I received this book for free from Publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine
Published by Balzer + Bray on December 31st, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular, but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who's always done what she's supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.
Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and needs to change, but doesn’t know how.
One fateful night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie, saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.
The Promise of Amazing promised amazing things. ZING. I had to get that out of the way. I just had to. Now that we’ve gotten the title pun in here, let’s see… did it deliver on its promise? Tragically, no. But I won’t say that this book was completely terrible either. I mean, it has a pretty cover. Look at that! Ain’t it purty?
If one enters this book in the right mood, it can be quite enjoyable. Let me clarify what I mean. When I started reading The Promise of Amazing, I was desperately in need of some winter-themed fluff. And this book takes place in the winter. And the plot is very much romance-centric. So it was a comfortable kind of read, and it read quite quickly. It was easily digestible, and that was something I was desperately in need of.
I quite enjoyed the romance between Wren and Grayson! I definitely felt some of the chemistry between them, if only because Robin Constantine sure knows how to write kissing scenes. A lot of bloggers have been calling it instalove, and yeah, I see where they’re coming from. But I do feel like the instalove was mostly onesided, and surprisingly not on the girl’s side. No, Wren was much more hesitant about trusting Grayson and letting him get closer to her. I could actually follow her logic and really enjoyed her narrations. I did feel a connection to her, because a lot of her worries, not just about the romance, but about college and the future, mirrored my own in high school. I definitely thought she was a realistic main character.
But Grayson… oh man did I want to shoot that guy sometimes. The instalove is 90% from his side. Within two brief meetings with Wren, the first of which entirely consists of him puking on her shoes, he starts saying things like, “There was a genuineness about Wren that made me feel like I didn’t have to put up a front. Like she really saw me.” *barfs* And then, “The way we met, at this point in my life, had to mean something. I needed to see her again.”
Thank you, Draco. This is utter wish fulfillment bullshit. Show me a teenage guy who thinks like this and I’ll show you a flying pig. It doesn’t help either that in spite of these random interjections of instalove, Grayson still revels in being somewhat of a womanizer and obsesses over physical attraction. Sure, Wren has her moments of instalove, but they are much subtler, where she talks about feeling a magnetic pull to Grayson. That, to some extent, I can believe. But the bullshit Grayson’s spouting? NO THANK YOU. TL;DR: I wish this whole book would be written from Wren’s perspective, because I’m sure I’d like it at least twice as much.
What I also dislike is that the author tried to make some sort of plot aside from the romance, hinging on Grayson’s background, where he was friends with the wrong people who encouraged him to run a business of selling term papers and participate in other hijinks. But this book was begging to be all about the romance, and thus this side plot was just half-assed. At the end, its resolution was met with a shrug. I couldn’t bring myself to care for it for a second. It was just there to get in the way of the smooching – which, again, I quite enjoyed – and probably kept this book from being as amazing as it could have been. 100% fluff is not totally a bad thing. It’s quite what I expected from this book, to be honest. But trying to pull off being more than fluff, when you’re really not? That just ends badly.