What You Wish For
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.

What You Wish For Details

TitleWhat You Wish For
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 14th, 2020
PublisherSt. Martin's Press
ISBN-139781250219367
Rating
GenreRomance, Fiction, Contemporary, Womens Fiction, Chick Lit

What You Wish For Review

  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    What you wish for? I wish to read this book ASAP and Im really thankful to my lucky stars and witchy powers. Here I am. I devoured it at one sit. Im personally in love with those amazing characters. Im giggling like imbecile teenager (so happy you havent met with my 13 years old version, you would like to punch me to wipe my ridiculous smile) seeing the vivid colors of the world that wash my heart with pure joy (See! I started to talk like Anne from Green Gables! This is side effect of reading What you wish for? I wish to read this book ASAP and I’m really thankful to my lucky stars and witchy powers. Here I am. I devoured it at one sit. I’m personally in love with those amazing characters. I’m giggling like imbecile teenager (so happy you haven’t met with my 13 years old version, you would like to punch me to wipe my ridiculous smile) seeing the vivid colors of the world that wash my heart with pure joy (See! I started to talk like Anne from Green Gables! This is side effect of reading something so powerful and beautiful)I think Katherine Center’s books should be sold at drugstore because they’re the best medicines for human souls. You laugh, you cry, you smile, you sigh and as soon as you finish it, the positive energy took control of your nervous system. You want to dance, you want to sing and you want to share your joy with your loved ones.In my opinion all those shrinks suggest to their patients to read her books instead of prescribing mind-number, meaningless pills.This book is a little different from her previous works. The characters still deal with traumatic problems, carrying their burdens, and this is amazing self-discovery, friendship, solidarity book like her previous books but I have to admit this is most romantic story that the author wrote. Samantha and Duncan’s are easy to resonate and their longtime love story melts your heart. Samantha changes her life by quitting her job, starting over at Galveston, Texas, renting a place at lovely 60 year old couple Babette and Max’s house, working at their school. She lost her family (mother died, father is out of the picture) when she was young. So Babette and Max was not only her bosses, but also became her best friends, her real family till the day Max loses his life at their anniversary party.Samantha deals with her illness since from her own childhood, keeps as secret from everyone which also prevents her to form a romantic relationship. She only fell in love with one man but as she finds out her love is unrequited and the man moved on his life with another woman, she moves to Texas with Max and Babette’s help changes her perspective, bringing more color, joy, love, happiness into her life, getting rid of grey clothes, wearing polka dots, clown socks, flowered hats, sharing her happiness and knowledge with young kids.Then she finds out, after Max’s death, a new principal will take his place, the very same person she fell in love six years ago, making her quit her job.: Duncan Carpenter is going to be her new boss. When she thinks she has to quit again, she gets shocked with the personal changes of Duncan. The man she fell in love is gone. A strict, serious, business oriented, cold, humorless man took over his place. It feels like he suffers from amnesia or her evil twin took over his place. And guess what? He doesn’t even remember her!!!!And new Duncan decides to turn their colorful, entertaining, heavenly school into a grey, soulless prison with his over sensitive, extreme safety precautions. So Samantha has to do something to save her school and learn what happened to playful, entertaining, friendly Duncan.Samantha lives in the shadows, wearing grey, feeling blue till she comes to Galveston and rediscovers herself, begins to blossom. Now she has a plan to bring the old Duncan back, showing him the real colors of life and pure joy of happiness.But you know the happiness does not come easily. You gotta put your heart at risk, open your mind and soul to grab it as like Samatha said at the book: “I bite and scratch and claw my way toward happiness every day”This is beautiful journey about love, grief, loss, friendship, pain, suffer, losing and finding yourself.Both Samantha and Duncan suffer from their own traumatic pasts, both of them still hurt but as Samantha raises her head to see the stars at the darkest time of the night, Duncan prefers to hide behind the shadows. Now Samantha will teach him find his true colors.Max , Babette, math nerd bestie Alice (she needs her own book, I loved her sense of humor and taste of outfits!), brainerd Clay are my other favorite characters.Overall: I truly loved it so much. It’s feel-good, addictive, astonishing, entertaining, inspirational book about love, happiness, second chances and personal growth with memorable characters. Let’s not forget its beautiful cover!Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for sharing this incredible ARC of one of my favorite authors in exchange my honest review. And dear Katherine Center, please keep on writing your amazing stories.bloginstagramfacebooktwitter
    more
  • Katherine Center
    January 1, 1970
    I tried not to click on the stars this time. I really did. But HOW CAN I NOT click on them? They're just lined up there, all sad and empty, just . . . LONGING to be clicked. I blame the stars.And now I've just found the title of my autobiography: I Blame the Stars
    more
  • Jayme
    January 1, 1970
    You know that song by Lee Ann Womack called I Hope You Dance ? 💃This book reminds me of that song...It may not be the love story you are expecting when you pick up the book.Its not steamy and sexy...(though in a way that was refreshing!) Sure, it has Samantha Casey...a quirky librarian you will want to root for. And, it has Duncan Carpenter, the new Principal and her potential love interest. Of course, they will have their share of misunderstandings and miscommunications, along the way, as all You know that song by Lee Ann Womack called “I Hope You Dance” ? 💃🏻This book reminds me of that song...It may not be the “love story” you are expecting when you pick up the book.It’s not steamy and sexy...(though in a way that was refreshing!) Sure, it has Samantha Casey...a quirky librarian you will want to root for. And, it has Duncan Carpenter, the new Principal and her potential love interest. Of course, they will have their share of misunderstandings and miscommunications, along the way, as all “romance stories” do...And, you will expect a happy ending...because, that is why we read these books...But, this book is almost more about the love of a community, than it is about the PG rated potential romance of Sam and Duncan. It’s a community that comes together when the beloved Principal and Founder of their school, Max, passes away-And, those who replace him, including Duncan Carpenter, try to “fix what isn’t broken”.One where friends ARE YOUR family, and they are there for Max’s widow, Babette. And, others along the way...In ways that are heartwarming and touching. 💕I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as “Things You Save In A Fire”, but I did like it’s message....(though it may have been a bit overdone!) “JOY AND SORROW WALK SIDE BY SIDE, and BEING ALIVE MEANS RISKING ONE FOR THE OTHER” ....IT’S ALWAYS BETTER TO DANCE THAN TO REFUSE” 💃🏻💃🏻💃🏻💃🏻 (favorite quote from the book) Another great buddy read with DeAnn! 🤗I would like to thank the Publisher for inviting me to read a digital ARC, provided through NetGalley, in exchange for a candid review! Available July 14, 2020! Just in time for those beach vacations! 🌴Pre-order now!
