“It Might Hurt” by Stephanie Wrobel (Berkley)
In “This Might Hurt,” we first meet Natalie, an executive living in Boston. She focuses most of her energy on her career because she is lonely and dissatisfied with her regimented life. She makes regular deposits in her savings, washes her bedding twice a month and eats the same salad every day for lunch.
She is shaken by the monotony of her life when she receives an email from a wellness retreat where her sister, Kit, has been staying. The last time they spoke was when they argued over whether it was wise for Kit to quit his job for this six-month retreat, called Wisewood, located on a private island. Kit was promised that she could become the best version of herself if she followed her leader, known by the ominous-sounding professor. A rule of Wisewood: All contact with the outside world is prohibited in order to submit to the process of transformation.
When Natalie receives an email from Wisewood, it’s not from Kit but from a generic email address. The sender threatens to reveal a dark secret that Natalie has been hiding from Kit unless she tells him first. Included are various directions of transportation to Wisewood.
Who knows Natalie’s secret and what will happen to these sisters’ relationship if it is revealed? Natalie rushes to Wisewood to get to Kit first and learns that removing a resident of this community and her teacher isn’t so easy.