Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books
Date of publication: November 30th, 2021
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Women’s Fiction
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes a deeply moving novel about the resilience of the human spirit in a moment of crisis.
Diana O’Toole is perfectly on track. She will be married by thirty, done having kids by thirty-five, and move out to the New York City suburbs, all while climbing the professional ladder in the cutthroat art auction world. She’s not engaged just yet, but she knows her boyfriend, Finn, a surgical resident, is about to propose on their romantic getaway to the Galápagos—days before her thirtieth birthday. Right on time.
But then a virus that felt worlds away has appeared in the city, and on the eve of their departure, Finn breaks the news: It’s all hands on deck at the hospital. He has to stay behind. You should still go, he assures her, since it would be a shame for all of their nonrefundable trip to go to waste. And so, reluctantly, she goes.
Almost immediately, Diana’s dream vacation goes awry. The whole island is now under quarantine, and she is stranded until the borders reopen. Completely isolated, she must venture beyond her comfort zone. Slowly, she carves out a connection with a local family when a teenager with a secret opens up to Diana, despite her father’s suspicion of outsiders.
Diana finds herself examining her relationships, her choices, and herself—and wondering if when she goes home, she too will have evolved into someone completely different.
When I was six years old, I painted a corner of the sky.wish you were here by jodi picoult
When I first read the blurb for Wish You Were Here, I was hesitant to read it. There is nothing against the author, but a book written about the pandemic’s beginning while we were still in it didn’t exactly gel with me and gave me anxiety. But, I decided to read it, and oh boy, am I glad I did. This book was excellent on all ends.
Wish You Were Here is the story about Diana and how her life is turned around when COVID 19 hit. Diana is an art specialist at Sotheby’s and living with her almost fiance (Finn), a surgical resident at Presbyterian Hospital. Diana is days away from not only closing a life-altering deal with a famous rock widow (based on Yoko Ono), but she is going on a bucket list vacation with Finn to the Galapagos Islands. Life is good for her, but there are talks of a pandemic making its way across the globe. Then things implode. COVID has hit New York City, and Finn is told that he cannot take his trip. Diana, thinking that COVID will blow over (didn’t we all), makes the trip alone. But her once-in-a-lifetime trip turns into something else when the borders close, and she is stuck on the island. Alone, with no cell service, no money, no luggage, and unable to speak the language, Diana thinks it can’t get any worse. But things start to turn around when a local woman takes Diana under her wing, and Diana connects with not only her 14-year-old granddaughter but her handsome but standoffish son. Diana realizes that the life she thought she wanted with Finn in New York City wasn’t what she wanted, and she wants a life with Gabriel. Will she have it? Or will it be ripped from her by COVID?
I wish I could say that I wasn’t triggered while reading Wish You Were Here. But I was. There was a whole section of the book where I cried continuously. Those scenes reminded me of how I felt during the pandemic’s beginning. I remembered the uncertainty and the fear. But, I also remember the small acts of kindness and how people pulled together for the most part. The author beautifully highlighted all of that in Wish You Were Here.
The pacing of Wish You Were Here was between medium and fast. There were parts of the book that were lightning fast. But there were also parts of the book that were medium-paced. The author did a fantastic job of slowing the book down and picking the pace back up. There was a slight lag, but that was right around the surprise of a plot twist, and I expected it.
Diana was my favorite character in Wish You Were Here. I liked her because she wasn’t likable (well, to begin with). She had a horrible relationship with her famous photographer mother, and she wasn’t apologetic about it. But, on the other hand, she loved her career and Finn (in that order). Her personality was set during the first two chapters, and, to be honest, I thought that she would be like that throughout the book. But then she got stranded, and a different Diana started to appear.
The romance angle was there, but it wasn’t a massive part of the book. I liked that Gabriel and Diana’s romance was a slow-burn romance. I liked that I wasn’t sure if they would end up falling in like (notice I said that instead of love) or if they would hook up. But, I also liked that Diana and Finn’s relationship was steady and predictable. Regardless of who she was with, Diana had a good guy.
Wish You Were Here is set in two places: The Galagapos Islands and New York City. I fell in love with The Galagapos Islands while reading the book. For some reason, I never thought of The Galagpos Islands as a vacation spot. But since reading this book, it has been put on my bucket list!! I have been to New York City and plan on going back.
As I mentioned above, a plot twist comes out of nowhere in the middle of the book. I was utterly taken by surprise. It was something I did not see coming at the time. But looking back, I could see the very subtle hints that the author dropped. So, be warned, it is a huge twist and what is revealed on the other side isn’t easy to read.
I want to get into the latter half of Wish You Were Here. But I can’t because of the darn twist. It would lead to spoilers, and I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone. I will say that Diana does go through that transformation I mentioned above, and I do like how she ended up.
I would recommend Wish You Were Here to anyone over 16. There is mild violence, mild sexual situations, and language.