May 19, 2014 by Bernadette ~ The Bumbling Bookworm
The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine
Publisher/Year: Balzer + Bray, 31 December 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: I borrowed it from the library!
Other books from author: This is her debut novel
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.
What I Thought…
I was looking forward to this, I’d heard some decent things about it and I was enjoying it in the beginning. I mean it had everything I usually enjoy: NYC, a romance, a bad boy – what more could I want? Unfortunately, the longer I read The Promise of Amazing, the less enthusiastic I became about it.
Let me just say that none of my issues with this book had anything to do with the quality of the writing – Robin Constantine is a debut author and I think she’s done a great job in her first novel. The book is written in alternating POV, which I always enjoy. I like first person POV, and the alternating POV gives the reader an opportunity to see both sides. The prose totally drew me in and kept me reading when I was otherwise frustrated, as I’ll discuss further below. An example of this:
That grin was pulling me into the deep end of the pool. The scary part, the part that made me search desperately for some other task I could lose myself in, was that there was a small, insistent voice urging me to dive right in.
Where I had trouble was mainly the characters and also some plausibility issues. For starters, I was not pulling for Wren and Gray as a couple and I spent the whole book hoping they wouldn’t end up together. It wasn’t that there was someone better for Wren, there wasn’t (although there was a smidge of a love triangle at one stage), I just really hated them together. I just kept thinking how much of a tool Gray was, and a liar, and it didn’t sit well with me. I thought that Wren could do much better, but she was clouded by past experiences and her idiot friends Maddie and Jazz, who were both such opposite extremes in their views.
Speaking of Maddie, every time she opened her mouth I cringed. I mean, really, Wren is not a hero for having two guys fighting over her, nor were Gray’s actions okay! Also, giving Wren a stolen necklace was so dumb! Then again, he clearly wasn’t the sharpest knife in the draw, because I also found it a bit ridiculous that being caught with another girl at the mall was Gray’s big wake-up call and not the whole being expelled thing. And (highlight to view spoiler) I found it really hard to believe that he and his friends didn’t get caught robbing the wealthy after sleeping with them, as if they wouldn’t have had security cameras!
I felt that this book was very Gossip Girl, very Upper East Side, which I adore. Unfortunately it was just a bit too melodramatic for me. I love melodrama and clearly I can watch that sort of thing on TV, but I found it a little bit hard to read in print. I know that sounds a bit ridiculous and hypocritical, but I don’t think it quite pulled off the melodrama in the same way a TV show can. It didn’t quite bring it to life for me.
Much like the title, I felt that this book promised something amazing but unfortunately it didn’t quite deliver. There were some shining parts, mostly Wren’s family, but for the most part it was a bit too melodramatic for my tastes.
Rating: 2.5 Stars
What did you think of this book? Did you enjoy it?