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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

What You Wish For

What You Wish For

ISBN: 1250219361

Publisher: St Martin's Press

Publication Date: 07/14/20

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars July Author Q&A 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.


My Review

WHAT YOU WISH FOR is a compelling, timely, and ultimately uplifting read about finding “joy” amid tragedy—filled with quirky characters and lots of heart. There is an ongoing theme about choosing “joy” on purpose. Not, despite life’s sorrows. But, because of them. What an excellent book for the times we are living. Stay tuned for my unique fun and exciting Elevator Ride with the Author, coming July 14th. Learn all the behind the scenes exclusives from WHAT YOU WISH FOR and more about this talented Author.

If you are looking for a book that makes you smile, laugh out loud, and good for the soul— pick up any Katherine Center book. If you have not seen her book to movie, THE LOST HUSBAND, be sure and stream it now!

WHAT YOU WISH FOR has an extraordinary cast of characters with personality. Hoping for a movie based on this book as well!

Set on the historical island of Galveston, Texas, in an old Victorian building, there is an elementary school with a fun-loving and caring principal, Max. Everyone loved Max and his wife, Babette.

Samantha Casey’s life has not always been easy before moving to Galveston, where she began working as an elementary school librarian. Max and Babette became like her parents and rented a cottage from them. They were her role models.

After planning a big anniversary party for the couple, while having to fight against their not so nice daughter, Tina, a tragedy occurs. Max, now gone, has left everyone in the town shattered and grief-stricken.

The school receives the word they are getting a new principal, Duncan. (you may recall from her previous book). She is shocked. At her old school, he was the guy she had a mad crush on that did not return her feelings.

However, soon she learns the fun-loving, quirky guy she fell in love with is no more. He is quite the opposite. Plus, he does not even acknowledge her and acts as though they have never met.

Sam and Duncan seem to have switched places. She was the solemn one in the past, and he was the fun one. Now she wears all the quirky fun colors, and Duncan is a stick in the mud. He is strict and changing all the rules. He is taking away all their joy. Long gone is the fun, impulsive Duncan with the colorful ties and socks.

He is ruining their school. Sam must do something before he destroys all the work Max and Babette set in motion. However, things are not always as they seem. There is a story behind both Sam and Duncan. Each is guarding their private secrets. However, for them to truly get to know one another again, the walls must come down.

What a fantastic story! You will fall in love with little Clay. Fans of Mary Alice Monroe (protecting wildlife) will be assured to enjoy WHAT YOU WISH FOR.

Katherine is a master storyteller (with a special gift) who writes both humorous and bittersweet stories. Stories of falling and getting back up. Tragedy over triumph. She skillfully turns something tragic into something beautiful with humor and heartwarming characters.

Her characters must always learn a powerful lesson. At the same time, readers will receive a message which will resonate with them.

WHAT YOU WISH FOR is timely and perfect for each of us today in these uncertain and trying times. We all need an escape from the madness. Triumph over tragedy. Joy in the places we least expect. Katherine is assured to provide entertainment and a smile to brighten your day.

😎 Highly recommend!

A special thank you to St Martin's Press and Netgalley for an advanced reading copy.



"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)

"[A] fast-paced tale steeped with whimsical plot points.

This is one for the beach bag."

Publishers Weekly

"Katherine Center excels at writing gentle, beautifully crafted romances."

— PopSugar

One of:

  • Parade's "Best Beach Reads of 2020"

  • PopSugar's "30 Best New Books to Dive Into This Summer"

  • She Reads' "Best Beach Reads of Summer 2020"

“This is the lovely sort of book that makes you want to read every little bit of what the author writes just so you can feel all warm and sparkly again. I recommend this book to anyone who loves JOY and LOVE and BRIGHT things. I recommend this book to anyone stubbornly fighting for the LIGHT in the dark. Let’s do that always, always.”

—LEESA CROSS-SMITH, author of So We Can Glow (and others)

“Finished What You Wish For last night and it was everything I expected in a Katherine Center book. It made me sigh and tear up and smile so hard that my cheeks were hurting. And of course, it made me fall in love again. A gorgeous book about second chances not only in love but in life as well.”


“What You Wish For is a story full of heart. The characters are so real you will feel as though you know them. Katherine Center never fails to take her readers away on an emotional journey and then bring us back home with tears of joy. In fact, finding joy in life is an integral part of this engaging story. If you’re already a Katherine Center fan, you’re bound to love What You Wish For.”

—LAURA JAY, Book Club Reporter

Q&A with Katherine Center

An Elevator Ride Q&A with the Author

July 14th


What You Wish For Katherine Center



Katherine Center

(photo: Skylar Reeves)

Katherine Center is the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away and Things You Save in a Fire, as well as five others, including Happiness for Beginners.

Her fourth novel, The Lost Husband, is soon to be a movie starring Leslie Bibb and Josh Duhamel. Katherine has been compared to both Nora Ephron and Jane Austen, and the Dallas Morning Newscalls her stories, “satisfying in the most soul-nourishing way.” Katherine recently gave a TEDx talk on how stories teach us empathy, and her work has appeared in O Magazine, USA Today, InStyle, Redbook, People, The Atlantic, Real Simple, and others. Katherine lives in her hometown of Houston, Texas, with her husband and two sweet kids. Read More






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