    more
  • Bridgett
    January 1, 1970
    'Never miss a chance to celebrate.'Katherine Center's latest novel, like all her novels, is utterly delightful. While I ultimately preferred Things You Save in a Fire, I still stayed up until 3 AM finishing this story. Once it gets going, it's hard to put down. The theme, choosing joy, really resonates. It's a lesson we should all take to heart. Told entirely from Samantha's perspective, she's a quirky character trying desperately to come to terms with several life-altering events. Enter 'Never miss a chance to celebrate.'Katherine Center's latest novel, like all her novels, is utterly delightful. While I ultimately preferred Things You Save in a Fire, I still stayed up until 3 AM finishing this story. Once it gets going, it's hard to put down. The theme, choosing joy, really resonates. It's a lesson we should all take to heart. Told entirely from Samantha's perspective, she's a quirky character trying desperately to come to terms with several life-altering events. Enter Duncan--the one who got away several years before, who happens to be dealing with a life-altering event of his own. You're left with two semi-broken characters who eventually find completion in each other. I love Katherine Center, but after reading three of her books in the past 12 months, I quickly realized they're a smidge formulaic. It's nothing which would prevent me from reading her future releases, but it definitely makes things predictable. As for What You Wish For, the overall plot wasn't entirely interesting to me--set almost entirely in a private elementary school, it's not particularly relatable. And if I'm being entirely honest, for the first third of the story, I intensely disliked both Samantha and Duncan...they were so over-the-top. These are the reasons I opted to rate this book 3.5. Despite my grumbles, I still enjoyed this book...especially Chuck Norris. 🐾 And my absolute favorite part was 'high-on-drugs' Duncan. 🤣 Recommended to those who who enjoy contemporary romance novels or beachy-type reads. Pick up a copy of your own July 14, 2020. '**Many thanks to the publisher for my review copy.
    more
  • DeAnn
    January 1, 1970
    4 joyful starsDo you ever have one of those spells where youve been reading heavier, darker thrillers or somewhat depressing historical fiction? If so, I highly recommend this book as an antidote! With a message of choosing to live life with joy, this book was the perfect one for me to read right now. Yes, theres romance, but not sappy or steamy. There are some heavier themes that give the book substance, and overall this one punched the ticket for me!With a school setting, this one features 4 joyful starsDo you ever have one of those spells where you’ve been reading heavier, darker thrillers or somewhat depressing historical fiction? If so, I highly recommend this book as an antidote! With a message of choosing to live life with joy, this book was the perfect one for me to read right now. Yes, there’s romance, but not sappy or steamy. There are some heavier themes that give the book substance, and overall this one punched the ticket for me!With a school setting, this one features quirky elementary school librarian Samantha, who has escaped her previous school (and a crush) to start over in Galveston, Texas. She’s getting ready for the school year ahead when a tragedy befalls the beloved school principal. Guess who is coming as the new principal? That same crush from her old job! However, he’s not the same person at all and the school may never be the same.There are some school politics, but mostly this one is about relationships and with two realistic and damaged main characters – Samantha and Duncan – I really enjoyed this one. There are a couple of great beach scenes that really change the trajectory of the book. The guard dog Chuck Norris is a great character as well. I didn’t love this one as much as “Things You Save in a Fire” – but it has the same style I’ve come to expect from Katherine Center.This was another fantastic buddy read with Jayme!Thank you to St. Martin’s for granting my wish with NetGalley to read an early copy of this one.
    more
  • Caitlin Reads
    January 1, 1970
    Katherine Center is one of my go to authors and What You Wish For does not disappoint. I was so thrilled when I received the email from St. Martins Press that I received an ARC, I immediately stopped what I was reading and started this book. This story was so fun and unique with completely lovable characters. Samantha is a quirky librarian who moved to Galveston from California to escape her unrequited crush. She starts a new life at an amazing school living in the garage apartment behind the Katherine Center is one of my go to authors and What You Wish For does not disappoint. I was so thrilled when I received the email from St. Martin’s Press that I received an ARC, I immediately stopped what I was reading and started this book. This story was so fun and unique with completely lovable characters. Samantha is a quirky librarian who moved to Galveston from California to escape her unrequited crush. She starts a new life at an amazing school living in the garage apartment behind the schools founders, Max and Babbette. When Max passes away unexpectedly, the school is thrown into disarray without their beloved founder. Sam is shocked to find that the new principal is Duncan, the man who caused her to leave California, only he seems to be a completely different person who doesn’t even recognize her and is intent on ruining her school. What You Wish For is a book about leaving pain behind to prioritize joy and true happiness. Both Duncan and Samantha have major obstacles from their past that they are working to overcome. They are able to really grow together and help one another be the best version of themselves. This was definitely one of Katherine’s more romantic books but it also featured amazing friendships and adorable students. I would have loved to attend their school. This book had so much heart and left me wanting more! This is the perfect beach read or anytime read. I already can’t wait for Katherine’s next book.“I bite and scratch and claw my way toward happiness every day.”
