Nine Perfect Strangers Review - Time for a Psychedelic Health Retreat
by Liane Moriarty
Published in 2018
Y’all I can’t stress enough how much I love Liane Moriarty. She could release a book called “Toast” and I will be front and center to purchase. Growing up around novellas, it’s clear that I am LIVING for the drama. I barely had to read the summary to know that shit was going to get real too fast. Nine Perfect Strangers ended up being one of the most fun and exciting reads I have read thus far in 2019.
Nine Perfect Strangers begins with Yao, a trained paramedic, helping a patient, Masha, who survives a heart attack and completely transforms her life and decides to open a health and wellness resort called Tranquillum House and recruits Yao along with Delilah into working for her. 10 years have passed since her accident and now we get to meet the first of the guests for the next retreat. Frances Welty is a romance writer who needs to get away after negative reviews from her latest novel. Shortly after arriving, a wealthy couple arrives in a Lamborghini and introduces themselves as Ben and Jessica who are there to try and repair their marriage. The other guests include Carmen, who is looking to lose weight, Tony who is just trying to find a new outlook on life, Lars who is struggling with the fact that his partner wants a child and he is unsure, and a small family (Napoleon and Heather) trying to look for a way to deal with the grief of the suicide for Zoe’s twin brother.
They are all taken aback by the strange rules of Tranquilium House such as having to stay completely silent the first few days of attendance. However, they are all completely swayed by the vivacious Masha until one afternoon, they are all brought into the yoga studio for “special smoothies” that they find out are laced with drugs. As furious as they all are, they begin tripping out as Masha goes around the room and begins counseling everyone on their problems before promptly falling asleep. When they wake up, they realize they are all locked in the yoga studio together and Masha is missing.
They all begin freaking out as they look for ways to escape the room while Masha, Yao, and Delilah watch them from a hidden camera to see if they can figure out how to work together to break out of the room. However, the day continues on with no progress as the group gets restless and angry. They finally find a clue that leads them to a Russian Doll which ends up being empty. Masha reveals to Yao and Delilah that she wanted this to be a dead end so that there was no real way to escape as they need to “feel fear”. Yao realizes that Masha has been microdosing on the same drugs she gave the group and is starting to look bat shit crazy before Masha sedates him. The group realizes that the door was unlocked the entire time and as they try leaving, Heather is attacked by Masha before Frances knocks her out. After this crazy experience, everyone does walk out with some changed perspective and works on improving their life moving forward.
Final Rating & Thoughts: 9/10
I am liiiiiiiiiving for the drama. Sign me up for the next retreat! I think it was such a fun twist to find out that Masha is on drugs and also explains her unorthodox methods in treating her guests especially since throughout the whole book she was painted as this almost ethereal beautiful perfect creature only to be revealed that it was a clever illusion after all. I also really enjoyed the interactions between the guests with them all being nervous together and friendships being formed until they all get on each others nerves after being locked in a yoga studio together. I also could not stop laughing when they found out their smoothies contained drugs and the way they all started tripping out.
Usually Liane Moriarty’s books are strictly drama but honestly she added in some thriller and suspense aspects into this novel and I think she did a really good job! The entire book wasn’t suspense and thriller so at first your guards are down and you are having a good time reading and then all of a sudden you are tense with every page to figure out if Masha was actually capable of murder. I hope she continues adding this into her future books because I actually physically gasped at certain parts because they were just so unexpected.
This book is definitely a must read this summer! It was a really fun read and Liane Moriarty is great at making characters who feel relatable. They aren’t picture perfect characters nor the cliche kind of drama character but each have their own individual personalities that you can see yourself in. I also love that everyone’s reasons for attending the retreat were totally different and getting the chance to look into their minds as they spend a lot of time doing some introspection. So while I would rather not have drug-laced smoothies, my interest is definitely piqued for a health and wellness resort.