Katherine Center’s What You Wish For (2020)

Sam feels like she’s finally found happiness in both her personal and professional life. Does she have everything she wants? No. But she is very pleased with her job as a children’s librarian at a quirky, fun-loving private elementary school on Galveston Island in Texas, and she loves the circle of friends/coworkers she has found.

When corporate robot Duncan is hired to be the new principal and promptly starts wrecking everything that makes the school unique and endearing, she and her fellow teachers are outraged and vow to take action. But Sam is even more horrified than everybody else because, years ago, she worked with a very different Duncan–one who was fun-loving and caring. In fact, she was madly in love with that Duncan, though she was too shy to ever act on her feelings. She still sees flashes of that person underneath the austere, distant new Duncan. What happened to Duncan? What’s going to happen to the school? What’s going to happen to Sam?

Mary-Esther recommended this book to me, and I’m glad she did–it’s a fun, fast-paced read. The characters are relatable and likable, and What You Wish For has a lovely message about choosing joy. Also, just purely on a library level, I really loved Sam’s observations about what people think working in a library is like versus what it is really like–they are so true!

The book has a breezy tone and focus that makes it seem like chick lit, but it grapples with some darker content and more complicated characters than you may expect from that genre. I was also pleasantly surprised by how funny it is. I expected it to be amusing, but it had several moments that made me laugh really hard. I did correctly guess the backstory on Duncan’s personality reversal fairly early in the book, but it didn’t make me enjoy the book any less.

There are characters in this book from one of Center’s previous books–or so the internet tells me–but this one functions very well as a standalone. I read it without having read any of her prior work and had no trouble following the action.

If you’re looking for a book that is equal parts fun and sweet, definitely give this one a try.

Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Jenny Colgan and Gail Honeyman.

What have you been reading lately? Have you tried any Katherine Center? Who’s your favorite fictional librarian? Tell us in the comments! As always, please follow this link to our online library catalog for more information on this book or to place it on hold.

Author: berryvillelibrary

"Our library, our future"

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