Cover Image: What You Wish For

What You Wish For

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Member Reviews

“We decided to do Joy on purpose”.  Ahh.  I love this idea and this book.  The characters were so well done and it didn’t take long for me to be drawn into the story.
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If you’re looking for a book that will raise your spirits and help you remember what hope in humanity look like, this is the book for you. The characters and the dialogue in the story are fantastic, the author knows what they’re doing when it comes to writing a compelling piece for readers. I enjoyed this book mainly because of the overall message of choosing and or finding happiness wherever you can, this is some thing that is easily forgotten in dark times and reading a book like this now is so beneficial for the mental health of us all.
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I will pretty much read any book by Katherine Center, and this book was no exception. It was wonderfully written, with multidimensional characters who were lovable and easy to root for.
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Katherine Center specializes in what I'd likely characterize as disaster romance. She helps guide her characters to finding one another (and themselves) through the messy and challenging things we all go through in the course of our lives. There is beauty in that, certainly. And there was a lot of heart in these characters that I appreciated. That said, overall this book fell a bit flat to me (worth mentioning that I loved two of her other books).
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Thank you to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for an advanced readers copy of the book for my honest opinion. This book has been published for some time and is available and definitely worth the read!

Really lovable characters and nice story. I thoroughly enjoyed "What You Wish For" by Katherine Center.. This is my first novel by Ms. Center. I will definitely be picking up others!
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Samantha is a free spirited school librarian in a private school that thrives on independence and joy, so when a new principal is hired and begins to suck the joy out of every moment, chaos ensues. Samantha knew Duncan from a previous school and even had a crush on him, but this grey suited stick in the mud is not the Duncan she remembered. Can she help him find his joy again before he ruins the school?

I expected this to be similar to all those rom-com movies where the hero & heroine dance around each other until the obviously inevitable moment where they get together at the end...AWWW!  Don't get me wrong, that's exactly what happens, but there are plenty of twists & turns to keep readers guessing. Plus this book actually addresses some pretty heavy issues, like grief, family dynamics, school safety, child rearing, and even the environment. I loved this book. Maybe it's because I was a school librarian, so I could relate to Samantha, but maybe it was just because I found it fun. Plus I really loved the "choose joy" message
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Review published on Goodreads, 23 July 2022:

I've read and enjoyed a couple of Center's books so far. They're fun, uplifting, escapist reads that just make me smile. WHAT YOU WISH FOR, the author's newest, is no exception. It is, in fact, a joyful book because it's LITERALLY about finding joy amidst the hard things in life. Sam is an exuberant leading lady, one who is sympathetic, likable, and definitely root-worthy. I wanted her and Duncan to find a way to each other, even though I wasn't as fond of him as of her. Their path to love is littered with enough tension and trial to make their story interesting. I was never bored with it. While the book is on the lighter side, there is some depth to it that helped it feel like more than just another cute rom-com. Overall, I enjoyed it. It was just the happy, transporting read I needed right now.
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The story was cute, but slow. It was full of "feel good" cliches and classic romcom shenanigans but overall seemed a bit tiring. Some of the characters were very predictable and some were just out right annoying. Overall not my favorite read.
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I just loved this book! Easy read just loved all the characters particularly Samantha.  What you wish for is a story about love, grief, expect pations, drama, forgivenesss all to have an very good novel! I see this book as a gift not a reading experience,.. would definitely recommend this book.
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Some authors write books that feel so genuine you feel as if you know them somewhat and could be friends.  Katherine Center is one of those authors.  She writes complex characters you root for coupled with interesting story lines.
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Katherine Center can do no wrong. Every single one of her books is a hit, and What You Wish For is no exception. It brought joy and a strong desire to hug Sam and Duncan, the main character. Heart-warming and pleasant. It feels like a warm blanket on your brain.
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Katherine Center writes feel-good romance, even when scary topics are touched upon. I loved this book and the fun descriptions of the heroine's clothing kept me smiling.
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2.5 rounded up to 3

     This novel starts off as a rom-com in the first chapter, but an event in the same chapter changes the expectations right away. Samantha (Sam) is a quirky character and her backstory makes sense for who she has become, both the sad and inspirational. When Duncan, Sam's former colleague from another state arrives,   readers will be surprised in the differences between who he is and what Samantha remembers.  

     The representation of Sam's chronic illness and PTSD from a tragedy become more dominate as the story progresses, which adds levity to the second chance romance trope. Sensitive readers might want to read the trigger warnings. Suspension of belief for some of Sam's choices could be seen as annoying or refreshing, depending on the reader and the situation. This would appeal to readers of relationship fiction who like romance, too.  

Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the e-galley. I listened to the released audiobook for this review. 
My reviews and ratings are my own. 

