Book Reviews · Recommendations

What You Wish For by Katherine Center

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What You Wish For
By: Katherine Center

To Be Published: July 2020
Published by: St. Martin’s Press
Format Read: ARC, NetGalley, eBook, Kindle
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Rating: 5/5

NOTE: I was sent a copy of Katherine Center’s What You Wish For, from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.


From Katherine Center, the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel full of heart and hope.
Samantha Casey loves everything about her job as an elementary school librarian on the sunny, historic island of Galveston, Texas—the goofy kids, the stately Victorian building, the butterfly garden. But when the school suddenly loses its beloved principal, it turns out his replacement will be none other than Duncan Carpenter—a former, unrequited crush of Sam’s from many years before.
When Duncan shows up as her new boss, though, he’s nothing like the sweet teacher she once swooned over. He’s become stiff, and humorless, and obsessed with school safety. Now, with Duncan determined to destroy everything Sam loves about her school in the name of security—and turn it into nothing short of a prison—Sam has to stand up for everyone she cares about before the school that’s become her home is gone for good.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

Samantha Casey has finally found a home for herself with a job as a librarian at a Galveston Texas independent school. Then her life is turned upside down after the death of her mentor and the arrival of a man from her past. Fans of Katherine Center may already by familiar with the male lead; Duncan Carpenter, as he was a minor character in the book Happiness for Beginners.

I began What You Wish For expecting this to be more of a literary fiction. So I was surprised to be introduced to such a quirky main character. I wasn’t sure if I liked Samantha or which genre this book would fall into. But I knew that I liked the current writing style and was eager to see how the plot played out.

I appreciated how just when a situation was about to get too cheesy, it was shut down. and sent in a different direction. But for all Samantha Casey’s quirkiness, What You Wish For, actually touches on some very serious topics. In fact, I would advise caution to those who are sensitive to tragedies and medical issues. One topic of social commentary this book touched on is the importance of good teachers and a positive educational experience. This is especially important during this time of homeschooling during a global pandemic.

Although I found sections to drag on, there were so many points that really spoke to me. In fact there were several passages I marked and read over and over again. I had a profound reading experience, which is why despite some grievances I gave this book 5 stars.

What You Wish For is a story of coping with tragedy and finding joy in life, which really resonated with me. I would highly recommend this book and I look forward to reading more from Katherine Center.

Favourite Quotes

“It’s one of the secrets to life that no one ever tell you. Joy cures everything.”

“It’s a choice,” I went on, feeling like I needed to make him see. “A choice to value the good things that matter. A choice to rise above everything that could pull you down. A choice to look misery right in the eyes.. and then give it the finger.”

“The world keeps hanging on to this idea that love is for the gullible. But nothing could be more wrong. Love is only for the brave.”

“We made a choice to do joy on purpose. Not in spite of life’s sorrows. But because of them.”

“..choose joy on purpose.”


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