The Promise of Amazing

The Promise of Amazing

3.8 18
by Robin Constantine

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Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she's not popular, 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.

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Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she's not popular, 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, and on the 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 at Wren's family's Arthurian-themed catering hall. 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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
First-time novelist Constantine puts some creative twists on the “opposites attract” theme in this well-crafted romance starring good-girl Wren Caswell and “brainathiminal” (combination brain, athlete, and criminal) Grayson Barrett. Told from the teens’ alternating points of view, the story begins when Wren, a waitress at her parents’ medieval-themed inn, saves the life of a choking guest. At this point, she knows nothing of the guest, Grayson, whose shady past got him expelled from his old private school, news Wren later acquires through gossip and confessions. When Grayson lands a job at the inn, the two begin to fall for each other, in spite—or perhaps because—of their different personalities. Conflicts arise as Grayson’s former partners in crime threaten to ruin his relationship with Wren, and Wren, tired of being labeled “bright but quiet,” grows too bold for her parents’ taste. Filled with action, passion, and adolescent angst, Constantine’s novel introduces two believable characters with strong, honest voices who work to find themselves as they chart new territory together. Ages 14–up. Agent: Tamar Rydzinski, Laura Dail Literary Agency. (Jan.)
VOYA, February 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 6) - Mary Ann Darby
When her Honors Lit teacher tells Wren Caswell’s junior class, “None of you are going to Harvard,” Wren is irritated. This comment, on top of Wren’s recent rejection from the National Honor Society at her prep school, leave her feeling too much like an average, quiet, nice girl—and she decides it is time to make a change, but she is not sure how. Working that weekend at her parents’ Arthurian-themed catering hall, Wren runs into high school senior Grayson Barrett who strikes her as a conceited jerk. But when she has to save his life using the Heimlich maneuver, she looks into his eyes and something shifts for both Wren and Gray. As two truly different teens find themselves drawn to one another, life intrudes in every way possible, from family turmoil to betrayal by classmates. Wren and Gray are able to forge ahead to find what is true and important in understanding themselves and forging a relationship. Dual narration by Grey and Wren provides two contrasting, but mostly authentic, voices of teens trying to make life changes. This is Constantine’s first novel, and while teens will find it very readable and the two central characters very likable, the change of heart by a key character at the end of the story strains credibility, making the wrap-up a bit too neat for those who are looking for a realistic depiction of teen struggles. Language, casual sexual liaisons, and pervasive use of alcohol by characters make this a choice for high school readers. Reviewer: Mary Ann Darby; Ages 15 to 18.
Children's Literature - Bonita Herold
Wren Caswell and Grayson Barrett meet in an unusual way when she saves his life. A simple cocktail weenie brings them together. Sparks fly, and Cupid aims his arrow—two for the price of one. But can opposites really attract? Wren Caswell is a quiet, average high school junior who cannot even make it into the National Honor Society, let alone keep a boyfriend. She hopes to make herself heard without getting loud. Grayson Barrett is a senior with an alias of Mike Pearson. Mike is capable of lying and stealing to get what he and his buddies want, including a killer trip to Amsterdam. But once Gray gets expelled, that’s the end of Mike…or is it? When pressured by so-called friends to return to his prior ways, will Gray be able to resist? Lie builds on lie, and the tower topples. Maybe Wren would be better off avoiding a relationship altogether. Who needs the heartache? Readers may want to sequester themselves when they read this novel; if they do not, they will disturb the peace when they start yelling at Gray: “Don’t be stupid! Tell the truth!” This story will appeal to teenagers deciding what rules apply in starting a relationship. Can love conquer all? Reviewer: Bonita Herold; Ages 12 up.
Kirkus Reviews
Good girl tames bad boy in Constantine's first novel. High school junior Wren Caswell has entered her "semester of discontent." Denied entry to Sacred Heart Academy's National Honor Society for being "too quiet" and ranked No. 49 out of 102 students, Wren has never stood out from the crowd. Grayson Barrett is a repentant player and self-described "term-paper pimp" trying to distance himself from his crew of baddies and leave his manipulative ways behind. When Wren saves him from choking on a cocktail weenie at a wedding reception held at her family's banquet hall, the Camelot Inn, their lives become a game of Mars vs. Venus. The stereotypical male-female dynamic takes hold: Wren becomes the reformed con artist's "moral compass," and she spends too much time overanalyzing his actions and apparent disses, pretending she doesn't care when he doesn't return her texts. Wren and Grayson share the narration chapter by chapter, and their witty banter moves the story along. Nevertheless, it's still a fairly standard teen love story: Girl and boy from different social circles meet, face obstacles from family and friends, and fall in love. Feminists may recoil, but fans of light romance will discover a satisfying weekend read. (Fiction. 14 & up)
The Bookish Daydreamer
“Will have you rooting for the bad boy to find his inner good, and for the good girl to open up her heart to love again.”
YA Love
“I was instantly hooked.”
Sarah Mlynowski
“You’re going to fall in love with this romantic (and scandalous!) read. It 100% lives up to its promise.”
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Wren, a shy, quiet junior, falls for gorgeous bad-boy Grayson in this enjoyable and sometimes surprising romance. Their initial meeting is less than ideal: he chokes on the pastry-wrapped frankfurters she serves him in her family's Arthurian-themed catering hall. She performs the Heimlich maneuver, and he vomits on her shoes-but it's still love (and lust) at first sight. Wren is struggling to find her place in a family of overachievers. Grayson was kicked out of his private school, where he was involved in a dangerous, criminal enterprise, which he's trying to break away from despite old friends who don't want to let him go. The chapters told from his point of view are not always convincing, as this former player describes his sweet, mushy romantic feelings for Wren, but readers will enjoy seeing how love changes him. There are a few subplots, but the focus is on the whirlwind romance. Misunderstandings, secrets, a jealous classmate, and other obstacles get in the couple's way. The pace of the story picks up around the halfway point as Grayson's past comes back to haunt him. This is a mostly light, often funny story. Grayson sometimes borders on unlikable, but the believable characters speak and behave like teenagers, whether they are drinking and hooking up at parties or worrying about college applications. This is a solid choice for readers who like a little more heft than the average teen romance novel.—Miranda Doyle, Lake Oswego School District, OR

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

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