    more
  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    OMG.....this story was just what I needed right now.....it was sheer book nirvana ......I did in fact receive an ARC from Netgalley but I would have gladly payed for this one.Thank you so much Karla for putting this author on my radar. I still need to read "Things You Save in a Fire" but that title has just skyrocketed up my list of books that I want to read after finishing this delightful story. I LOVED THIS AUTHOR'S WRITING SO MUCH.A MOST HEAVENLY READ INDEED.5 "shining" stars.🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟This is my OMG.....this story was just what I needed right now.....it was sheer book nirvana ......I did in fact receive an ARC from Netgalley but I would have gladly payed for this one.Thank you so much Karla for putting this author on my radar. I still need to read "Things You Save in a Fire" but that title has just skyrocketed up my list of books that I want to read after finishing this delightful story. I LOVED THIS AUTHOR'S WRITING SO MUCH.A MOST HEAVENLY READ INDEED.5 "shining" stars.🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟This is my first novel by Katherine Center and honestly I was a little surprised by how strongly her writing hit me squarely in the "feeling good and loving it" department. I guess, that I had no "real" idea what to expect from this writer but I have to say that she has the most amazing and "positive" effect on your psyche....this book was an absolute joy to read and a total mood elevator for me...not only was I positively beaming after I finished reading but thoughts about this sweet and engaging storyline continued to make me smile and keep me going throughout the rest of the day....which is a very good thing in this current climate of fear and unrest. Stay healthy and safe - my dear book friends and fellow readers.Synopsis: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.This story was perfectly interwoven with humor and generosity, love and romance, joy and sadness....the writing was seriously wonderful.....I will be reading a lot more by Katherine Center.
    more
  • Diana
    January 1, 1970
    "...again and again ... to choose joy on purpose."Katherine Center's book, as with all of her books, are fun and touching. You find yourself drawn in to quirky worlds of imperfection and warmth. Samantha is a school librarian that moves to Galveston from California in hopes to forget about Duncan, a wildly popular love interest she had at another school that didn't even really notice her. She finds a garage apartment behind the schools principal and art teacher, Max and Babbette. When Max passes "...again and again ... to choose joy on purpose."Katherine Center's book, as with all of her books, are fun and touching. You find yourself drawn in to quirky worlds of imperfection and warmth. Samantha is a school librarian that moves to Galveston from California in hopes to forget about Duncan, a wildly popular love interest she had at another school that didn't even really notice her. She finds a garage apartment behind the schools principal and art teacher, Max and Babbette. When Max passes away the school is overcome with grief without their principal and dear friend. Sam soon finds out that the new principal is Duncan, the one she moved away from and start a new life. Duncan didn't pay attention to her back in California ... so why would he now? He also isn't the same fun-loving person that she remembers ... he turns out to be a different person who doesn’t even recognize her and is intent on changing the school completely for reasons he won't tell. Both Sam and Duncan have emotional problems that stand in the way of true happiness. With the help of family and friends, will they ever be able to learn to let go of the past and love again?A great summer beach read for 2020 ... not to be missed!Many thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley in exchange for my review!
    more
  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    What You Wish For doesnt hit shelves until July but when an invite to read it popped into my inbox last week, I dropped everything and dove in! I absolutely LOVED this book and sat with a cheesy grin on my face the entire time. I adore Katherine Centers writing. Its so down to earth, joyful, witty, and relatable! She has an uncanny ability to tap into human emotions and translate them into amazing stories. What You Wish For features lovely characters that will capture your heart. The witty What You Wish For doesn’t hit shelves until July but when an invite to read it popped into my inbox last week, I dropped everything and dove in! I absolutely LOVED this book and sat with a cheesy grin on my face the entire time. I adore Katherine Center’s writing. It’s so down to earth, joyful, witty, and relatable! She has an uncanny ability to tap into human emotions and translate them into amazing stories. What You Wish For features lovely characters that will capture your heart. The witty banter will have you giggling and the conclusion will warm your heart. As someone who works in a school, this book resonated with me on a deep level. It invigorated my love for my students and inspired me to add more color to their world. I absolutely LOVED this book and think it may be her best yet. I give What You Wish For the full 5⭐️. My extreme gratitude to @stmartinspress for sending me this advance copy.
    more
  • T. Rosado
    January 1, 1970
    5 Stars!!Happiness for Beginners was one of my favorite reads from 2019. In my review, I mentioned how much I loved the heroine's evolving relationship with her brother by the end of the book. Imagine my surprise and excitement over learning that Helen's brother Duncan would be a main character in this upcoming release.As told in the heroine Sam's single POV, this story was about her fight for life's joys through unexpected upheaval, Duncan's re-arrival in her life, and a school (town) grieving 5 Stars!!Happiness for Beginners was one of my favorite reads from 2019. In my review, I mentioned how much I loved the heroine's evolving relationship with her brother by the end of the book. Imagine my surprise and excitement over learning that Helen's brother Duncan would be a main character in this upcoming release.As told in the heroine Sam's single POV, this story was about her fight for life's joys through unexpected upheaval, Duncan's re-arrival in her life, and a school (town) grieving over the loss of their beloved founder. I really liked Samantha and her shared self-transformation after arriving in Gavelston four years prior, but similar to this author's previous novels, it's the secondary characters that really helped shape Samantha's characterization and made me love her.I know I was biased going in, but no one could outshine my love for all things Duncan. Well, maybe Alice, but that's for another book (fingers crossed!) This author was astute in her depiction of Duncan's evolution from the goofy and affable slacker brother in HFB to the intrinsically altered version he became in this book. It was believable and also heartbreaking. This was where the author showed her writing mettle and alternately drove the story with wit and sound character development to deep and heartrending poignancy. As for the romance, it was swoon-worthy perfection. Even without the romantic tension and happily ever after, this story had one of KC’s most inspirational endings. I adored it and the picture this author depicted of Gavelston Island, Texas and the waters surrounding it. Without a doubt, What You Wish For will be another Katherine Center story added to my keeper shelf.Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the early reading opportunity. More importantly, thank you to Katherine Center for writing the books that I love to read.
