December 26, 2013

Latest Read: The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine

Here are the basics ...
The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine
Publication date: Dec. 31, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received from publisher via Edelweiss (Thanks!)

Summary: Wren Caswell is average - ranked in the middle of her class, not popular but not a social misfit. She's the quiet, “good” girl who's always done what she's supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring and she wants to change. Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team and top of his class—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 night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s 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. (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
At the risk of sounding corny, The Promise of Amazing showed a lot more promise than it did actual amazing-ness. The problem though, surprisingly, was not the characters. Wren is the quiet, shy girl at school and the "easy" child at home. She has friends and gets good grades but lately she find herself really frustrated with how people view her and her passive nature (which she admits to). She's ready to try and make some changes though. And change seems to come in the form of a guy named Grayson Barrett, who's trying to turn his life around too. He used to be the most popular guy at school but since getting expelled, he's been feeling lost and unsure of what to do next. They meet at wedding in the most random (but strangely enough, kinda cute?) way and it's attraction at first sight / borderline insta-love. 

Even though their relationship did move a bit quickly (something Wren herself points out), the author does a good job of describing the overwhelming, and not always practical, feelings of young (puppy) love. I felt swept up with the charm of Grayson right along side Wren. And Grayson, despite his highly questionable past, seems to be a good guy at heart. I'm a bit of a sucker for the guy who wants to be a better person for the right girl and that certainly happens here. Throughout the course of the book, we watch these two figure out their relationship, struggle with drama at home and finding their way. That was more than enough to work with plot-wise. Instead, the author brings Grayson's past to the forefront and exaggerates it to almost unbelievable proportions. I have no problem with Grayson having a past. But that past and the horrible friends who are a part of it weren't interesting enough to dominate the book. I wish the author had chosen to focus on the more believable, relatable and even the quiet moments between Wren and Grayson. When she did, that's when I enjoyed the story most. 

Do I recommend?: I really wanted to love The Promise of Amazing and even though I liked the characters, I didn't enjoy the turns the plot took. If you want to check it out though, I would say borrow it from the library first. 



Collaborative feature with Alexa! 

Which girl were you most like in high school?

Throwback! Me @ Senior Prom with friends
I think overall, I'm mostly like Wren's best friend Jazz. She's a bit on the introverted side and would rather hang out with her friends watching 80s movies than go to a party. I was definitely like that in high school. 80s movies weren't exactly my thing (although my favorite was For Keeps with Molly Ringwald!) but books, the mall or going out to Applebee's was more my idea of fun.

Also, Jazz is extremely driven and knows what she wants. She's on the National Honor Society, track and very goal-driven. I was the same way. I was on NHS, editor-in-chief of our literary magazine, homeroom class president. The list goes on. I was a bit of an overachiever! And I always knew I wanted to go into computer science. Even though I related to Wren's frustration with people labeling her as quiet, I think we differed on almost everything else. Which is why Jazz is the girl I was most like. 

2 comments:

  1. I agree with this one! I actually didn't finish the book (yet...?) --I put it down at 150 pages and I can't bring myself to pick it back up. I didn't mind Grayson having a past either but right away, it seemed like too much. I actually loved their meet cute and I agree -- More of those quiet, falling in love moments would have been great. It just didn't jive for me and I really wish it would have!

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  2. Honestly, some things about The Promise of Amazing really worked for me, while others didn't. I know we've discussed this in full detail already, but I just wanted to comment too. I think that there was definitely potential in this story -- but I was sad that it didn't end up living up to my expectations.

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