Review: What You Wish For

51168993. sy475 What You Wish For
By Katherine Center
320 pages
Published July 14, 2020
St. Martin's Press


About the Book:

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.

I really enjoyed both How to Walk Away and Things You Save in a Fire, so I was super excited to read What You Wish For! I loved Sam as a character--she was so interesting and real and easy to relate to.    I connected with her and Babette immediately at the beginning of the book, and was hooked from there. I loved the description of the school library!It sounded so fun and Sam was a perfect school librarian. It got me all nostalgic for library days and read ins when I was in elementary school.

I did NOT like Duncan for the first half of the book--to the point where I was wondering why everyone loved this book so much. But THEN I kept reading....and fell in love with their story. I could not put this book down and absolutely loved the last third of the book. There are so many important themes in this book--family, love, grief, forgiveness. It's beautifully written, and I will continue to count Katherine Center as an auto-buy author.

So many great passages:

"“I wasn’t a stranger to grieving, to the way it drowned you but didn’t kill you—only
kept you submerged for so long you forgot what air and sunshine felt like. I knew that grief set its own timeline, and that the only way out was through.”"

"And she also knew, as I was starting to understand in a whole new way, that it was always better to dance than to refuse."