Book Review: What You Wish For

What You Wish For
Author: Katherine Center

Published: July 14, 2020

Reviewed By: Jessica
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars
Dates Read: September 11-17, 2020

Book Description:

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.

Jessica’s Review:


The past two years I have discovered Katherine Center and adored her, in fact she made my top 10 list for 2019 and 2020.  Needless to say I was looking forward to her newest one What You Wish For but this one just didn’t quite work for me. 

What I did love is that the protagonist, Sam (Samantha) has a non-visual disability.  We don’t have many novels with our main character that has a disability, and I wish we did. And this disability is very much a part of the storyline.  I have a sister who suffers from a visual disability, so this is something that tugs my heart.  Thank you Katherine Center for creating a character like this! 

Now, for what I did not like: Sam’s personality. She is 28 years old, but comes off much more immature than her age.  I enjoy strong, female characters and Sam is the opposite of that.  Yes, she had an unrequited crush on Duncan Carpenter years ago (who hasn’t had one at some point in their life?) and they worked at the same school.  Eventually she left the school she worked at and is happy being the librarian at her new school she is working at.  A few years later, the beloved principal of the school passes away to the heartbreak of the students and staff. Then his replacement is announced and the new principal will be Duncan Carpenter…

What I did not like about Sam is that she debates on quitting her job again because of Duncan being hired.  Come on, you are quitting your job…Because a man who you had an unrequited crush on is hired!?!?!?  He did not even know who you are!  OMG, I had so much frustration with Sam!  How immature is this??? How old are we??? Oh yes… 28 years old. A very immature 28 years old.   I could possibly see leaving the school if you had been in a serious relationship and it ended poorly, but this is just an unrequited CRUSH! 

And then when Duncan arrives, he is a complete 180 from when Sam knew him  at their old school. And this 180 turn is completely serious, by the books, rule making principal.  There is no fun with this ‘new Duncan’.  Sam is determined to find out why Duncan has changed so much.

Both Sam and Duncan have secrets they are keeping, and when we find out Duncan’s everything comes to make sense. It is actually because of this secret that I gave an extra .5 stars to my rating.

Towards the end we have a little side story that comes into play that also just did not work for me. It just came out of left field for me. I did not see the point to it.

I listened to the audiobook version of What You Wish For which is narrated by Therese Plummer, another narrator I adore!  Bonus points for her narration!

This could be a cute little summer beach read (or just a getaway from the way that 2020 has become) that may work for you. I do enjoy chick-lit novels, but this one was just not for me. I will continue to read Center and maybe get to some of her older novels.  If you like the strong female characters then stay away from this one. I really wish I could have enjoyed this one more and would have loved to have seen Center make my top 10 for 2020, but she won’t with this novel. But there is always next year!  

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK