“Sam Casey loves her job as an elementary school librarian on Galveston Island. That is until the founder and principal suddenly passes away and is replaced by Sam’s former crush Duncan Carpenter, who has become a stickler for rules and safety rather than the carefree, charismatic leader he was when they worked together years ago. As Sam and her colleagues try to thwart Duncan’s initiatives, she digs deeper to learn why he’s changed. A lovely novel about moving through grief and choosing to find joy wherever you can.”
— Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX
"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 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.
About the Author
BookPage calls Katherine Center “the reigning queen of comfort reads.” She’s the New York Times bestselling author of over half a dozen books, including How to Walk Away, Things You Save in a Fire, and What You Wish For. Katherine writes laugh-and-cry books about how life knocks us down—and how we get back up. She’s been compared to both Jane Austen and Nora Ephron, and the Dallas Morning News calls her stories, “satisfying in the most soul-nourishing way.” Her books have made countless Best-Of lists, including RealSimple’s Best Books of 2020, Amazon's Top 100 Books of 2019, Goodreads' Best Books of the Year, and many more. Bestselling author Emily Henry calls her summer 2022 book, The Bodyguard, “a shot of pure joy.” The movie adaptation of Katherine’s novel The Lost Husband (starring Josh Duhamel) hit #1 on Netflix, and her novel Happiness for Beginners is in production now as a Netflix original starring Ellie Kemper. Katherine lives in her hometown of Houston, Texas, with her husband, two kids, and their fluffy-but-fierce dog.
Praise for What You Wish For:
One of: People's "Book of the week" Refinery29's "17 Brand New 'Beach' Reads For Summer 2020" Parade's "Best Beach Reads of 2020" Real Simple's "Best Books of 2020" PopSugar's "30 Best New Books to Dive Into This Summer" She Reads' "Best Beach Reads of Summer 2020"
“This charming, often lighthearted novel touches on serious issues and celebrates the power of joy to trump fear and despair.” --People
"[A] fast-paced tale steeped with whimsical plot points. This is one for the beach bag." — Publishers Weekly
"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)
"Katherine Center excels at writing gentle, beautifully crafted romances."— PopSugar
“What You Wish For is a bona fide explosion of happiness packaged in book form. A compassionate story of grief and resilience, What You Wish For is also a vital reminder that joy is not just something that happens to us but also something we have the power to choose... Center has created for her readers a quirky confection that celebrates life in all its imperfect glory and delivers a much-needed dose of optimism.” — Bookpage
"What You Wish For has Center's signature sprightly style and is a bubbly tonic to chase away the blues." —Augusta Chronicle