    more
  • Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader
    January 1, 1970
    What can I say about this book, my feelings are all over the place. You are going to love to hate Duncan and I hope that you end up loving him. You are going to fall in love with the ending. Center has done it again only this time you are going to be flipping pages so fast to find out what's happening next the book will be over before you know it. Her books are never long enough for me.I highly recommend this 5 star read. You won't be able to put it down.The Mary Reader received this book from What can I say about this book, my feelings are all over the place. You are going to love to hate Duncan and I hope that you end up loving him. You are going to fall in love with the ending. Center has done it again only this time you are going to be flipping pages so fast to find out what's happening next the book will be over before you know it. Her books are never long enough for me.I highly recommend this 5 star read. You won't be able to put it down.The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.
    more
  • book bruin
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsI have loved every Katherine Center book I have had the pleasure of reading. The characters are so endearing and often wonderfully adorkable. They encounter relatable issues and obstacles that will have readers rooting for them from the start. What You Wish For is no exception. After reading Happiness for Beginners (you can find my review here), I was so excited to learn that loveably goofy Duncan would be getting his own book. I dropped all my other reading commitments and dove right 4.5 starsI have loved every Katherine Center book I have had the pleasure of reading. The characters are so endearing and often wonderfully adorkable. They encounter relatable issues and obstacles that will have readers rooting for them from the start. What You Wish For is no exception. After reading Happiness for Beginners (you can find my review here), I was so excited to learn that loveably goofy Duncan would be getting his own book. I dropped all my other reading commitments and dove right into What You Wish For. Though it's not necessary to read Happiness for Beginners prior to this book, I do recommend it because it's wonderful and I think it will really enrich the experience.I loved the overall message of choosing joy, even in the face of fear and adversity. The book deals with some very serious, but timely topics (TW: school and gun violence), that may be extremely difficult for readers. It sometimes felt too in your face, but at the same time I can understand why the author chose to show these two extreme sides to the issue. I enjoyed the contrast between bright and sunny Sam and doom and gloom Duncan, especially after seeing him so dramatically different in Happiness for Beginners. Yes, they both make some poor over the top choices, but I could understand that for the most part, their hearts were in the right place. It was fairly clear from the start what Duncan's history would entail, but it didn't take away the impact of his past when all was revealed. Sam and Duncan have a lot of emotional scars to process and deal with, but I loved how they ended up helping each other (and the entire school community) heal. It's a slow burn, second chance-ish romance between them and I have to say that one of my favorite parts of the book is when Duncan is high on pain killers ("The opiates never lie." LOL). I really enjoyed Sam's inner monologue/voice. The story is told completely in her POV, but her little jokes and quirks were so endearing. Her friendship with Alice was the best and I loved all the math jokes and connections. One of my favorite parts of the book however, was when a few familiar characters popped up during a beach scene. I couldn't wipe the HUGE smile off my face and I may have let out a contented sigh. It really was the tiny bit of epilogue my heart needed for those characters. Another highlight was Chuck Norris and the few easter eggs/nods to Happiness for Beginners. Overall, this was another fantastic read by Katherine Center and is sure to be one of my top reads of 2020!*I voluntarily read an advance review copy of this book*
    more
  • Amy Imogene Reads
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you, thank you, to St Martin's Press for the "read for joy" auto-approval for this title on NetGalley given the news throughout the world at this time. I've been eagerly awaiting this novel and know it will provide a positive escape. Thank you to St Martin's Press via NetGalley for an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Carrie Zier
    January 1, 1970
    Well, I got insanely lucky and received an ARC for Katherine Centers latest and, as usual, it did not disappoint. I just adore the way she writes her characters. She always elicits such emotion ... I rarely cry when reading books but she always gets me. And she writes a hero like none other. She writes relationships for real and makes the couples journey important and sweet. In short, I wish Katherine Center was my best friend. Well, I got insanely lucky and received an ARC for Katherine Center’s latest and, as usual, it did not disappoint. I just adore the way she writes her characters. She always elicits such emotion ... I rarely cry when reading books but she always gets me. And she writes a hero like none other. She writes relationships for real and makes the couple’s journey important and sweet. In short, I wish Katherine Center was my best friend.
