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The Promise of Amazing

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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.

371 pages, Hardcover

First published December 31, 2016

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About the author

Robin Constantine

5 books461 followers
Robin Constantine is the author of The Promise of Amazing, The Secrets of Attraction and The Season of You & Me. A born-and-raised Jersey girl, Robin likes to spend her days dreaming up stories where love conquers all, eventually, but not without a lot of peril, angst, and the occasional kissing scene. She loves swoony books, flip-flops, dark chocolate and the full moon.

You can find her online at www.robinconstantine.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 894 reviews
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,366 followers
November 28, 2013
Is insta-love ever a good idea? One where with only a handful of pages two people have already felt that they are experiencing the beginning of something “real"? Something that would change their lives? Pffft! Well ok even if this stuff can - or so I’m told - happen in real life, I need a lot more substance to convince me in fiction. I have very rarely seen cases of insta-love - or instant somethings - where I could actually feel a genuine connection forming between two characters, The Promise of Amazing was not one of them. This insta-love was in its purest eyeroll-inducing form. This was the first sign that I should have listened to.

I’m sure my dislike for Grayson played into my complete disinterest in the romance from the start. I mean, this guy calls his own hair cool and reminisces on when he and his friends used to walk the school halls “like fucking rock stars”. Excuse me while I go barf! There is nothing about Grayson I liked. Since this book is told in dual POV this was more than a little unfortunate. His whole characterization was a flop, from the gross sexual organ references to plain immorality. I know this is a YA novel, but lawd I have not read one with such immaturity in a long while. Then we’re supposed to believe he now wants to be this whole new redeemable person because of a girl he met 2 seconds ago? Puh-lease! Even though this is a premise I have seen myself enjoy in the past, it felt nothing but artificial in this case. Plus, did he even feel remorse for anything?

I can’t say I connected to Wren any better, though she was at least tolerable. Still, she could have used some backbone and a lot more personality. She gets annoyed at being considered the quiet girl but proves to be nothing but. Her whole character left a lot to be desired, especially when she became all about Grayson. This is a shame, really, since her perspective - the family life and lack of ambition from such large shoes to fill - got swept under the rug of unexplored potential.

Even without the insta-love, I didn’t get the romance. Why were either of these people even interested in the other? Physical attractiveness will only go so far. But even that is inexplicable: They met when he was choking on his own idiocy…

The ending: *shoots self in the face*

The title: LIES!! ALL LIES!

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
589 reviews1,031 followers
December 19, 2013
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

Thank you Balzer + Bray for sending me this copy. No compensation was given or taken to alter this review.

-So Melanie, I’ve heard a lot of mixed reactions towards Robin Constantine’s YA debut, The Promise of Amazing. What did you think of it?

*grumble* Lying piece of poop. Amazing my ass! What is it with the world? People break promises… and now book titles are breaking them?! *grumble grumble*[image error]
-I take it you were not pleased with what you got. It is certainly a risky move, titling a book The Promise of Amazing. But let’s not fret o—

It’s all good! I forgive the book! I mean, Wren forgave Grayson for his wrongdoings and lies the next day when she woke up; because y’know, he’s so damn good-looking like why hold a grudge against such a sexy guy? *faked jubilance*

-Oh. Um, can we backtrack a bit and first hear what The Promise of Amazing is about?

More like The Promise of a-clichéd-insta-love-romance-and-crappy-characters-with-an-even-lamer-ending.


Fine! The Promise of Amazing is your average, boy meets girl story. The two meet one night when Wren is catering at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall and sees Grayson choking on a cocktail weenie, then saves his life literally by performing the Heimlich. And seriously, minus all the cheesy ‘love at first sight’ junk going on when Grayson and Wren’s eyes met, I was thinking it was a start to a fun and awfully fascinating romance. But then, of course, the author has to bring in the YA (even sort of NA) romance motifs.

-And what motifs appeared in The Promise of Amazing?

The main one that has been getting on my nerves lately is the bad boy, good/plain girl romance and how the girl brings out the ‘good’ in the guy. Grayson Barrett used the be king of St. Gabes, he was star of the lacrosse team and was excelling in his academics but it was all blown away when he got kicked out after getting caught for being term paper pimp. Sure, he seems like a pretty decent guy who did one bad deed, right? But that’s not all. His past is filled with demons that are coming back to the surface again. Then there’s Wren. She’s plain and average and always does what she’s told.

