{Blog Tour} Review + Giveaway: The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Promise of Amazing
Title: The Promise of Amazing
Author: Robin Constantine
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Date of Publication: December 31, 2013

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.

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My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Thank you to Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss for the review copy. This in no way affected my views of the novel.

This is probably the peak of my indecisiveness in reviewing books. I've been convinced that it deserves four stars then three then four again and I ultimately decided on three. But as I type this, I'm still trying to sort it out in my mind and I hope putting the thoughts in my mind into words would help me finalize my decision. So forgive me if this review would be schizo in nature as I might spazz one moment and rant the next. Here goes!

THE PROMISE OF AMAZING had a hint of it, a promise of amazing, right from the start. It was SO CUTE I can't even. First, the plot. Two teenagers first meet because Wren did the Heimlich maneuver on Grayson when he was choking on cocktail franks? Those yummy rolled ham cocktail food? Epic. This whole novel is teacup-pig-cute, rosy-cheeked-babies-cute and animals-with-their-stuffed-toy-lookalikes-cute. Not only was it cute but it was... normal. These characters sounded normal.

An example would be a fly-of-the-wall action that I caught near the beginning. Wren walked from her house to the Camelot, her family's function hall. When she arrived, she felt that her underarms were wet and so she sniffed it to check if it smells. WHO DOES THAT? Everyone, that is. Everyone normal. How many young adult heroines in novels have you read do that? I'm not saying every single YA female lead should go sniff her armpits but it was such a normal thing to do that it struck me. After that, I seriously loved THE PROMISE OF AMAZING. Woah, instalove with a novel? That's me!

Which is a good segue to one of my I-am-so-undecided-if-I-like-it-or-not topics in this review: instalove. I know, why am I undecided? Instalove is NEVER good. Sure, they had an instant connection and they said the L word after a month of knowing each other. I know! How very disappointing, right? But when they dropped the L word, I just rolled my eyes once and said "Tsk, tsk, kids" and moved on. Then squealed the next minute. Because Grayson said something to the effect of "I'm in love. Yes, I'm power-ballad-singing-texting-Wren-24/7 in love." Who wouldn't find that cute? And it's the guy. THE GUY. Grayson pines so much for Wren and overanalyzes and overthinks and kicks himself in the shins for not doing right by Wren and I enjoy getting a view of that because HA! Guys overthink like girls so stop denying it. Heh.

Which brings me though to another thing I loved about this novel: DUAL PERSPECTIVES. I was like a kid on Christmas unwrapping all her presents under the tree as each event unfolded in both their perspectives. Another aspect of the novel I like is how it tackled so many topics without appearing so. In retrospect, it had mini-plots about college, jobs, choices on the path you'd take after high school, turning a new leaf, family, divorce, life throwing a wedge in your plans such as pregnancy but yet still being happy about it, different types of relationships and A WHOLE LOT MORE.

Wren is what teachers would say as an average student. We see Wren angst over it and inevitably, deal with it. Because that's who she is. She's quiet and shy by nature but she's headstrong and she's brave on those that count. And of course, we have Grayson, who was expelled in his posh private school by being a term-paper pimp. Moving into a new school that doesn't challenge him, messing up his college applications and how probably he wouldn't be able to go to an Ivy university even though he can, sucks. He's trying to start a new life but of course, his friends don't want him. Because not only was he a term-paper pimp but he and his friends definitely played with fire and the law. I know, woah, crime in YA. Not only that but our hero is such an anti-hero. And I give it to Robin Constantine because not once did I not like Grayson. Shady past and morality issues aside, I was always behind him. I want him to be able to have a new life and Wren along with it. Even if he made loving him hard with all his shortcomings and white lies and him lying-via-omission.

With how many topics it tackled and subplots it had, maybe that's why the resolution at the end came rushed and easy. Grayson's past comes back for him to continue their wayward ways and Grayson falters. I felt like Wren forgave him so fast and everything just happened in a whirlwind at the end. Sure, it might have been boring but I think I just wanted more groveling from Grayson. Ha!

Now that I've dished out what I don't like about TPoA, I think I'll stick by my three stars. I reread my favorite parts right after I read it and I enjoyed those so much. Enough to even question myself whatever did I think was wrong. It's like the parts are greater than the sum of its parts? TPoA wouldn't go down in my reading history as something short of a masterpiece but I will definitely remember how cute it was in general. Hello there, jacket-with-an-elbow-patch-wearing Adam Scott-lookalike Grayson in the cover.

Still, I'll be checking out and reading Robin Constantine's future novels because I definitely dig her writing. It was funny without even trying to. There's an undertone of fun and happy times in its tone but she never really did intended for TPoA to be The-Distance-Between-Us-funny.

I'll remember The Promise of Amazing as that cute and sweet contemporary young adult novel that had so much potential but lost its steam through the course of the novel. That doesn't mean I didn't like it because HECK I DO but it didn't deliver to its promise of amazing. Close but not all the way. I would still recommend it to any fan of contemporary YA romance because GRAYSON. Hee!

About Robin Constantine

Robin Constantine is a born and bred Jersey girl who moved down South so she could wear flip-flops year round. She spends her days dreaming up stories where love conquers all, well, eventually but not without a lot of peril, angst and the occasional kissing scene.


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  1. I totally hate doubting my ratings. It's like, I know it's say, three stars. But I feel so bad giving it three stars, because it was good. But then I can't give it four stars for anything.
    It's weird. I feel for you.
    I really am trying not to get my hopes TOO high. But I keep hearing and reading things about Grayson. So I am looking forward to that. Hehe.

    1. EXACTLY! There are still levels within a rating. Yes, don't expect so much and I think you'll enjoy this more. Grayson, woo! Thanks for dropping by!


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