what you wish for

4 stars (release date July 14, 2020)

This is an entertaining contemporary romance about a young elementary school librarian that suddenly finds herself working for the man she had an unrequited crush on several years ago at a different school in a different state.

Samantha Casey loves her job as the school librarian at a progressive elementary school in the small island town of Galveston, Texas. She moved there from California a few years before and found a surrogate family, good friends and a happy life there. When the beloved principal of the school dies, he is replaced by Duncan Carpenter. Duncan and Sam worked together in California. Duncan was the kindergarten teacher and was a charming, fun, lovable, goofy guy that everyone naturally gravitated to. Realizing that her one-sided crush was detrimental to her well-being, Sam moved away from Duncan and landed in Galveston, Texas. So, the arrival of Duncan in her new school was both exciting, and terrifying, for Sam.

Expecting the charming, lovable Duncan, Sam is not worried about him taking over the school and assures her co-workers that it will be good for the school. However, when Duncan pulls a fake gun during his initial meeting with the staff and reprimands them for their lack of security and safety of their students, Sam’s hope sinks. Duncan appears to lack any of his previous characteristics and soon starts to transform their beloved school into a prison.

Deciding to either change Duncan or get him fired, Sam and her friends embark on a plan to help Duncan find his former self. In the process, Sam finds herself falling for Duncan all over again. Along with Duncan’s issues, Sam has health issues of her own, so is she just asking for more heartache, or could she possibly get the happily-ever-after that she thought would never be hers?

Sam is the main focus of the book, so her character development is pretty good, however none of the other characters are developed more than how they interact with Sam. As Sam repeatedly reflects on how Duncan used to be, the memories become repetitive and annoying. We get it, he was fun and now he’s not. Enough, already! Following the typical romance book formula, the couple are at odds, there are obstacles to overcome, there is a misunderstanding, and then we get the fairy tale ending. Not that I mind – I mean, that’s what why you read a romance novel, right?

This is a fun, quick and easy read. The writing is well done and there are several chuckles along the way. There are serious topics discussed in the book, including gun violence, school violence and medical disabilities, but the author does a good job of weaving the topics into the books without too many graphic details. Overall I enjoyed this book and recommend you read it if you’re in the mood for a fun, easy beach read.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.

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