Review: The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine

Sunday, December 15, 2013
Title: The Promise of Amazing
Author: Robin Constantine
Genre: contemporary, young adult
Series: N/A
Pages: 384
Published: expected December 31 2013
Source: publishers via edelweiss
Rating: 1.5/5

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.
It is so very telling that the first sentence in The Promise of Amazing's synopsis is about how completely generic and average the book is. The title may make it easy for jokes at the novel's expense, but that first sentence is a great big hint that this is a book made of blah, about blah characters, in blah writing. The best that I can vouch for the novel is that it's forgettable and will be forgotten. It won't inspire readers to rage like the Halo/Hush, Hush brand of YA. Instead, it will fade ignominiously from collective memory as soon as the last page is read, because there is literally nothing new here.

Wren is average. The story feels recycled from a thousand other contemporary novels. Grayson is arrogant, an ass, and an unlikeable love interest. Wren isn't unlikeable -- she's too blank. She's a canvas waiting for reader projection. She comes across like a self-insert, but at least she is better than her counterpart. And as a unit, they are no better. There's no chemistry to them as a couple and their descent into instalove reeks of nothing more than overwhelming teenage hormones. And that would be fine if Wren + Grayson wasn't dressed up as some kind of real romance. Which it's not, not only because there is zero compatibility between these two characters.

The been-there-read-that-before nature of the novel's main plot is one of the hardest things to overcome. Why should I read this novel about two characters I care nothing about personally if the story itself has been done enough times to be entirely predictable? The Promise of Amazing basically screams for skimming, if not outright skipping head to the end. It's a struggle to get through those 384 pages because not only is the plot stretched too thin and too long, but the story doesn't evoke interest, much less sympathy or empathy for the two main characters.

The Promise of Amazing didn't live up to its own title, much less the promise of a good read that it implied. And even though I have changed the rating from 2 to 1.5 to 1 back to 1.5, I don't hate the novel. It's too blank for that. I nothing it. And soon, I will forget all about entirely.


  1. Yes, yes, yes to every single point! Your review is spot-on all around. 384 pages really isn't that long to me, but these two stupid kids and all their mooning and the lack of a general direction made it feel so much longer. If I remember right, I screamed "HALLELUJAH" when I finished it, as I often do after finishing bad books that have taken forever. And these characters were soooooo close to having decent motivations and feeling real, but everything had to fall back on the magical connection forged when she saved his life. Booooring.

  2. I'm glad that I didn't download this from Edelweiss when I had the chance; I know I would have disliked this one. All these generic romances tire me out after a point and reading a forgettable novel is often worse than reading a bad one, so I know precisely how you felt while reading this. Thanks for your helpful review, Jessie - I hope your next read is more rewarding!(:


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