What You Wish For
St. Martin’s Press, July 2020
A cross between a romantic comedy and chick lit, What You Wish For is a girl-meets-boy for the second time story. Samantha Casey is a 28 year old librarian at a private school, owned by Max and Babette. Samantha enjoys her life on Galveston Island. She adores Max and Babette, who are also her landlords, and enjoys spending time with her best friend, math teacher Alice, who has an extensive wardrobe of tee shirts imprinted with math jokes.
When Max dies suddenly, Samantha assumed that Babette would become the new principal. But son-in-law Kent hires an outsider named Duncan Carpenter. It can’t be, wonders Samantha. She worked with someone with that name at her last school. He was wild and funny, and wore golf pants and goofy ties.
But when Duncan Carpenter showed up at school, he was dressed in a sober three piece suit and talked about new security and safety measures at the school. What happened to the old Duncan? Suddenly, Samantha no longer had a crush on him. He was turning the school into a joyless institution.
The underlying question of school security is shown to affect teachers and students in profound ways. Samantha is a little too giggly and immature for a 28 year old, but her character does grow throughout the story, as others do. Center is the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away and Things You Save in a Fire.
Reviewed by Susan Belsky, January 2021.