how our childhoods shape up, and the choices we make to take is through life.

The power dynamic was well played, and the manipulation, deceit, lies, and goals were both hidden in plain sight and camouflaged among the trees. There was such a realistic quality to the storytelling in this book, yet it grabs you and holds on tight until the very end.

Life is about making decisions. Choosing what we think is right. And sometimes power makes people forget.

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