    more
  • Pie Lady Books
    January 1, 1970
    Im not sure I fully have the words to express how much I loved this book! What You Wish For just became my favorite Katherine Center book of all time. I love Sam and Duncan, and their story was exactly what I needed to read right now. One of the reasons I love Katherine Centers books so very much is because each time you read one, you are not only getting a wonderfully captivating story, you are being reminded of whats important in the world. Katherine has quickly become not only a favorite I’m not sure I fully have the words to express how much I loved this book! What You Wish For just became my favorite Katherine Center book of all time. I love Sam and Duncan, and their story was exactly what I needed to read right now. One of the reasons I love Katherine Center’s books so very much is because each time you read one, you are not only getting a wonderfully captivating story, you are being reminded of what’s important in the world. Katherine has quickly become not only a favorite author, but a mentor of sorts, because each time I read one of her books, I am changed for the better. Each of her books fill this world with beauty and reminds us all to choose joy on purpose. And this latest book was absolutely no exception to this. What You Wish For is storytelling at its finest: a perfect blend of hardships and joy, full of characters that you can not only root for, but deeply relate to. Katherine Center is the embodiment of choosing to pursue joy, even in the midst of the hard, and each of her books are a necessary reminder of this. Katherine is truly making the world a better place, one book at a time, and I am here for it!🙌🏻
    more
  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    4.5/ 5 starsWhat You Wish For is my first book by this author. I would describe it as a combination between Women's Fiction, Chick Lit and romance.I love this cover so much! So between loving the cover and hearing such good things about this author I was very excited to start this book.The narrator is 28 year old school librarian Sam (female-1st person POV). The story takes place on Galveston Island in Texas.Samantha is a librarian at a very special and unique elementary school. I loved 4.5/ 5 starsWhat You Wish For is my first book by this author. I would describe it as a combination between Women's Fiction, Chick Lit and romance.I love this cover so much! So between loving the cover and hearing such good things about this author I was very excited to start this book.The narrator is 28 year old school librarian Sam (female-1st person POV). The story takes place on Galveston Island in Texas.Samantha is a librarian at a very special and unique elementary school. I loved everything about her job, her school and her co-workers.The first chapter felt overly-descriptive to me. The author was describing so much vs things just playing out in dialogue. I didn't love this. But it was only for the beginning.After that the book got really good and I really enjoyed it.A new man, Duncan, comes to work at Sam's school. I found the reason for him arriving to be heartbreaking. But I really enjoyed his backstory. Duncan was a very complex character with a very painful past. But I found his story to be extremely powerful and important.There were some amazing supporting characters in this book. Two that I loved (Babette and Alice) and two that I despised (Tina and Kent Buckley).I absolutely loved this town, the teachers, and Sam's friends. I thought that Sam was a really interesting main character. And I really enjoyed her very much.The book is lighthearted at times. But it also deals with some important issues. The story deals with things such as overcoming traumas, dealing with illnesses and death. So there are some heavy topics. But I loved how the author handled it all.Overall, I really enjoyed this book. And I can't wait to read more by this author.*Apparently Duncan is a supporting character in Happiness for Beginners. It is his sister's story. Thanks to netgalley and St. Martin's Press for allowing me to read this book.
    more
  • Torrie Tovar
    January 1, 1970
    This review is going to be long because OMG. I. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. This book has some 90s rom-com nostalgia, for real.. It's like hope floats and Never Been Kissed. I can't pinpoint why it makes me think if these but it does. Casey is so loveable. She is hilarious and I just imagine her as a fast-talking, unable to shut up, awkward, Lorelai Gilmore. And I love my Gilmore Girls, hence my daughter being named Lorelai. Casey is energetic and her joy is contagious. I loved the theme of this book. This review is going to be long because OMG. I. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. This book has some 90s rom-com nostalgia, for real.. It's like hope floats and Never Been Kissed. I can't pinpoint why it makes me think if these but it does. Casey is so loveable. She is hilarious and I just imagine her as a fast-talking, unable to shut up, awkward, Lorelai Gilmore. And I love my Gilmore Girls, hence my daughter being named Lorelai. Casey is energetic and her joy is contagious. I loved the theme of this book. When life knocks you down, make your own joy!And that's the thing. Life WILL knock you down. It can make the best day ever turn into the worst within seconds. It will throw you curve balls. It will leave you shattered into a million pieces lying on the floor begging to be saved. Life will throw you way more pain than joy. But the best part is leaving that pain behind and finding joy. Life doesn't usually leave joy on your front steps. You have to find it! But it can be found in most places, in the silliest of things. Like being with your family in the middle of the night at Waffle House, and singing Don't Stop Believing, loud and proud. It IS making up silly dances (my husband's favorite is my happy dance. Slightly bend. Put one arm in front and one in back, and start twisting them.) It can be found in children's laughter, or watching a snail crawl. I mean have you ever watched it? It's kind of mesmerizing! It's watching snow fall or hearing the rain. It's choosing to see the joy of things and finding your happiness. Don't get me wrong this book deals with some heavy things. Some that I worry about everyday with little kids. I am not going to talk about them because I don't want to spoil the book for anyone, before it has even come out. I will probably do another review after it is released. Then I will go into more detail. As you can tell, I love this book. It will be in my top reads for this year.
    more
  • Susan's Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.What You Wish For was a magical, emotional read for me, full of colourful characters who dressed like circus performers and who had no issue with spontaneous outbursts of pure Joy. Having the courage to embrace life, to soldier on and do or find the things that bring you joy, despite all the misery and unhappiness that may still be hovering on your horizon, was a major theme in this My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.What You Wish For was a magical, emotional read for me, full of colourful characters who dressed like circus performers and who had no issue with spontaneous outbursts of pure Joy. Having the courage to embrace life, to soldier on and do or find the things that bring you joy, despite all the misery and unhappiness that may still be hovering on your horizon, was a major theme in this novel. Duncan, the new school principal, had endured a horrible trauma which completely changed his happy-go-lucky outlook on life. Katherine Center truly impressed me with her excellent portrayal of a man suffering from PTSD. The main character, Samantha, comes to understand - after a death defying stunt of her own - that most of us have not experienced fear at the same level that persons suffering from PTSD have. Expecting PTSD sufferers to magically heal by "changing their attitudes" or "thinking about more positive things" is never going to be realistic. There is no quick fix solution. Some damage is irrevocable, and the person you knew before is and will remain forever changed by his or her trauma. I have always had great respect for Katherine Center's emotional intelligence. Not only is she a gifted writer, but she understands what makes us human's act and behave the way we do - and then turns it into an unforgettable novel. I loved spending time with Samantha, Duncan, Alice - loved all those math jokes!, Babette and, of course, the budding young genius, Clay. Babette's "wake up" speech to Samantha - about how it takes courage to accept love and joy into our lives and how we don't always get to hold onto that joy and love - earned a standing ovation from me. I highly, highly recommend this funny, sometimes sad, but downright joyous story about people trying to overcome their life altering tragedies, and move back towards life.
