Book Review: What You Wish For by Katherine Center

By Rutendo Makubika

Katherine Center has this magical way of creating an entire world, one that I already feel enveloped and invested in from the very first chapter. There’s a lightheartedness about it and yet urgency to continue. There’s an ease to reading and yet, substance and depth to each character. Needless to say, I very much enjoyed her latest novel.


What You Wish For is about Samantha Casey, an elementary school librarian who picked up and moved her life to a small town after years of living her life around a crippling unrequited crush on fellow teacher Duncan Carpenter. When tragedy strikes and a new teacher is needed at Sam’s current school, guess who is recruited and hired as a replacement. You guessed it, Duncan Carpenter. Only this Duncan is not at all like the one she remembers. He’s hollowed out, serious, stony and all business. What happened to the guy who used to wear brightly coloured pants every day and zany printed ties? Who used to do magic tricks for the children and instituted crazy hat day? While Sam has every intention of getting out of there, unable to fathom reliving that all-consuming crush again, something about the new Duncan forces her to stay. How can she leave her beloved school in the arms of a man who wants to destroy all the joy and happiness that this school stands for?


It’s very easy to lose hours at a time reading this novel. It’s just so down to earth and the feelings relatable and it includes a host of characters that you just want to hang around with. There’s something about Katherine’s novels, a magical quality that leaves you feeling self-actualised in some small way. Which means I’m always ready and waiting for her next novel. My recommendation, read it!

I have been an avid reader since my teens when I was introduced to my first classic book, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. That was the start of my love affair with books. I am always on the lookout for new reads so bring on your recommendations if you have any. Happy Reading!

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