And when Grayson and Wren suddenly meet, it’s like BOOM! Instant, illogical love. *cough* Run away! *cough cough* Honestly, this book revolves around the romance and I was not convinced about the connection at all making it a total bust for me. The second Grayson and Wren meet, their thoughts from then on are about 70% about each other and how much they want to see each other again. I was sitting here thinking: “Err… did I miss anything or are these two already in lurrrrrve?” Apart from the instant love and obsessive thoughts about each other, I also failed to understand the chemistry because I didn’t see how these two were even attracted to each other in the first place. Sure, Grayson’s a looker but I just wasn’t feeling anything.

-You mentioned Grayson had some demons in his past, was this topic handled well?

I actually did not mind Grayson. He was had a better charisma than Wren. Wren was like a piece of cardboard. Boring, nothing outstanding and her potential of a good story line with her family drama were swept away the second she met Grayson. As from then on it was all: GRAYSON GRAYSON GRAYSON. But continuing on, yes the topic was handled pretty well. I wasn’t keen on having another bad boy good girl romance but Grayson’s past was too interesting to turn my back to. There is a clear character arc that develops throughout the book as he tries to change himself to be a better person and move on from the bad past. However I would not go as far to say I really liked Grayson, he’s a bit of a jerk at times but I enjoyed his determination even though he wanted to change partially for Wren as well.

-Overall thoughts?

In all, The Promise of Amazing had a cute premise but hard to like main characters and a romance too tough to believe. And as a last, quick note, I was not happy with the ending. AT. ALL. *flips table dramatically and exits interview*


Yeah, I did an interview review because I haven’t been able to access twitter and really felt like making conversation with someone. That person ended up being myself. I AM NOT WEIRD.
Profile Image for emma.
1,825 reviews48.5k followers
May 24, 2021
this one is on me.

typically when i hate a book, it's for reasons that are the book's fault. and this book is not an exception to that in that it is swiss cheese-level riddled with horrors and nightmares, but it is an exception in that someone is even more to blame than the presumably evil author.

and that someone is me.

yes. i, emma, a person who has said the words "i am always right" so often it's probably the closest thing i have to a catchphrase, am admitting the unthinkable.

i was wrong to even read this.

look at the cover (i judge by those in spite of all cliché-based advice). look at the average rating (a near unbelievable 3.50). look at the pub date (2013, a year i would not return to even if i was traveling through time with my quirky grocery store employee love interest, à la Safety Not Guaranteed). look at the character names (Wren Caswell and Grayson Barrett??!!?!).

so yes, this book was filled with insta-love, and an annoying doormat-esque protagonist, and a love interest who rivals 17 year old influencers with floppy hair in terms of sheer accomplishments in the field of d*uchbaggery, and flat secondary characters that make my midafternoon snack (a small stack of saltine crackers) seem almost too packed with flavor, and a cheesy hole (hello, swiss cheese metaphor, my old friend) where a plot should be...

but i should never have read it.

two wrongs don't make a right, as it turns out.

this is part of a project i'm doing where i review books i read a while ago. can you believe that as recently as 5 years ago i was genuinely picking up reads like this one?
Profile Image for Paula M.
547 reviews641 followers
June 8, 2015

This will be short and I'll let the characters tell you why I had some problems.

The girl, Wren has, some issues. I mean, like the blurb said: she's average.
"Maddie (her friend) had her hair down, pencil in hand. It looked like she was taking notes too, but I could tell she was sketching. I hoped I wasn't her subject this time, because the look on my face was anything but pretty"


And the guy is a delinquent who tosses hot dogs in the air for a show because HE IS MATURE LIKE THAT. ONCE they saw each other they completely fell inlove.
"His dark brown eyes held mine for a second. Open. Honest. Longing. As if the hot-dog-tossing tool was just some mask he'd put on for the party."

She found that open-honest-longing thing in a second and they don't even know each other.


The guy is no different.

So this is just what happened. Instalove that doesn't seem legit. Main characters that are trying to be deep and meaningful but failed. And a plot that is just MEH. What a waste.

More reviews HERE.
Profile Image for ~Tina~.
1,092 reviews159 followers
November 13, 2013
2.5 stars

The Promise of Amazing was one of my most anticipated books. That cover alone screams; Adorable, read me! But at last, I just couldn't love this one.

