Publisher: Balzer + Bray on December 31, 2013
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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.
“While chewing he kept his eyes on me, maybe wondering why I wasn’t cheering along with the rest of them. I should have left, but there was something about the way he oozed confidence while acting so asinine that fascinated me. He was a complete tool, but I bet no one ever accused him of being too quiet.”
Favorite Character: Wren. I could really relate to her on a more personal level.
“‘None of you are going to Harvard.'”
My Musings: I have been wanting to read this novel since its cover was revealed. Covers this pretty usually enclose fantastically written novels. That was so in this case.
“Being with Wren meant something to me. I wanted to be serious. Whatever serious meant. Was this what it felt like to fall in love with someone? Was it too soon to know? And after all I’d done—could we ever have a normal relationship?”
The Promise of Amazing was better than I thought it was going to be. Going in, I thought that it would be the typically young adult contemporary romance with a slightly dull plot but a swoony romance. In part, I was right: this novel had a sweeter than honey romance that had me wishing that I had my very own Grayson Barrett. However, there was a strong plot as well. Grayson struggled with something over the course of the novel, something that definitely mixed things up and had an outward effect on what was happening in the novel. And let me tell you, even when you’re reading it and you think you know what it is, you probably do not. I loved that the author kept me guessing about what Grayson was hiding until the last possible moment.
The characters in this novel were so real and relatable. Wren just wanted to belong somewhere. She wasn’t the Queen of the school, but she wasn’t necessarily a bottom feeder either. She was quiet and average. But Wren wanted to stand out, to be special. I could really relate to her character as a person, and I loved seeing he evolve into a great and strong character.
“He was a walking, talking DANGER flag. Cheater. Liar. Secretive. Hawt. Ugh. It was maddening. Any time IO checked off the reasons to avoid him, I’d picture him in front of school, leaning against his faded car. Hands in pockets, swoon-worthy grin, deep brown eyes full of the promise of amazing. And I felt myself getting sucked in by the desire to wrap my arms around him in a different way than the Heimlich.”
Grayson was a mystery. It’s obvious that he was into something that wasn’t necessarily good, but what it was wasn’t easy to figure out and I loved that. However, Grayson did have a sweet side to combat his cocky persona, and I found that very unique to this novel. He was a character that you couldn’t help but love, even though he wasn’t perfect. He wanted to change for Wren, so that he would deserve her because he knew that he didn’t. That made him much more likable in my eyes.
“Grayson was perched on the rear bumper of his car, reading The Republic. Pretty much the sexiest model of literary awareness I’d ever seen. I smiled as a jolt of recognition pulsed through my body. He was there for me.”
Plus: an automatic win in every book lover’s heart? HE READS!
“‘She’s…sweet. Smart. I feel good around her, like it’s okay to be myself. And I think she’s the kind of person who is, you know, naturally good. Not because it’s right or anything, just because that’s who she is, like a moral compass. I want her in my life, and if that’s just as friends, well, okay. I’m down for that.’”
Grayson and Wren had a sweet and innocent romance. I’m so used to seeing relationships move fast and get heavy before the midpoint of the book, but that was not the case with this novel and it was like a breath of fresh air. The two of them connected on a much deeper level than the purely physical, and they were able to relate to one another. It was a slow moving, slightly timid romance that is unusual in today’s writing, and I loved it.
The Promise of Amazing was a beautifully written and fantastically quirky novel about a girl wanting to stand out and a boy trying to do what’s right. It was a diamond in the rough of young adult novels now a days, and it showed me what I wish more novels were. The Promise of Amazing was as unique as its plot and its characters, and it’s definitely one that I would recommend for any contemporary lover.