What You Wish For

What You Wish For

A Novel

eBook - 2020
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"The story's message, that people should choose joy even (and especially) in difficult and painful times, seems tailor-made for this moment. A timely, uplifting read about finding joy in the midst of tragedy, filled with quirky characters and comforting warmth."—Kirkus (starred review)

From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel full of heart and hope.

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 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.

Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group


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Dec 27, 2020

I am a long time Katherine Center fan, and always look forward to her books. This one is not a favourite. I don't know, maybe I've outgrown her type of novel. 80 pages in, and nothing much has happened, but it does pick up and the ending is classic Center. It was great that she brought in Helen and Jake from Happiness for Beginners.

Dec 09, 2020

High score for a story that filled a need when I've been reading too many deep books. Center's book is by no means frivolous but is a sincere effort to enlighten the reader to choose Joy in a life of happenstance. Duncan re-enters Samantha's life a hardly recognizable person. Both have personal human sufferings and walls are built literally and figuratively. Supporting characters have some recovery to accomplish as well. I admit to shedding a few tears at the last beach scene. A needed story during these times.

Gina_Vee Dec 06, 2020

Good story! It was heartbreaking, exhilarating, and heartwarming all at the same time.

Oct 08, 2020

loved this book!

Sep 07, 2020

I was disappointed with this novel.  The sentences are well written & the characters are fun but the story line is very thin & very unrealistic, even for a romance novel.  Not nearly as good as How to Walk Away.

Aug 19, 2020

Oh, how I loved this story! If you love stories with a strong woman character, this is for you! Another plus for me as a retired teacher and librarian it's a school story. Just do yourself a favor and read it!

DCLadults Aug 07, 2020

A New & Noteworthy staff pick 2020. Meet Samantha, a school librarian at a private school who finds joy in the small things. This is the love story you're not expecting and that you want to read today.

Jul 26, 2020

Wonderful! A book about an elementary school librarian is right up my alley. When a former crush becomes the new principal, she discovers what she loves about the former teacher has been destroyed and he’s going to destroy what she loves about her Galveston Texas school. And she’s forced to stand up for what she cares about. Yep, us librarians have been there. It’s a nice summer book to read.

Mar 07, 2020

Happiness for Beginners was one of my favorite reads from 2019. In my review, I mentioned how much I loved the heroine's evolving relationship with her brother by the end of the book. Imagine my surprise and excitement over learning that Helen's brother Duncan would be a main character in this upcoming release. I was crazy with excitement.

As told in the heroine Sam's single POV, this story was about her fight for life's joys through unexpected upheaval, Duncan's re-arrival in her life, and a school (town) grieving over the loss of their beloved founder. I really liked Samantha and her shared self-transformation after arriving in Gavelston four years prior, but similar to this author's previous novels, it's the secondary characters that really helped shape Samantha's characterization and made me love her.

I know I was biased going in, but no one could outshine my love for all things Duncan. Well, maybe Alice, but that's for another book (fingers crossed!) This author was astute in her depiction of Duncan's evolution from the goofy and affable slacker brother in HFB to the intrinsically altered version he became in this book. It was believable and also heartbreaking. This was where the author showed her writing mettle and alternately drove the story with wit and sound character development to deep and heartrending poignancy.

As for the romance, it was swoon-worthy perfection. Even without the romantic tension and happily ever after, this story had one of KC’s most inspirational endings. I adored it and the picture this author depicted of Gavelston Island, Texas and the waters surrounding it. Without a doubt, What You Wish For will be another Katherine Center story added to my keeper shelf.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the early reading opportunity. More importantly, thank you to KC for writing the books that I love to read.


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