Our story begins with Wren Caswell who is an average shy girl that wants a bigger life, but doesn't think that she can actually have one. Her family owns a reception hall called the Camelot and it's there that she unexpectedly saved the life of a boy who was chocking. Grayson Barrett. Thus begins a very rushed and somewhat confusing relationship between the two.

First off, I want to make it clear that I didn't hate this book, the story has a lot of promise, but it just didn't quite deliver the qualities I like in my contemporary escape. The writing however, is something I did really enjoy. Robin Constantine has a fun, fresh and natural style that sparks up the dialog in ways that gives these characters a clear tone in both personality and attitude.

Now plot wise, the beginning of the story was strong, but then it went into a different direction giving it that feeling of going everywhere and nowhere at once. Wren is worried about college life and overwhelmed about her future. She has a good family, good friends who are all understanding and supportive. Her heart has been broken once before and while she's over it, it still hurts. But then everything about Wren kinda stopped when she met Grayson and then everything just became all about him.

Personally, I don't see the attraction. Yes, Grayson can be charming, but he's also kinda an ass. He has a lot of issues that would normally make any girl think twice about getting involved. I'm all for renewing your life, learning from your mistakes and wanting a second chance, but I had a hard time believing that Grayson suddenly wanted to change his wicked ways cause a girl that he doesn't even know, saved him from chocking. I get that he's grateful, but it felt like he was using this life changing experience as a wake-up call and decided to fall in love with the person who did the waking. At this point I was all for giving him a chance to prove himself worthy, and yet, he ends up playing the same games. He could have walked away from that whole 'Operation Amsterdam', but instead he became this spineless cowardly guy who got pushed by his so called friend. Then he made a rather ugly move by giving Wren a gift that wasn't actually his to give away. Not cool peeps. Basically, besides his looks, he doesn't have very much going for him and his long string of mistakes made him very hard to like.

The relationship was rushed into an insta-love and while I normally don't mind stories like that, this one didn't have those ground breaking moments that made it believable or swoon-worthy. The ending also felt way to convenient. Wren just up and decides that Grayson's past doesn't matter and all is forgiven and for kicks comes up with a plan to help Grayson get even, which quite frankly doesn't really add up with Wren's personality and made her feel out of character.
The nail on the coffin was that we even have Grayson and Luke make amends and go their separate ways, which, I'm sorry, I thought was total bullshit for all the crap Luke put them through.

Bottom line, sadly I couldn't love this one the way I wanted to, but it may be just me. The writing is smart and terrific and I liked the other characters in this book, but unfortunately our main male lead is a little to flawed for my taste and I didn't understand the connection between him and Wren. Still, I really enjoyed Constantine's style and look forward to reading more of her books in the future.
Profile Image for Glass.
643 reviews4 followers
November 9, 2013
Review from Ja čitam, a ti?

Honest and captivating young adult story. The Promise of Amazing is a book you should not miss - it reminded me of all the reasons why I love realistic, contemporary young adult novels so much. Where new adult goes more along a line of cliche romance, young adult combines story about growing up, making difficult choices, falling in love and realizing that nothing is set in the stars. Robin Constantine managed to include all of those in debut novel.

Expectations, insecurities and the boy. One of the things that make this book so likable is the fact that almost everyone can relate to the main characters - not just Wren, but Grayson and Luke too. Even Wren's sister is kind of girl for who a lot of readers can think: "I know exactly how she felt"! It is hard when you have to live with all of the expectations your family or teacher have when you don't know what you actually want for yourself. It is easy to get stuck in the constant state of trying to please everyone and being afraid to speak up. That is exactly what our girl Wren goes trough. Grayson goes trough similar problems - he was sports star, party boy, smart kid and had his whole future mapped out. Now he has to deal with consequences of his actions and figure out who are his real friends and where he'll go from now on.
Robin Constantine makes you understand background and motivation of all her characters, even those who might look like bad influence.

But this is not fluffy read. Focus of the story is not just sweet teen love. Author is talking about things like drug abuse, problem with treatment of kids who are playing in school sport teams and how something that started as game and fun can turn out to be something sinister and bad. Grayson is not perfect guy, but also he is not idealized like anti-heroes/bad boys in new adult novels. He has so many flaws, but he tries to change - that is the thing that make him look like real person and not just book character.

