What You Wish For by Katherine Center, 4 Stars

I remember in college, or my early twenties, when I was single and surrounded by single friends, we all had a story of the guy. The one who broke our heart. Or the one we had a mad crush on, that went unrequited. But everyone had one. The guy who we would have laid all our hopes and dreams on, if we had been able.

In What You Wish For, Duncan is THE GUY for Samantha. The one she admired from a-far. The one who she told all her friends about. Except she gets a second chance.

From the Publisher:

Samantha Casey is a school librarian who loves her job, the kids, and her school family with passion and joy for living.
But she wasn’t always that way.
Duncan Carpenter is the new school principal who lives by rules and regulations, guided by the knowledge that bad things can happen.
But he wasn’t always that way.

And Sam knows it. Because she knew him before—at another school, in a different life. Back then, she loved him—but she was invisible. To him. To everyone. Even to herself. She escaped to a new school, a new job, a new chance at living. But when Duncan, of all people, gets hired as the new principal there, it feels like the best thing that could possibly happen to the school—and the worst thing that could possibly happen to Sam. Until the opposite turns out to be true. The lovable Duncan she’d known is now a suit-and-tie wearing, rule-enforcing tough guy so hell-bent on protecting the school that he’s willing to destroy it.

As the school community spirals into chaos, and danger from all corners looms large, Sam and Duncan must find their way to who they really are, what it means to be brave, and how to take a chance on love—which is the riskiest move of all.

With Katherine Center’s sparkling dialogue, unforgettable characters, heart, hope, and humanity, What You Wish For is the author at her most compelling best.

My Review

In What You Wish For by Katherine Center, the main character, Samantha gets a second chance at the man of her dreams. Sam is a quirky elementary school librarian who seems to be loads of funky fun,, but kind of a spinster in the making. She doesn’t date, she mostly spends her time with books and building crazy and colorful outfits to amuse the students at her school.

When the beloved principal (and founder of the school), suddenly drops dead, the whole community feels lost until a new principal is named. And when Sam finds out that Duncan is coming to the school, she has mixed feelings. He’s the guy who got away. Although, she never really had a grip on him, most of it was in her head.

Sam is a full character and the reader gets a front-row seat to her neurotic thoughts surrounding Duncan. I mean, she left a job in a school because she thought Duncan was getting engaged to someone else, but she never actually had a real relationship with him. And overall, she’s just super insecure, to a fault.

Her biggest fear is falling back in love with him and having to run from him again (irrationally, of course, who does that?) But when Duncan arrives at her school and he is nothing like who he was before, she has to work her way through another nightmare – that someone could ruin the idllyic school and life she has built since Duncan.

Both Sam and Duncan are extreme characters, and not always believable at times. But What You Wish For was charming, nostalgic and just a good light read. This from a girl who mostly reads thrillers and horror, but still! And the pages flew, it really was engaging throughout.

Special thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for an advanced e-galley in exchange for my honest review. This one is out July 14. Get your copy:


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