    more
  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    I don't read many romance/chick lit books, but I make an exception for anything that Katherine Center writes! I think it's the sense of humor that she adds to her books and the realistic (for the most part) characters, situations, and dialogue! What You Wish For did not disappoint! The two main characters both had believable issues, and the issues were totally unexpected when I found out about them. The dialogue was superb - and I expect the author actually talks the way the characters do - I don't read many romance/chick lit books, but I make an exception for anything that Katherine Center writes! I think it's the sense of humor that she adds to her books and the realistic (for the most part) characters, situations, and dialogue! What You Wish For did not disappoint! The two main characters both had believable issues, and the issues were totally unexpected when I found out about them. The dialogue was superb - and I expect the author actually talks the way the characters do - that's the only way she could get it so perfect! And I love epilogues, too, so I was glad to see that.If I am being completely honest, there was one part that didn't really make sense to me and which I thought was totally unnecessary - the jumping off of the pier part. I sort of lost interest there - it just seemed too "out there" to really happen. A sincere Thank You! goes out to St. Martin's Press for sending me an advanced copy of this book.
    more
  • Meredith
    January 1, 1970
    I am a huge fan of Katherine Center and her previous novels, so I was absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity via Net Galley and St. Martin's Press to read her newest release, What You Wish For a bit early (pub date- July 14, 2020) and Im happy to report that I loved this one just as much as Ive loved her other books that Ive read!Although this book dealt with a couple of subjects that can tend to be anxiety triggers for me, I still finished this book and found it to be a really delightful I am a huge fan of Katherine Center and her previous novels, so I was absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity via Net Galley and St. Martin's Press to read her newest release, “What You Wish For” a bit early (pub date- July 14, 2020) and I’m happy to report that I loved this one just as much as I’ve loved her other books that I’ve read!Although this book dealt with a couple of subjects that can tend to be anxiety triggers for me, I still finished this book and found it to be a really delightful story...which is really a testament to Katherine Center’s ability to write complex characters that the reader comes to love and care about! I always end her books wishing that I had more time with the characters, and this book was no different—I loved Sam and Duncan, and wished the book was longer just so that I could have had a bit more time with them there at the end.I think it’s also worth noting that this was a closed door romance (the steam happens off page), which I know many of you prefer and have been waiting for! Overall, I really loved this book, and think it will be a perfect beach read when it releases this summer! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨ (4.5 out of 5 stars)
    more
  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    Katherine Center knocks it out of the park again! What You Wish For is another wonderful read with lovable characters. I fell in love with Sam and couldn't help but cheer her on. Duncan's story is one that hit me straight down to the core as I teach every single day in a school system, never knowing what the next day will bring. A beautiful story with wonderfully written characters. I loved every minute.
    more
  • Amy (TheSouthernGirlReads)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you St. Martins Press and Netgalley for my review copy.There are so many things running through my mind as of late. This novel....it was a breath of fresh air. It's that novel that makes you smile. Makes you escape....for just a bit.I adore second chance romances....and although this is not the traditional second chance romance....I feel like that is the category that best describes it. Lots of other stuff weaving in and out, but at the end it brought me to five stars.I love Katherine Thank you St. Martins Press and Netgalley for my review copy.There are so many things running through my mind as of late. This novel....it was a breath of fresh air. It's that novel that makes you smile. Makes you escape....for just a bit.I adore second chance romances....and although this is not the traditional second chance romance....I feel like that is the category that best describes it. Lots of other stuff weaving in and out, but at the end it brought me to five stars.I love Katherine Center. She is a must read author for me. In What You Wish For she cemented that.
    more
  • Katelyn
    January 1, 1970
    When I saw this on NetGalley, I immediately downloaded it. I had to read the new Katherine Center after Things You Save in a Fire!! I read Katherine's books because of the plots and when I found out this one was going to be about a teacher in Texas, I needed it as soon as possible.This book was fire, it gave me all the feels. It is definitely my favorite by her while all of her books deal with trauma in its own way, this was a different trauma. A trauma that had me shocked. It dealt with a very When I saw this on NetGalley, I immediately downloaded it. I had to read the new Katherine Center after Things You Save in a Fire!! I read Katherine's books because of the plots and when I found out this one was going to be about a teacher in Texas, I needed it as soon as possible.This book was fire, it gave me all the feels. It is definitely my favorite by her while all of her books deal with trauma in its own way, this was a different trauma. A trauma that had me shocked. It dealt with a very serious topic which I loved and felt like it was done well. Samantha quits her job and uproots her life and moves to Galveston, Texas where she rents a home by an older couple named Max and Babette and becomes a librarian at their school. Samantha's life was not easy growing up as her mother passed and her dad was not in the picture. Max and Babette became her family. Unfortunately Max passes away.Max was the principal of the school him and Babette owned, so a replacement was necessary.Samantha finds out the new placement is going to be her old colleague that made her uproot from her old school whom she was in love with. She thinks about quitting again but thinks better about it when she notices how Duncan has changed. He is now strict and all about business. Duncan didn’t even recognize her when they first encountered! Duncan tries to turn their bright, colorful, peaceful school to a prison with extreme safety precautions What made this book so much better is the problems/insecurities the characters had about themselves and how they were dealt. This book felt so real. I did not predict any of it and when I found out certain things I was genuinely shocked. The characters were so genuine and stood up for one another, supported each other and was a support system to each other.The side characters in this were wonderful. I don’t know if I've ever liked side characters so much. I loved the ending, wrapped up so nicely and I will definitely be buying a copy of this book. I highly recommend, fast read!!Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martins press for this wonderful book!