Is The Promise of Amazing book for you? I think that it is perfect for all fans of good, realistic young adult novels. If you like books written by Huntley Fitzpatrick, Jandy Nelson, Sarah Dessen, Jennifer Brown or Cath Crowley, you should definitely read The Promise of Amazing.

***Copy of this book was provided by publisher in exchange for honest review.***
Profile Image for Katy.
611 reviews333 followers
August 18, 2013
BEFORE: I sure hope so.

AFTER: This was a nice, heart-warming, learned-your-lesson type of book. While the storyline doesn't differ too much from your typical shy-girl-meets-the-hot-player, Constantine delivered a pretty good story about Grayson's past and his attempts to change.

My qualms about this book is that Grayson and Wren didn't fully sound like "real" characters to me.

I get that having been caught and temporarily losing who he thought were his friends made Grayson try to change his ways. And I understand meeting a special person can sometimes consume your thoughts, making you do stuff you've never thought you'd be doing. But the thoughts that were going through his head when he first met Wren and the early stages of their relationship didn't feel like those going through the mind of a teenage boy. Don't get me wrong, it was really sweet and all. But at times, I just felt like, "Really? That's kind of a cheesy thought."

Same thing with Wren. While I'm glad she's not the let's-make-everything-a-drama type of girl, she seemed way too forgiving. I know in relationships, you always want to give the other person a benefit of a doubt. But I felt every time she was smacked in the face with the truth, she's shocked - but only briefly - and she recovers way too quickly. Like I said, it's great that she's so understanding, but it doesn't feel real -especially for a teenage girl who's dealing with experiences out of her typical comfort zone.

Some of the other characters didn't feel very real either, like the parents and the private school teachers not being strict enough or how easy everything went at the station.

All in all though, the story was good. Not unpredictable, but I liked the plot that Constantine had developed. And the characters were all really likable and people you can sympathize with. It's something worth reading if you're craving a non-fluffy chick-lit.
Profile Image for Emily Anne.
226 reviews253 followers
December 23, 2015
Reading The Promise of Amazing was a really fun experience for me! After reading a few darker fantasies, I was super glad for the breath of fresh air. This book had me smiling and rooting for the characters in the way I had hoped and needed!

I loved the alternating viewpoints of Wren and Grayson. Wren is the quiet student, looking for change, and Grayson is the social troublemaker in, you guessed it, a heap of trouble. I really am glad that they each had their own distinct voice, as I hate it when POVs meld together.

I really liked how each character has his/her own family problems... making this story have multiple layers. Wren feels a pressure to live up to her siblings, and Grayson and his father have problems. While we are on the topic of Grayson, I have to say I really enjoyed his character. He is flawed, funny, unpredictable, and realistic. And I could totally relate to Wren. Seeing these two characters build a relationship was so awesome!

Although the story had it's serious side, that does not mean that it lacked fun, lighter parts! Yeah, I was guily of laughing aloud a lot while reading The Promise of Amazing! I have this habit of highlighting every line that produces a laugh out of me, and in this book I highlighted 19 parts. The romance was so sweet with such fun dialogue and inner monologue. Overall, I highly reccomend Robin Constantine's debut novel!

P.S. (Post Script) I also really liked Wren's friends, Maddie and Jazz!!! I cannot tell you how stoked I am for Madison's story!
Profile Image for Jasprit.
527 reviews748 followers
December 11, 2013
The Promise of Amazing really gave me high hopes that it would deliver something amazing. It had a pretty cute cover, but also the premise to this sounded fantastic! I was hoping it would be the perfect autumn/winter book that I could snuggle with whilst drinking my praline mocha. But alas this wasn’t the case. Don’t get me wrong there were several adorable moments between our characters Grayson and Wren which I appreciated. But I was kind of left wanting more.

For me the attraction between Grayson and Wren was insta love, normally I can overlook this aspect if I’m able to find some redeeming qualities in our characters. But with our characters truly acting like love sick puppies so very early on, it was hard to find their infatuation with each other truly believable. Wren was a decent character; I actually liked reading from her perspective, but you could say my feelings for her were luke-warm. She made it a hard time to root for her when she was always unsure about what she wanted; one minute she wanted Grayson, and the next she didn’t, then she was back to being in love with him, but then was having feelings for somebody else. These ‘other feelings’ that she was experiencing for someone else I actually found more believable than I did about her feelings towards Grayson. I actually wouldn’t have minded exploring this possible route

Whereas with Grayson I was expecting so much, but he ended disappointing me in so many ways. I know he believed he had his back against the wall, but if he cared about Wren so much, wouldn’t it be best to be honest with her? His love for her was always apparent, but he was a bit clueless about how he went around showing it to me he really didn’t deserve Wren. Another thing which let me down was this massive thing that Grayson couldn’t deal with and which made him into this character that I didn’t like. It was resolved way too quickly.

