Saturday, January 11, 2014
The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine, Book Review
By: Robin Constantine
Published by: Balzer & Bray (Harper Teen)
Released on: 12/31/13
Source: arc to review from publisher
Rating: 2 Stars- It Was Ok/Wanted to Like It More
Purchase it From: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Add it to Goodreads
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.
I love this cover! It holds that promise of a fabulous read. Between it, the synopsis, and the title this book had the makings of a contemporary I was going to love. Not to mention the fact that I wanted to know who these two characters were. While this book was cute and entertaining in it's start, somewhere along the way it lost that for me. Don't get me wrong, there are some great moments through out the story. It's just that there are more frustrating moments that over shadowed those great moments for me.
The characters. While I at first liked Wren and Grayson, I couldn't connect with them. Yes I was interested in them, and wanted to get to know them, and find out where their story goes, but I never felt that character connection that I feel is crucial when reading a book. This totally bothers because I LOVE the idea of a wholesome good girl changing the bad playboy. That's one of the things that interested in this book when it first popped up on my book radar last year. I was really hoping the story was going in a different than it ended up going in. Between Grayson's unrepentant ways, and some things that occur, I lost my exciting interest in this story.
Grayson is a character I did like, at first. I was intrigued by him like Wren was. I understood her interest in him. He's a charmer, he's smart, athletic, and he comes across as extremely confident, but not in an overly cocky way. He's someone who always gets what he wants, and his eyes are set on Wren. He's also character who pulls off the jackets (see the cover), you know the ones with the elbow patches? Yeah, not many people would get away with that and make it hot. I like a character who can pull off something like that. Aside from that, I knew he made some stupid choices, and who doesn't during your teen years. Like Wren, I thought he was a guy who was changing, and learned from those mistakes. When Grayson's around Wren he comes across as different, and I mean that in a good way.
Here's the thing about Grayson. He has a lot of potential to be a really strong character, and for part of the book I thought he was. But when Wren catches him doing something, that I won't give away, I not only couldn't stand the guy after that, I was floored that Wren would even consider giving him an out for it. Seriously!?! Not only that, he's not honest with her until he gets caught. Someone who comes across as overly confident, and doesn't take no for answer, quickly falls into the peer pressure trap when his friends keep hounding him to do something he keeps telling them he doesn't want to do.
Wren for her part is an extremely wholesome good girl. I really liked her. I loved her family dynamics. I loved getting to know her family, as they play a huge role in her life, and in the story over all. I got Wren. I felt like I understood her for the most part. She's a smart girl. She's trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life. She's at the stage where you have to decide what college you want to attend, and what path you going to choose for yourself. It's not easy. Grayson comes blazing into her life, and she lights up. She changes. It's not bad by any means, but she does something that I felt was completely out of character for her. She makes excuses for Grayson's poor choices. Yes, I get that she's infatuated with him, and she does have feelings for him, and wants to over look what he does, but I felt she was too smart to buy into his lie.
I really wanted to like this story more than I did. I picked up this book with high hopes, and it ended up being a story that just didn't work for me. Over all the romance and the chemistry in this story wasn't there. I was told more about how they felt about it each other vs being showed. I felt like Wren's family relationships, and some of the friendships in the story were stronger than the relationship Grayson and Wren had. What could have been a great romantic story, in turn fell flat for me. I enjoyed the beginning of the book, and even up through where Grayson and Wren start dating as there was a lot of potential with where things could go, but once Grayson's friend Luke really enters the picture, the book took a turn that didn't seem to fit the portrayal of either character, and that's what really hurt the book. From there the story ended up being confusing at times, and the writing was a little all over the place. I'm bummed with how things went from good to not so great with the book, as it was one I was really looking forward to reading.