Spoiler Alert



TW/CW:  death; character living with epilepsy; recall of a mass school shooting with graphic details of how children died or were injured; permanent injuries from gun violence described; mention of suicide attempts; abandonment of child by parent
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This book was such a cute, refreshing rom-com! I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be setting out to read all of Katherine Centers novels now! I came to love the characters, their stories, and was rooting for them all in the end. Highly recommend’!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC!
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I love the strong female lead and that there was strong character development. I loved this story development and felt it read at a very quick pace. I look forward to seeing what Kathrine Center comes up with next.
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Samantha Casey left her old school for the Kempner School in Galveston, TX to escape an unrequited crush on a teacher, Duncan Carpenter. She's a built a life for herself there with a new community and new friends, and she loves her new town. When their beloved principal and school founder suddenly passes away, Duncan Carpenter is appointed as the new school principal. Samantha fears she's going to need to leave to escape him again, but Duncan is not the same person he used to be.

What You Wish For is a well-written romance story about choosing joy even in the face of fear and letdowns. When you can't control the bad and scary parts of life, you can still choose to be joyful. I loved the message of this story and witnessing Duncan and Sam trying to implement this in their own lives. Sam and Duncan were both very well-developed and the many supporting characters were woven well into the story.
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What You Wish For takes the reader on a hope-filled, funny, tender jaunt on a school campus where a librarian strikes an interesting relationship with the new principal. With skillful tension, Center delivers hope when and where it's needed most.
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The first 100ish pages were a bit slow for me, but then it picked up and I flew through it. I really, really enjoyed this one. It went a few places I didn't expect - which is rare as I pride myself on being able to predict plots, but it was really lovely. A delightful book that left my heart happy.

I'm very delayed in posting this, but shortly after I finished I suggested this book to a number of friends, particularly those looking for a pick me up in a hard time.
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This book was so stinkin' enjoyable for me! I'd heard mixed reviews, mostly peeps saying it was nowhere near as good as "THINGS YOU SAVE IN A FIRE", so I put off reading this one because I assumed I'd be disappointed. Wrong-o! I had nothing to worry about. If I had to use single words to describe it, they would be COMPELLING, IMMERSIVE, and CHARMING. The enemies to lovers and pining secret love tropes were so well done, and the chemistry between the MCs is exquisite. The storytelling is top-notch, the characters are believable, relatable, stirring, and entertaining, the dialogue is often genuinely laugh-out-loud funny, and there is a delicious HEA.

Prudie™ Ratings: Scores rank from 0-10. For craft, 0 is "I can't get those hours of my life back", 10 is best of the best. For wholesome ratings, the scores are backward: 10 is atomic bomb, 0 is non-existent.

Craft ratings:
-> Writing: 10/10
I loved everything about the writing style and narrative. So, so good! Utterly captivating.
-> Plot: 8/10
Kept me hooked! Got to hang out in lots of different places around the Galveston-neighboring, seaside city, which I loved.
-> Characterization: 10/10
This is one of my absolute favorite aspects of reading Katherine Center's stories! She does such an incredible job of shaping well-rounded characters that feel so real they could leap right off the page at you! I miss them by the time the story is over. I especially loved this MC -- her voice was so relatable to me, and I just found her so engaging and memorable. And the mysterious circumstances surrounding the male lead was also SO gripping!

Wholesome ratings:
-> Language: 6/10
The crass language was my least favorite part of the book. Quite a bit of profanity, including the F-bomb and GD.
-> Steaminess: 2/10
No sex scenes, but a little bit of macking. ;) No overly sexualized language.
-> Positive theme(s): 6/10
Found family, hard work ethic, small town community, helping others, adults challenging themselves to have fun in silly ways and not take themselves too seriously, teachers making a point to meaningfully engage students, second chances, communication, boldness and bravery, stepping out of one's comfort zone, standing up for what you believe is right, the positive results that can come from professional therapy, building healthy vulnerability in relationships, accepting loved ones despite unusual or challenging characteristics, living life with a disease or physical injury, the joy of letting others love you through your own hang-ups about yourself.
-> Political correctness: 4/10
Super progressive idealist views on ecology and education, but there was a careful rein on it, interestingly. Sex-positive discussions and outlooks with a positive stance on cohabitation and premarital sex. Some pointed feminist remarks. Divorce was handled with an uncomfortable lightness as if it was an inevitable thing, that the marriage was doomed to begin with, no matter what. Unclear stance on guns, but there was an undercurrent that I took as liberal.
-> Violence: 2/10
A live-action death that is non-violent but may be disturbing for some if they've ever witnessed a death up close. There's a personal recounting of a school shooting. A guy gets punched in the stomach.

Overall score for enjoyment/appreciation: 8/10 for 5 out of 5 stars.

Big thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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As a teacher, it took me a little bit to get going. I was struggling with the behavior of the principal and his obsessive need for school security. I agree that school security is important, I just think Duncan was going a little overboard. I'm glad that Sam was able to reign him in. After that, I had a hard time putting the book down!
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