The promise of Amazing unfortunately wasn’t for me, which I am extremely gutted about. I was hoping that the further I read there would eventually be something that would win me over. But I think I just eventually got more annoyed.

This review can be found on The Readers Den
Profile Image for Sana.
1,076 reviews959 followers
September 4, 2015
At a glance, The Promise of Amazing seems to have everything: a girl who is at a crossroad about her future, a guy whose life sucks; then one day they meet and BAM. Yes, we've all read similar books. But what makes The Promise of Amazing so different and why did it fail to deliver on that particular difference it tried to make?

Cutesy romances being held back by conflicts are sweet and enjoyable only as long as they don't stray too far from the adorability factor. I was not comfortable reading The Promise of Amazing and had to cringe at several scenes. You see, Wren saves Grayson from choking at a wedding reception, where she's a waitress and is usually humiliated by being called the weenie girl (don't ask). If you were curious how it feels to save someone from choking, you don't have to be anymore.

According to The Promise of Amazing, the Heimlich maneuver is actually something to burn up thinking about because of just 'how intimately' you'd have already touched the person you saved. Moreover, it's actually okay to stare and subsequently puke at the person (or their shoes) who just saved your life a second ago and then be all, 'The distance between us closed, and it was just . . . her. And me. Calm in the chaos.'

All that under 50 pages into the book and it was enough to put me off of reading it. Alas, I couldn't, because I'd much rather cringe over the book than obsess over the fact that I DNF-ed said book. Suffice it to say that it all goes pretty much downhill from there on. The way of dealing with the main conflict is actually laughable and the characters manage to change for the worse as the story progresses.

The Promise of Amazing reinforces the fact that a cute cover and well err, a promise of an ever cuter romance can be misleading. The severely lacking, unrealistic romance, petty jealousies, weak conflict and weaker subplots upon subplots only made it harder for me to hold attention. Despite knowing that it's not possible to unread The Promise of Amazing, I really wish there was some way I could remove the memory of ever coming across the word 'brainathiminal' from my mind. Sorry book, you just turned out to be an epitome of disappointment for me.
Profile Image for Donna.
1,045 reviews558 followers
January 24, 2015
Wren Caswell always the good girl who does what she’s supposed to do decides that she finally wants to do something for herself for a change, rather than what everyone else wants her to do.

Grayson Barrett had a good life until he messed it all up by being expelled from college after being caught charging people for test answers. Grayson is now back home and pretty unhappy. But when Wren and Grayson met after Wren saves Grayson’s life, the two find that they are attracted to one another and soon start spending time together. But will Grayson’s past pull them apart before they’ve even had a chance?

You would think with a title like The Promise of Amazing this book would be amazing but unfortunately it’s not which I’m so, so disappointed about because it was one of my most anticipated reads. I’m not the biggest fan of insta-love and in my opinion they aren’t realistic but, at times some authors do a really good job, however this wasn’t the case with The Promise of Amazing. Unfortunately the biggest downfall with it is the insta-love because it happens right at the start of the story – which was just way to soon. I struggled to connect to the characters because of this. The book is over 300 pages and they ‘fall’ for each other pretty quickly and so it made the rest of the story drag. There was no real suspense to their relationship, nothing really to root, no trying to unravel the characters feelings for one another because it was all out in the open so soon and I found myself rolling my eyes at the two characters. Eek, I didn’t like it. The insta-love just didn’t work in this book and I really wish the author had found a way draw out their relationship because if she had, I think this book could have been slightly better than it was.

As characters I liked Wren more than Grayson. She was a decent character. But Grayson, I just didn’t like him. I didn’t like his reasons for the things he did and I didn’t like the way he treated Wren – considering his was supposed to love her. The thing that Grayson was involved in wasn’t as great as I was expecting either. I guess you can say I just didn’t click with him as much as I would have liked.

