Wish You Were Here
By: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 11/30/2021
My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes a deeply moving novel about the resilience of the human spirit in a moment of crisis.
Diana O’Toole is perfectly on track. She will be married by thirty, done having kids by thirty-five, and move out to the New York City suburbs, all while climbing the professional ladder in the cutthroat art auction world. She’s an associate specialist at Sotheby’s now, but her boss has hinted at a promotion if she can close a deal with a high-profile client. She’s not engaged just yet, but she knows her boyfriend, Finn, a surgical resident, is about to propose on their romantic getaway to the Galápagos—days before her thirtieth birthday. Right on time.
But then a virus that felt worlds away has appeared in the city, and on the eve of their departure, Finn breaks the news: It’s all hands on deck at the hospital. He has to stay behind. You should still go, he assures her, since it would be a shame for all of their nonrefundable trip to go to waste. And so, reluctantly, she goes.
Almost immediately, Diana’s dream vacation goes awry. Her luggage is lost, the Wi-Fi is nearly nonexistent, and the hotel they’d booked is shut down due to the pandemic. In fact, the whole island is now under quarantine, and she is stranded until the borders reopen. Completely isolated, she must venture beyond her comfort zone. Slowly, she carves out a connection with a local family when a teenager with a secret opens up to Diana, despite her father’s suspicion of outsiders.
In the Galápagos Islands, where Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection was formed, Diana finds herself examining her relationships, her choices, and herself—and wondering if when she goes home, she too will have evolved into someone completely different.
“Picoult is a skilled wordsmith, and she beautifully creates situations that not only provoke the mind but touch the flawed souls in all of us.” — Boston Globe
“Jodi Picoult once again proves she is the master of wading through the darkness to find the light.”—Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Malibu Rising
“Wish You Were Here is a transporting and transcendent novel about seeking out glimmers of light in the darkness, and following them wherever they lead. Jodi Picoult is that rare, one-in-a-million writer whose books both squeeze your heart and expand your mind. Her latest is wise, surprising, and utterly extraordinary.”—Emily Henry, #1 New York Times bestselling author of People We Meet on Vacation and Beach Read
“In Wish You Were Here, Jodi Picoult does something brilliant, cracking open something extraordinary. I am just overwhelmed by this book. I actually finished it at three in the morning and started reading it again.”—Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of With or Without You
Rights sold to Netflix for adaptation as a feature film!
Beautifully rendered, master storyteller Jodi Picoult tackles and reflects with sensitivity and compassion the emotions, fear, and despair of the early days of the COVID pandemic that swept our world in WISH YOU WERE HERE.
The author transports readers from the trauma of the hospitals, patients, and front-line workers of New York City to the beautiful Galápagos Islands with a poignant story of self-discovery, hope, and renewal.
Diana O'Toole is living in NYC and works as an associate at Sotheby's. She is dating Finn, a surgical resident, living together and happily planning their future. She finds a ring and thinks during their upcoming romantic getaway trip to the Galápagos, he will propose.
However, fate steps in during March 2020 when COVID hits New York and spreads throughout the world. Finn, being a doctor, is all hands on deck and, of course, cannot leave the hospital.
Finn tells Diana she should go on the trip alone versus staying in New York. She goes alone thinking this is what he wanted. A series of events occur with a significant change in the travel plans due to the pandemic. The island is quarantined, and she is stranded on the other side of the world— away from her life and the comforts of home.
All the borders are closed, and they can only write letters with slow internet and bad phone service. During all the problems, she meets a local family with secrets. This place and these people forever change her life. She gets letters from Finn outlining the horrors from New York and feels helpless.
She knows at some point she must return, but she cannot keep thinking about this island and these people. Does she want to go back, and does she really want to do what she is doing now?
A big plot twist comes, and your jaw may drop when you least expect, exploring how NDE can initiate some serious soul searching into the planning of lives, relationships, and career aspirations.
The author offers readers a moving Author's note of her own experience during the pandemic. Meticulously researched, I am grateful authors such as Jodi Picoult, and others documenting this critical time in history for future generations.
How to survive the surviving?
When your life changes after a profound personal near-death experience. After being given a second chance, what would you do differently with the gift? Would you do good or evil?
"If anyone could tell this evocative & moving story, it would be Jodi Picoult! Thought-provoking."
I enjoyed reading about the journeys of many experiences. The dreams, hallucinations, the memories. After being hit with COVID and coming out on the other side, we hear stories of the patients and their greater appreciation for life, higher self-esteem, greater compassion for others, less concern for acquiring material wealth, a heightened sense of purpose and self-understanding, desire to learn, elevated spirituality, greater sensitivity, and purpose.
Lives may never be the same, and we all have been changed and may have to continue to be cautious and take this virus seriously with new strands occurring daily.
My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Pub Date: 11/30/2021
About the Author
Jodi Picoult is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twenty-seven novels, including The Book of Two Ways, A Spark of Light, Small Great Things, Leaving Time, The Storyteller, Lone Wolf, Sing You Home, House Rules, Handle with Care, Change of Heart, and My Sister's Keeper, and, with daughter Samantha van Leer, two young adult novels, Between the Lines and Off the Page. Picoult lives in New Hampshire. Website