I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Balzer + Bray on December 31st 2013
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
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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 expected from The Promise of Amazing is just what the title implies, the promise of something amazing. With a cute cover and adorable sounding love story in the synopsis, I could not wait to read this one. Unfortunately my love for the book stops there.
I apologize if this review is semi-spoilery but to talk about what didn’t work for me it’s going to be. The point of view switches between our two main characters, Wren and Grayson. I wish I could say this worked but it didn’t. At the very beginning I liked Wren, the quiet girl, because well that’s me. She’s often doesn’t know how to speak up and isn’t quite sure what she wants out of life. Those traits were very relatable. But as the story progressed she lost me. Her back and forth with Grayson was incredibly annoying. There is nothing wrong with indecision but she took it to a whole level of naivety that made me want to slap her. Grayson was a mess. I like bad boys and ones you can watch grow and mature but I didn’t find many redeemable qualities about Grayson. And there was no swooning at all! I tried to root for him but he made it so difficult with stupid decision after stupid decision. With a lack of connection to both characters, I found it hard to enjoy the story. But I must say I was determined to find something great and I kept reading on, hoping the end would be the big payoff. It didn’t happen.
Okay this is the spoilery part because I have to discuss how pissy this part of the book made me. Wren is a little iffy on Grayson at first. She is very attracted to him but has some reservations when something is revealed to make her question if she wants someone like that in her life. Good for her. Unbeknownst to her, there is so much more she doesn’t know about. Things that are much, much worse. Grayson has a past that involves luring girls to him, using them, and then stealing from them and their family. But it’s all in the past, right? Basically, BUT when a friend semi-threatens to share this info with Wren, Grayson agrees to go on one more ‘assignment’. Wren catches him heavily flirting with said girl (touching her hair, etc.) and is obviously upset. Who wouldn’t be? But 5 minutes later she is fine with it, making out with him in the dressing room, and has no problem keeping the date they had for later that night. Huh? Just like that? This is where Wren completely lost me. And if that wasn’t frustrating enough, she seems to have no problems ignoring all that as they go on their date and share ‘I love you’s’ and then he gives her a ‘stolen’ necklace. Am I supposed to be rooting for these people as a couple at this point because it was a load of ridiculousness I couldn’t handle. It made me so mad at both of them. Again, I am totally fine with characters making mistakes, learning from them and moving on but this just didn’t work for me. It was too late in the game with not enough time to recover.
What held promise for me at the beginning managed to fall flat as I continued. There were a few good moments sprinkled in and even though I wasn’t completely impressed with the ending, it does have a way of fulfilling the title with a ‘promise’ of something amazing to follow beyond where the book took these characters. Unfortunately I just didn’t see enough of that in what we actually got to read.