In all, The Promise of Amazing wasn’t a great read for me but I am going to give this author other chance with the next book, The Secrets of Attraction and hope for the best.
Profile Image for Dee☾.
405 reviews104 followers
December 31, 2015
This book was cute, but I hate a few problems with it. The climax was a bit anticlimactic and the story seemed a little one sided. I loved that we got to know Grayson and saw his internal struggle with what was going on with his family, school, and feeling undeserving of Wren. Wren, however, we only knew she had problems with being the "quiet girl" but once she crossed paths with Grayson he eclipsed everything. But nevertheless, it was a fast read. Just the right amount of light and fluff
December 15, 2013
I was provided an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

Did I enjoy it?
Did I find it a genuinely good book?
Would I recommend it to my friends?

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But...The book's called 'The Promise of Amazing' - and did I get that? Well, read on to find out.

Any time I 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

Wren and Grayson's relationship begins when she saves him from choking to death. It all happened while she was being a waitress at her mother's function center 'The Camelot'. Soon this experience draws the two together and they immediately discover that they do have feelings for each other. Although Wren and Grayson may be two very different sides of the same coin (one a quiet, studious girl, the other with a shadowy past), perhaps there is some good to come out of their relationship.


One thing I loved about this novel was the fact that it was definitely relatable to a teenage audience. From science class references, language, mean girls and just the ways teenagers relate to each other, Robin Constantine was definitely able to get into the lives of your average teenagers and express what it would be like in the situations they were faced with. Then there was the whole good-girl-meets-bad-boy-and-fall-in-love sort of cliched storyline, however it was pitched differently in the book. In all, even the ending was sweet, and I was glad to see how things turned out. The alternating POV's made the story engaging and encapsulated how one character's actions affected the other, and their different perceptions of things. They way that the plot portrayed the different kinds of relationships teenagers have was also quite observant: from those with friends to parents and the different responsibilities that come from that. This is definitely a story about how meeting one amazing person can change your personality and your life..


Another thing I will be singing praises for is that the characters felt REAL . There was also an insight into the 'secondary' characters which was good to see, such as the careers adviser who seems to think that letting down the self esteem of her students is okay. Again, this novel deals with issues and characters that may just exist in real life, not simply as figments of an author's imagination. I especially found Wren's character an accurate representation of how some students may feel at times, if they are studious but quiet:

Quiet could be a lot of things - fierce, thoughtful, compassionate - but never deficient. That teacher evaluation was just a piece of paper. I had to stop letting it define me.

She is definitely smart, though does at times come across as naive. However, I think that this portrays her innocence at the beginning of the book, which transforms as she is brought out of her shell by Grayson.

Now, Grayson is a totally different story. When you get to know him, he's a good guy at heart who made some bad mistakes because of the friends he was hanging around with. Once more, something that teens would be able to relate to. Wren certainly brings out the sweet, good side of him, which was only just beneath the surface all along. At first I will admit that I disliked him as a character because it seemed he would stay stuck in his old ways, though as I saw him change for the better I warmed to him - even with his flaws at least he was genuine.


In conclusion, The Promise of Amazing almost reached my towering expectations. By all means, I think it is a novel that teens will definitely be able to relate to and find engaging. With a valuable message and plot which kept me captivated with its complex relationships, I believe readers can, and will find that this book is one they certainly won't want to miss.
Profile Image for Ashley.
667 reviews716 followers
July 15, 2013
Nose Graze — Young Adult book reviews

I am absolutely drowning in indecision. Did I like The Promise of Amazing ? Was it only okay? UGH! I don't know!!

I started out on excellent terms with The Promise of Amazing. I thought Wren was funny, had a great personality, and I could completely relate to her.

The NHS evaluation made [being quiet] sound like a character flaw. Something I could improve. That's just not how it worked.

YES YES YES! Agreed! Some people just aren't loud and chatty. Some people, like myself, are more quiet and reserved. That doesn't mean we're bad students, or that there's something wrong with us, or that there's "room for improvement". We're just quiet. We can still do good work and get good grades. SHEESH! I remember tons of parent-teacher conferences where the teachers would say, "Ashley is a good student, but she could speak up more in class." UGH! LEAVE ME ALONE!

So in that sense, I completely and totally clicked with Wren. She was the quiet girl, and so was I! I loved that.

Then in steps Grayson. He was also a great character. He was definitely the more flawed one. He had a dark and sketchy past that he was trying to overcome, but it kept pulling him down. I like how his flaws made him seem real, and how he really worked to change and become a better person.

