Happy New Year! We’re less than a week in, and 2022 has not been kind. My husband and I spent the last week sick with COVID-19, but thankfully, we have recovered. I’m stuck in quarantine for the next seven days, but on the bright side, I’ve been able to catch up on some reading.
“What You Wish For” is the second book I’ve read by Katherine Center, who is quickly becoming a favorite author. I spent my teenage/young adult years devouring Sarah Dessen books, and Katherine Center’s style of writing is similar. I love the simplicity of a love story mixed with a life lesson, and “What You Wish For” certainly fits the bill.
Here is the book’s 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.
“With Katherine Center’s sparkling dialogue, unforgettable characters, heart, hope, and humanity, What You Wish For is the author at her most compelling best.“
My Verdict: “How to Walk Away” by Katherine Center is Worth Reading (4 Stars)
At first, I’ve got to admit, I didn’t like this book right off the bat. I found narrator Samantha Casey annoying. Her outlandish outfits were supposed to be quirky but actually were garish (for one, she has pink bangs), and her obsession with Duncan Carpenter made me think of her as — frankly — pathetic. She spends so much energy trying to change him back into who he was when she knew him, and I thought it came across as her being controlling. Other than that, there wasn’t much conflict, so I didn’t feel as invested in this story.
However, this book is still a good read, and I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a cute romance. The book does hit on heavy themes like school shootings, death, and epilepsy, but it does so in a light way without bogging the reader down with doom and gloom. This could be a good thing or bad thing depending on your taste, but I thought Center did a good job touching on these points while keeping the overall nature of the book lighthearted.
Love interest Duncan grew on me throughout the book, too, and I found his character more interesting than Samantha’s. He goes through some character development, while Samantha pretty much stays the same until the very end. This book is a quick read and around 310 pages. There is a short epilogue, although I felt it wasn’t necessary.
Recommendations Based Off This Book
You might enjoy this book if you have read any of Katherine Center’s other novels. (Check out my review of her book “How to Walk Away”.) Additionally, Goodreads recommends “Surfside Sisters” by Nancy Thayer, “Brave Girl, Quiet Girl” by Catherine Ryan Hyde, and “The Wedding Dress” by Danielle Steele.
If you’ve read this book, let me know what you thought of it! I hope 2022 is treating you well!