Book Highlight: What You Wish For by Katherine Center

Book Review: What You Wish For by Katherine Center - a cute, easy women's fiction novel

Title: What You Wish For

Author: Katherine Center

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: July 14, 2020

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

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.

Why This Book

What You Wish For is mostly about the romance between a school librarian and the school’s principal, but, as it’s partly set at a school, the students make frequent appearances. This was really just a super cute romance and fun women’s fiction story. It absolutely focused more on the adults.

But I chose this book because, well, it wasn’t my favorite read on this Shelf, but it is set at a school and school is very much at the forefront for me as my own children are both in school. There’s also a darling boy, Clay, I always think of with a great deal of fondness whenever I think of this book. He was so sweet and so precocious and my favorite part of the book is really all about him.


My review: “It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t fantastic. It was cute. There were some things I wish had been more explored, pieces I wished had been expanded on, but, overall, this was just such an easy book to breeze through”

Bookshelf Fantasies gave this a 3.5, saying “What You Wish For is a quick read, and while it deals with grief and other serious matters, there’s a sweetness too in the sense of community and the absolutely lovely and supportive way that the school at large forms its own extended family”

The Bookish Libra gave this 4.5 stars, saying this “is a beautiful story about love and loss, friendship and “found” family, and perhaps most importantly, it’s a story about overcoming fears, embracing joy, and living life to the fullest”

The Traveling Bookworm gave this 4 stars, saying “this book is still a good read, and I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a cute romance. The book does hit on heavy themes like school shootings, death, and epilepsy, but it does so in a light way without bogging the reader down with doom and gloom. This could be a good thing or bad thing depending on your taste, but I thought Center did a good job touching on these points while keeping the overall nature of the book lighthearted”

Pen In Her Hand said “the other most compelling character is Clay Buckley, Sam’s soon-to-be third grader student and son of Sam’s nemesis. In fact, more than the story of Sam and Duncan’s relationship, it is Clay who, despite a conflict-ridden home life, infuses this novel with heart. Clay is smart, sensitive, and perhaps even a touch presentient”

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Target | Google Books | Walmart | Wellesley Books | Apple Books | Audible | Kobo | Booktopia (Australia) | Book Depository | | Powell’s | Waterstones (UK) | Blue Willow Bookshop

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