by Robin Constantine
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Expected publication: December 31st 2013 by Balzer + Bray
Format Acquired: ARC from publisher via Edelweiss (thank you!)
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
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 thing about The Promise of Amazing is, I thought it promised me amazing but in the end, I was left slightly disappointed. I enjoyed the book on some level but all in all, it really is just a 3-star book for me. Here's why:
1) The insta-love. I've often complained about insta-love in books and there's a good reason behind it. Whenever characters would drop the L-bomb so early in the story, I feel like the author's cramming. Personally, I'm fine with finishing a book where the characters don't fall in love. I don't feel a sense of loss if they don't realize right away that they love each other. Relationships take time to progress, in life and in books. What happened between Wren and Grayson was that they took too much from the short span of time they spent together. Both were going through tough times and finding each other probably felt like a breath of fresh air, a do-over . While I appreciate the sweetness of their interactions, I didn't like the sudden declaration of love. It didn't feel genuine. I think they would've still been as cute even if they didn't go down the insta-love road. I have to admit though, they're really a cute couple. Just, stay away from the L-bomb, kids.
2) The conflict and resolution. For a young adult book, I've got to say The Promise of Amazing has a good plot twist - one that's neither too shallow nor too deep. I liked how original it was to be honest but in the end I felt that it wasn't... written properly? I think it needed a bit of a push. Grayson was involved in some pretty bad stuff in the past. And I mean really bad stuff. But the way everything was resolved, it felt a little off. I was irked by how easily Wren forgave Grayson. I get that he has a past and she can't hold it against him but I wish she wasn't so quick to come back to him. It was almost like things were too easy for everyone in the end.
My two biggest complaints brought my 4-star rating down to a 3. It's not a bad rating, not at all. It means I liked the book. I like how relatable Wren was. She's the average girl in highschool who was struggling to be more than that. I like the way she talked and how giddy she got whenever she thought of Grayson. It felt normal. Sometimes, normal in books isn't a bad thing. Furthermore, I liked how her relationship with Grayson started out. It was sweet and cute and honest... just the insta-love... I can't. I also liked Grayson himself. He's quite the bad boy but he wasn't the brooding jerk girls loooove because they think they can change him. He was, in my opinion, relatable as well. Lastly, I LOVE the fact that both characters have strong ties with their families. It's something I don't always encounter in young adult books and I'm glad this one has it.
Overall, The Promise of Amazing is good. I didn't like it that much but I'd still recommend it to anyone looking for a good young adult contemporary read. It's quite entertaining, I must say.