Review of What You Wish For by Katherine Center

Definitely a sweet, heart-warming story.

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.

Available on Amazon.

Definitely a sweet, heart-warming story but I have mixed feelings on this book. It’s a very cute story, perhaps even cutesy at times, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

My first few chapters into the story, I was hooked. The writing style flowed, descriptions were just right, the main character grabbed my attention and my sympathies. I was ready to settle into a sweet read. However, the second twenty percent tested my patience a bit. As much as I really liked Sam, the repetitive content over how embarrassed she was to be preparing to meet Duncan again went on long after the sentiment was fully established. Yet, I wouldn’t let that put me off completely because, overall, I found Sam’s quirkinesses, high-strung tendencies and big heart hard to resist.

Even though the story is told fully from Sam’s perspective, we are still able to get a really good sense of who Duncan is and what is necessary for him to change and learn to embrace life again. The chapter after Duncan has undergone minor surgery and is too drugged up to mind his tongue, is wonderfully funny and endearing.

Sam and Duncan aren’t the only lovable characters. Max and Babette provide notes of nostalgia and advice from the more experienced. Alice’s ‘go get em’ attitude and Math puns provide chuckles. Tina and Kent Buckley are a bit roll your eyes over the top but offer the kind of nemeses you’ll love to hate.

For the most part, I found the dialogue to be very well-written and engaging. Yet, something kept me from fully connecting with the story. I think Sam was just a touch over the top and perhaps that’s what clouded my overall enjoyment.

I’ve read lots of great reviews of Katherine Center’s books and I suspect if you’re a fan, you’ll enjoy this one too. If you want a feel-good read to bring a smile to your face, give this one a try.

I give What You Wish For 3.5/5 espresso shots.

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