Wish You Were Here: A Novel

· Sold by Ballantine Books
4.5
60 reviews
Ebook
400
Pages
Eligible

About this ebook

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of Small Great Things and The Book of Two Ways comes “a powerfully evocative story of resilience and the triumph of the human spirit” (Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones & The Six)

Rights sold to Netflix for adaptation as a feature film • Named one of the best books of the year by She Reads

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 an associate specialist at Sotheby’s now, but her boss has hinted at a promotion if she can close a deal with a high-profile client. 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. Her luggage is lost, the Wi-Fi is nearly nonexistent, and the hotel they’d booked is shut down due to the pandemic. In fact, 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.

In the Galápagos Islands, where Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection was formed, 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.
4.5
60 reviews
Vickie Watts
September 10, 2021
First of all, let me be totally honest and say that there were parts of this book that were hard for me to read, especially the descriptions of the suffering of the Covid patients and how hard the doctors and nurses had to work to save only what seemed to be a small number. But this is a story that had to be told and needs to be read. For me, it put the pandemic into perspective, the perspective of what I had lost in the last year but also a perspective of being more thankful than ever for what I have. Diana O’Toole is an art major, living the dream and working at Sotheby’s. She is in love with a surgical resident named Finn and the two have planned a dream trip to the Galapagos. Then Covid hits NYC hard and Finn tells Diana that the vacation is a no-go. What happens next is unbelievably textured and painted with word pictures that are vivid and outstandingly memorable. I can’t say a lot more about the plot without giving away what happens, but trust me when I say that you need to read this book. Life is more than what you earn or who you know; life is choices that we make every day, and I hope more people than imaginable will pick up this book and read it, just for the hope and enlightenment if offers. The author and I do not have shared values nor beliefs, but in reading this book, I concluded that we share a love for wanting what is best for humanity and I am grateful to her for the opportunity to read such a soul-searching, heart-wrenching and written-with-love-and-laughter book. I read it for enjoyment and completed it with a new depth of understanding of myself and the effects of the pandemic on a world that is still discovering what has happened to all of us. So much research went into this novel as to make it almost read like non-fiction at times, but it is definitely fiction, told with urgency and empathy and all of the emotions that we have all felt as we waited for the world to return to a “normal” that may never be again. Once this book is published, run, don’t walk to the nearest bookstore to grab your copy. Find a friend to read and discuss it with because you will want to discuss it…again and again! Disclosure of Material Connection Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
14 people found this review helpful
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brf1948
November 30, 2021
I received an electronic ARC of this very timely and relevant novel from Netgalley, Jodi Picoult, and Random House Publishing Group-BallentineBooks. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this novel. As always, Jodi Picoult brings us a tale taken right out of the newspapers and makes it understandable and definable. I am pleased to recommend her to friends and family. New York City, March of 2020 sets us right at the beginning of the earth-shattering rumblings of the Covid 19 Pandemic. Rumors are rampant, the news changing day by day from Steven-King-scary to Mary-Poppins-positive. We didn't know what was really happening, who to believe, or what tomorrow would bring. Picoult gets it just right, the disassociation from the news, and deep-seated fear for family and friends, the uncertain continuation of work and school and home life that dragged us down deeper into despair every day. Our president telling us it is just the flu as refrigerator trucks are lining up at NYC hospitals to house the dead overflow the morgue and funeral homes can no longer handle. twenty-nine-year-old Diana O'Toole had at the beginning of 2020 her life right on track. An Associate specialist at Sotheby's, her career was advancing as planned, Her housemate and lover Finn Colson, a doctor doing his surgical residency at New York/Presbyterian Hospital, has stashed a diamond engagement ring in his underwear drawer which he probably plans to spring on her on their annual vacation so her two children by the time she turns 35 are also possible. This year they will spend two weeks in Galapagos on the island of Isabela and it can't happen soon enough for Diana. She needs a break from work and responsibility. The nursing home housing her mother, an Alzheimer's patient for the last several years, has a 'no visitors' policy with the pandemic, and she can call her from the hotel on Isabela as she does from here at home. It is, for her, perfect timing. Finn, not so much. All the personnel at the NYC hospitals are pulling 60-hour shifts, and there is no way he would ask to get away, but the trip is all planned and paid for, and the airline tickets and hotel are not refundable. Finn encourages her to go on her own. She arrives without her luggage on Isabela on the very last ferry. No more going out, nor coming in, until the pandemic is under control. The hotel is closed, the bank, as are government buildings, and the library. ATMs have not been serviced since before the ferries stopped, internet reception, and cell phone coverage for the whole island are down, with no possibility of repair until the ferries are back in service. Diana hates to be isolated from Finn and her Mother, but she can do without all of the touristy things. She finds a small apartment, or rather it finds her, and she tries to make the best of the situation. It can't last long, after all. She didn't bring a lot of cash, but that is all the islanders can take without the bank or ATM. And she needs to be back at work in a couple of weeks, there are auctions to prepare for, art to be collected. Surely life will return to normal over the next few days. Or will it?
9 people found this review helpful
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Wendy Williams
November 30, 2021
Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult is an amazing book that I will not soon forget. I read this over a week ago, and the story is still stuck in my head, with no signs it will leave soon. This is a book about COVID, and some say it’s too soon, but I say, it’s just in time, and we need more books like this that illustrate the dire circumstances we are in with the pandemic. Diane O’Toole has almost everything she wants. She has the job she’s always wanted and a loving boyfriend named Finn who she’s sure is about to propose marriage on their upcoming vacation to the Galapagos Islands. Her job as an art consultant at Sotheby's is her dream job since her college days and she’s expecting a big promotion very soon. Her boyfriend Finn is a surgical resident in a NYC hospital. Just before they are set to depart for the Galapagos Islands, the virus, known as COVID-19 starts to hit New York City. The day prior to when they are set to leave for the airport, Finn tells Diane that he can’t go on vacation because his superiors at the hospital have told everyone to stay in the city because they expect the virus to get much worse. After some discussion, Diane leaves for the vacation on her own. This is one of those books where spoilers will really spoil the story, so I won’t say much more about the story, except it was gripping, intense, educational, and very emotional. As COVID is the main subject of the book, I would think some people who have really suffered during this pandemic and lost close friends and family, might find this book is out a bit too soon. I do think that it validates many of the feelings I’ve had during the pandemic, and the book definitely describes many of the horrors we’ve suffered, but it's also an optimistic book. I was afraid that when I read it would be depressing. I will admit that the author describes many of the horrors of the pandemic, but also weaves a terrific emotional story around all the losses and difficulties of the pandemic. Wish You Were Here will bring out all your emotions as you read it. Only a very talented author can write about such a devastating subject and turn it into such an uplifting story. And Jodi Picoult has proved what a talented author she is with this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
8 people found this review helpful
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About the author

Jodi Picoult is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twenty-seven novels, including The Book of Two Ways, A Spark of Light, Small Great Things, Leaving Time, The Storyteller, Lone Wolf, Sing You Home, House Rules, Handle with Care, Change of Heart, and My Sister's Keeper, and, with daughter Samantha van Leer, two young adult novels, Between the Lines and Off the Page. Picoult lives in New Hampshire.

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