    more
  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    I'm always delighted to get a Katherine Center book as they are quirky, funny, and so very insightful! This one was everything I knew it would be! It checks all the boxes for me too: it's a school setting, the protagonist is a librarian, and at its heart it's a book about humanity. Sam is the librarian at an elementary school where an old flame suddenly appears as the new principal. But Duncan is nothing like the man she remembers--a silly, fun-loving goofball who wears penguin pants and I'm always delighted to get a Katherine Center book as they are quirky, funny, and so very insightful! This one was everything I knew it would be! It checks all the boxes for me too: it's a school setting, the protagonist is a librarian, and at its heart it's a book about humanity. Sam is the librarian at an elementary school where an old flame suddenly appears as the new principal. But Duncan is nothing like the man she remembers--a silly, fun-loving goofball who wears penguin pants and obnoxious ties. Instead he runs the school like a prison, painting over all the lovely murals with grey colors and locking all the entrances and exits to keep the kids "safe." Of course there's a reason for all of this but that is to be discovered as Sam works through her own issues. What we are left with is a wondrous story of love, grief, bravery, loss, and above all the lesson to embrace and celebrate all the joy you can find in life--even as you leave this book a teary-eyed mess!Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!
    more
  • Cassidy (Cassidys.Bookshelf)
    January 1, 1970
    **4/5**Thank you to St. Martin's Press for my free ARC. It was an absolute joy to read during these crazy times.
  • Lorilin
    January 1, 1970
    Samantha Casey is currently living her dream life as a quirky and fun librarian at a wonderful elementary school where her coworkers feel like family. But when tragedy strikes and the school is forced to find a new principal, the last thing she expects is her former crush, Duncan Carpenter, to show up as the replacement. At first shes worried all her old amorous feelings will come flooding back, but within minutes its clear that this isnt the same lovable Duncan she once adored from afar. Samantha Casey is currently living her dream life as a quirky and fun librarian at a wonderful elementary school where her coworkers feel like family. But when tragedy strikes and the school is forced to find a new principal, the last thing she expects is her former crush, Duncan Carpenter, to show up as the replacement. At first she’s worried all her old amorous feelings will come flooding back, but within minutes it’s clear that this isn’t the same lovable Duncan she once adored from afar. Instead, now he’s stern, demanding, and unyielding, and shows no interest in getting to know his new employees or students at all.From the first day, Duncan sets out to remove all potential hazards and distractions at the school. Bright murals are painted over, field trips are cancelled, and strict security measures are put in place. Samantha has no idea what happened to the old Duncan, but she’s determined to stop her school from becoming a sterile prison. Time to keep her friends close and her enemies closer.MY THOUGHTSI can’t even begin to describe how ecstatic I was to get approved for this title early. I love Katherine Center, and her books are usually guaranteed four- or five-star reads for me. I wish I could say that I loved What You Wish For, but I just didn’t. Before I say anything, let me point out that this book is wildly popular on Goodreads and Instagram, and most people LOVE it. Even I have to admit that the 30% of the book that focuses on the development of a deep relationship between Samantha and Duncan is perfect. Unfortunately, though, that fantastic 30% couldn’t make up for the less than stellar remaining 70%.I’m not sure if I’m just a little too old for characters like these, but my main problem with the book is Samantha. As far as I’m concerned she’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One minute she’s completely sweet, rational, and empathetic, and the next minute she’s…jumping off a pier at night because she’s, uh, a little sad and disappointed. (In fact, she does a lot of physical running away when she’s upset in this one.) I can understand a few major emotional swings in a story, but, good grief, she’s all over the place. Hers are not the actions of a calm, responsible adult—let alone an adult who is in charge of children on a daily basis.And that was another big problem for me—how unbelievable the school environment was in the story. I volunteer at my kids’s elementary school a lot, and so many things in this book would never, EVER happen—especially at a school considered to be “one of the best in the country.” For starters, you can’t bring a dog to school. You definitely can’t bring a fake GUN to school either. There has never been a carpool line that lasted for an hour. There’s no money to install bullet-proof windows or doors made out of tank materials. There’s also zero research that would support turning an elementary school into a all-grey military-esque zone. It just doesn’t make sense to anyone who has worked with kids or spent any time at an elementary school whatsoever.In short, you’re going to have to suspend belief if you want to enjoy What You Wish For even a little bit. There are some golden moments in the story, sure, but, for me, it was too over the top and unbelievable for me to really connect with it on a meaningful level. I wish I had liked it more, but, sigh, I just didn’t.I'm extremely thankful to St. Martin's Press and Net Galley for allowing me the opportunity to read this ARC!
