Thank you so much to Macmillan Audio and Netgalley for providing me the audiobook.
Before I begin let me give you a spoiler alert: I absolutely loved this book. Where do I even begin! This was my first Katherine Center book and I am genuinely surprised how much I loved this book. I was not expecting to love this book as much as I ended up loving it. This book is definitely one of my favorites of the year. This book review is completely spoiler-free.
Meet Samantha. The heroine. The protagonist. The optimist. The girl with pink bangs and colorful dresses. The happiest person on Earth. But she wasn’t always like this.
She used to be sad, wore grey dresses, and worked in a school in California. There she fell in love with Duncan Carpenter, but unfortunately, he didn’t like her back. She used to admire him for being so carefree, cheerful, wearing bright colored pants, and living life to the fullest. But he started dating another school teacher. One day he asks her to babysit his girlfriend’s cat. Heartbroken, fed up with her unrequited love, and wanting to start a new life, she leaves California and ends up in Texas. (Not that he knew she liked him).
Here she lives in a rented garage apartment owned by Max and Babette Kempner. They were her closest friend and the closest thing to parent figures in her life. She now works in Max’s elementary school as a librarian. She loves her job. She loves her life. She is no longer gray, she is exuberant and vibrates with happiness.
But unfortunately, Max dies at his own birthday party. Everyone is heartbroken. He was also the principal of his school and soon his replacement arrives. Who is the new principal? None other than Duncan Carpenter.
Unsure of how to feel about him, she is afraid she will fall in love with him again. But he is no longer the Duncan Carpenter she used to adore. He is no longer goofy, he no longer wore colorful pants, and he no longer danced. He is a completely different person. He is serious, stern, unsmiling, and hell-bent on upgrading the security system of the school.
What I liked:
- This was such a pleasant feel-good book. This book made me so happy! In these depressing times of lockdown, we all deserve a feel-good book. This was exactly the book I needed at this time. My heart was warmer and life a bit better after reading this book.
- The characters were nicely developed and well flashed out. I loved some characters and I hated one (Hint: he is always on the Bluetooth speakerphone). I especially love Sam. She has been through a lot and she is suffering from a personal problem and yet she chooses to be happy, loud, and colorful, and makes others happy too. Duncan was so sweet, he was a goofball and I wanted to protect him with my whole life.
- This book was so quirky and hilarious at times, making me laugh out loud multiple times like I was having the best time of my life, and also there were many moments of seriousness. Both the protagonists have been through horrible times and yet they choose to be happy by choice, which was very admirable. There was a perfect balance between lightheartedness and seriousness.
- I loved the hate to romance scenario between Sam and Duncan, it was so slow burn. Their banter was on point, I was enjoying it a lot. This book is not heavily focused on their romance, but I could feel the chemistry oozing out of them.
- I have not read a book that is based around a school and I was surprised to see how much this aspect of the book I adored. I really loved the school setting and how everyone loved their school so much and were so devoted to it and its kids. It was very heartwarming to witness.
- The narrator of the audiobook was fantastic! Therese Plummer did an absolutely amazing job of narrating the story. When I heard her voice it felt like she was actually living the story. It was a very lively experience.
In short, I had the best time reading this book. I would highly recommend this book!
My rating (just in case you didn’t guess it already): 5 out of 5 stars.