What You Wish For [Book Review]

July 14, 2020

What You Wish For by Katherine Center

What You Wish For by Katherine Center (cover) ImageL white title on a blue backbround with flowers and a yellow ferris wheel edging the border

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Romance

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


Samantha is a happy elementary school librarian in Galveston, Texas. One day, the school loses its beloved principal and his replacement is Duncan Carpenter, someone that Sam knows from her past. She’s a bit concerned about how this will play out because she used to have a crush on Duncan. She keeps this a secret while assuring everyone that the new principal is a great person and they are lucky to have him. However, Duncan shows up as a stiff and humorless person who is preoccupied with school safety. Everything that Sam loves about her school is suddenly being systematically destroyed. How will she stand up to him and fight his policies, and how will this affect their relationship?

My Thoughts:

Thank you #netgalley #stmartinspress for the complimentary e-ARC of #whatyouwishfor upon my request. All opinions are entirely my own.

Right Book at the Right Time: What You Wish For appeared on my radar right during the initial stages of the COVID-19 lockdown orders in our state. I was finding it difficult to focus on my usual heavier content reads, and I knew I needed something light and engaging. I’m happy to report that this well-written contemporary fiction was a perfect choice.

What I Liked Best:

  • mostly likable characters
  • highly spirited, fearless, and outspoken main character
  • poignant themes including friendship, belonging, found family, deliberate pursuit of joy, healing from trauma, living with a chronic health condition, philosophy of education, PTSD, taking risks
  • enemies to lovers trope
  • witty tone
  • a sweet romance
  • school/library settings and book references
  • engaging plot that made me want to keep turning pages (read in a day)
  • mostly PG (only a couple of instances of profanity)
  • cover love!

I Wished For… (under the category of personal preference)

  • stronger editing for the overuse of the word “just” and the phrase “fair enough”
  • more reastic events (some felt contrived toward the end)

Recommended: Overall, What You Wish For is an engaging and easy read that I enthusiastically recommend for fans of chick lit, romcom, and Katherine Center, for book clubs looking for a quick and easy read, for those looking for a book to take them out of a reading slump, or for readers who need a light weekend or vacation read. I rounded my rating of 3.5 up to 4 Stars because it kept me turning the pages, put a smile on my face, and is one I would recommend in the genre. My favorite Katherine Center title. PG.

Content Considerations: (may contain spoilers) references to a school shooting, discussions of epilepsy, a seizure, PTSD

My Rating: 4  Stars


What You Wish For by Katherine Center (cover) Image: bright flowers and the edge of a gold ferris wheel bordering a bright blue background

What You Wish For Information

Meet the Author, Katherine Center

Author Katherine Center

Katherine Center’s new novel is WHAT YOU WISH FOR. She’s the author of How to Walk Away and Things You Save in a Fire—both instant New York Times bestsellers—as well as The Lost Husband (now a movie starring Josh Duhamel), and five other bittersweet comic novels. She writes laugh-and-cry books about how life knocks us down—and how we get back up. Katherine has been compared to both Nora Ephron and Jane Austen, and the Dallas Morning News calls her stories, “satisfying in the most soul-nourishing way.” Her books have made countless Best-Of lists, including Amazon’s Top 100 Books of 2019, Goodreads’ Best Books of the Year 2019, BookBub’s Best-Loved Books of 2019, the Indie Next Great Reads List, SheReads’ Best Women’s Fiction 2019, BookList’s Top Ten Women’s Fiction, and many, many more. Katherine lives in her hometown of Houston, Texas, with her husband, two kids, and their fluffy-but-fierce dog.


Is What You Wish For on your TBR or have you read it?

Are you a Katherine Center fan?

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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

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  1. Great review Carol. I have enjoyed a couple of her books and am looking forward to this one. I like your new review layout with your what you like and what you wished for.

    • Thanks Carla! I think you might enjoy this one with a librarian and a school setting! 🙌
      Sometimes I approach writing a post with blah feelings (not about the book but about the repetitive process of doing it over and over again) and then I know it’s time to change it up a bit! Also I have a lot to work on this week and it’s a quick format! Thanks for the feedback!

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