    more
  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of those books that you are so very delighted to read and so very sad to be over! And the moment I finished the last word, instantly wanted to start all over again!Honestly, Katherines books bring me so much joy and laughter! They are a gift to read and I devour them while blocking out the real world, because her fictional worlds are just to good! Her books lift me up and make me want to live more fully. There was so much to love about this book! Duncan captured my heart in Happiness This is one of those books that you are so very delighted to read and so very sad to be over! And the moment I finished the last word, instantly wanted to start all over again!Honestly, Katherine’s books bring me so much joy and laughter! They are a gift to read and I devour them while blocking out the real world, because her fictional worlds are just to good! Her books lift me up and make me want to live more fully. There was so much to love about this book! Duncan captured my heart in Happiness for Beginners when he drove to see Helen with her dog in a cooler. From that moment on I was 100% invested in him, and I wanted to know more! I loved peeling back the layers of who Duncan is now and all that had happened to him in the 10 years or so since we last saw him! It was truly painful at times to witness all that he had become, but that made the his reappearance just that much more stunning! Oh and high on pain meds Duncan is amazing!!! I just loved all the things that came out of his mouth!!!Sam was the reverse of Duncan, someone who had been hiding in the shadows, but had now become the light that people looked too! Sadly that didn’t mean that her pain and hurts were healed, but as Katherine pointed out, sometimes helping others out, brings healing to us too. “At no point did it occur to us that we might be doing any of this for ourselves. But of course it helped us too.”I loved Sam and Duncan as individuals and as a unit. Even though this is written from Sams POV, I never felt that it I got less of Duncan because of this, in fact through her eyes we see Duncan as he is meant to be seen, not as he is! This book wouldn’t be possible with out my favorites and let’s just say that I got teary when Helen showed up on the beach, and then Jake and Duncan’s banter... I just started laughing and crying. I felt all of the emotions!!! I'll definitely be adding to this review as I ponder it more and reread it! I miss them all already!I was so honored to received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange in for an honest review!
    more
  • Patricia Romero
    January 1, 1970
    Remember Things You Lose in a Fire last year? Well, Katherine Center is back and has once again knocked it out of the park.There are many people who can tell a story well. There are not many people who can tell a story so well you feel as if you know the characters personally and are rooting for them all. One thing I love about her stories is they are everyday people living lives full of problems, insecurities, losses, and joy. You will cry, you will laugh and you will come away having learned Remember Things You Lose in a Fire last year? Well, Katherine Center is back and has once again knocked it out of the park.There are many people who can tell a story well. There are not many people who can tell a story so well you feel as if you know the characters personally and are rooting for them all. One thing I love about her stories is they are everyday people living lives full of problems, insecurities, losses, and joy. You will cry, you will laugh and you will come away having learned more than one valuable lesson!So let's talk about who is who and what is what!Sam Casey has had a hard road to travel. With help from the kind family who own the school where she is a Librarian, she is learning to embrace joy and kindness where she can.  She loves the school and the children and with Max as her boss and her landlord, she feels she has a sort of family. But life has a funny way of reminding us we aren't really in control of anything when Max drops dead at his 60th birthday party. Leaving his wife and friends devastated.Obviously, they have to have a new principal, but never in any part of Sam's mind did she think she would know him. Her crush from her former school. He was the fun teacher and she was not his type. Assumptions there!The Duncan who shows up, however, is not her Duncan. This guy is in a three-piece suit instead of the flamingo pants Sam remembers. And he doesn't seem to know who she is. His main goal seems to be to turn her beloved school into a drab, gray prison for children. No fun, no joy, no field trips!! But Sam isn't the mousey teacher she was before. Now she is actively seeking to take this guy out. But in doing so, she lets him in. And she finds out she has judged him too quickly and too harshly. Will we find out who the bad guy really is? Will Duncan finally notice her? And more importantly, will he run when he finds out her secrets? Or will she run when she discovers his?Very Well Done! Highly Recommend!NetGalley/ July 14th, 2020 by St. Martin's Press
    more
  • Jg
    January 1, 1970
    Do you know how when you especially love a book you want to read really fast to find out what happens next, or even skip ahead a few pages, but at the same time you want to put the book down so you can savor and slowly reread the authors words? This is such a book. This story is unique, and so well written, full of wonderful three dimensional, fully realized characters Id actually like to know, and after finishing the book Im still invested in their lives and what comes next for them. Sam is a Do you know how when you especially love a book you want to read really fast to find out what happens next, or even skip ahead a few pages, but at the same time you want to put the book down so you can savor and slowly reread the author’s words? This is such a book. This story is unique, and so well written, full of wonderful three dimensional, fully realized characters I’d actually like to know, and after finishing the book I’m still invested in their lives and what comes next for them. Sam is a librarian in Galveston at a special elementary school that promotes joy of learning that her mentors, Babette and Max created long ago. After the principal dies, Sam learns his replacement is non other than goofy, full of life, Duncan Carpenter, whom she secretly adored at her last teaching job in CA. Equally thrilled, and scared, Sam’s nervous how to handle their first interaction, and will he even remember her? But she receives a shock as this Duncan is humorless and stiff and nothing like the man she once knew. Filled with life, this book gives sage advice on how to create joy in everything we do, and embrace it, because even joy can be fleeting. A beautiful and wise story, and a book I already know I will read again. Katherine Center has now become one of my favorite authors. Read them all!
    more
  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    Read this story! "Do something joyful." You will adore this little school, the butterflies, the teachers, and the children. This is the setting of this book from Galveston,Texas.The only ones that you may not be sure about are Duncan and Kent Buckley. Well... I still despise Kent Buckley but I fell in love with Duncan! Duncan is the new principal and he needs this school, the love and friendship of his staff. Will he remember the librarian who once worked with him at another school? Sam sure Read this story! "Do something joyful." You will adore this little school, the butterflies, the teachers, and the children. This is the setting of this book from Galveston,Texas.The only ones that you may not be sure about are Duncan and Kent Buckley. Well... I still despise Kent Buckley but I fell in love with Duncan! Duncan is the new principal and he needs this school, the love and friendship of his staff. Will he remember the librarian who once worked with him at another school? Sam sure never forgot Duncan. She had a huge crush on him. His personality and his spontaneity. But, something has changed for Duncan. He is NOT the same person! What has happened? What has changed? Sam is determined to figure out this mystery!This is a wonderful, uplifting novel, that I read in a day. It is a happy story that we all need! Catherine Center has done it again! Excellent!
    more
Write a review