Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and the author for the complimentary ARC of WHAT YOU WISH FOR by Katherine Center in exchange for an honest review.
Publication Date: 7/14/2020
Rating: 4 / 5
Katherine Center was first put on my radar by one of my first bookish friends after joining bookstagram. I loved THINGS YOU SAVE IN A FIRE so I was thrilled to receive the ARC for WHAT YOU WISH FOR!
In WHAT YOU WISH FOR Samantha is a school librarian who absolutely loves her school and the people she works with, kids and staff alike. The book opens with a heavy blow with the loss of the school’s principal. In the midst of their grief, they learn that a new principal has been hired and the name is very familiar to Sam. Sam remembers Duncan as a loveable goofball and a fantastic educator. He’s also the man she once left a job for to escape her serious and unrequited crush.
The Duncan who shows up is not the man she remembered. He has an obsession with school safety that seems very over the top to the teachers. The changes he’s implementing take away everything that made their school such a special place. Sam and her friends are ready to stand up to Duncan and the school board to make sure their students get the best school possible.
This book takes on some heavy topics including school violence, trauma, disabilities and grief, but the author’s writing really makes it feel like a comfort read. There is an ongoing message of intentionally adding joy to your life, even in different circumstances. I think I loved the supportive friendships in this book most of all.
The narrative is very conversational and I was easily able to connect with Sam and her inner monologues. Sam is fun and awkward, and her absolute passion for books and the kids she works with comes through loud and clear. I will admit that I struggled a bit to see the good in Duncan’s character. He’s a very extreme example of someone who is rigid and controlling. As the novel goes on and Sam is able to see some the old Duncan breaking through I did warm to him more. The reasons behind his extreme personality makeover also come clear further along in the story.
I found this a fun and engaging read and I flew through it in less than a day. Keep an eye out for this one when it’s released on 7/14/2020!