So why not a higher rating? I think there are two main reasons for this. First, I think the book fizzled out a little towards the end. At first I really liked Wren and Grayson's relationship, but I didn't keep loving it. I wanted to see more dates and intimate moments. I think there was too much constant drama surrounding their relationship. There was always an obstacle or someone trying to sabotage what they had. They only actually went on one *proper* date; the rest was just sending texts, or seeing each other in random places. I wanted more of an intimate boyfriend/girlfriend book, and I didn't feel like this one had enough of the actual dating/relationship side.

You could also say that the book was a little insta-lovey as a result of all that. As I said, they only went on one real date, and yet they eventually throw around the word love. Is it really love? I don't think so. The insta-love didn't bother me as much as it has in other books, but it was still there.. a little bit.

And secondly, I was a little disappointed by the ending. The author spent the whole book building up this evil douchebag of an antagonist. But....

Overall, The Promise of Amazing started out strong, with an interesting main character and a few funny lines. But towards the end I wasn't as hooked. I wasn't devouring it and I actually did find myself skimming a little. The Promise of Amazing wasn't quite amazing; I'd say it was pretty good.
Profile Image for caren.
520 reviews103 followers
July 15, 2013

3.5 Stars

A little bit Cruel Intentions, and a little bit Pretty in Pink, Robin Constantine’s debut novel The Promise of Amazing introduces us to Wren Caswell and Grayson Barrett, two kids searching out the answer to one question: who am I?

As the summary says, Wren Caswell is average. She’s never thought of herself as anything special. She’s the youngest of three, and the middle of her class. But one chance meeting—involving cocktail weenies, of all things—changes all of that forever after she saves the life of Grayson Barrett.

Grayson was one of the kings at his school until he got caught selling term-papers. Now he’s living a public school life, in the middle of the crowd and no longer a lacrosse star. His friends have all distanced themselves since he was caught cheating, and he’s struggling with who he used to be and the man he wants to become. After Wren saves his life, he feels drawn to her. She’s equally as magnetized. And who wouldn’t be?
Any time I 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.

He even goes so far as to get a job at Wren’s family’s banquet hall, just so he can be close to her. But there are things in Grayson’s past that aren’t quite ready to let him move on yet. Mainly, his old friend Luke. Sociopathic and uber jealous, Luke’s determined to make Grayson’s new life hell to entice him back into the way things used to be. And that includes making sure all of his secrets come out to his new friend, Wren. Caught between wanting to protect Wren and to do what’s right, and wanting to get his friends off his back, things don’t exactly go as planned.

This was a great example of the ways in which kids can be…vicious. Mean and vindictive and just bad. But it was also a great showing of the fact that sometimes love can conquer anything, and not all friends are bad. I really liked Wren. She was quiet to everyone else, but I immediately liked being inside her head. She was smart, funny and good to have around in cocktail weenie situations, lol. And Grayson…brb, let me swoon for a minute…okay, now that that’s out of the way, I’ll say this: he wasn’t perfect, but still…he wanted to be. He felt remorse for the bad things he’d done, which made me want to love him all that much more. And when they were together…sigh. Plus. Eyebrow. Ring. Drummer. Yeah.

This book won’t be for everyone. There are edges pushed, some of what some may consider cheating (yes, I’m looking at you, PV) and some not so ethical choices made by this group of young kids. But one that those who love to read about falling in love will enjoy.
Profile Image for Glire.
740 reviews519 followers
August 28, 2016
The Promise of Amazing?


Este libro tiene todo de lo que suelo quejarme en los romances: stalking, insta-love del tipo obsesivo, y personajes que toman decisiones tontas basadas en motivos aún más tontos.

"Grayson is basically a good guy. Look at his car. [...] That's not the car of someone who's trying to put one over on you."

"I guess," I said, smiling a little, thinking of that Home Sweet Home air freshener. Definitely not the accessory of a player.

¿Perdonar que tu novio te haya mentido, engañado y coqueteado con otras, por el ambientador que tiene en su carro?


Llega a las dos estrellas sólo por Luke, el antagonista, que parece sacado de Posh: rico, educado, encantador y con una mente criminal. Tiene mayor profundidad que todos los demás personajes juntos e incluso mantenía la esperanza de que terminara con Wren (nada más efectivo que sentirte decepcionada cuando los protagonistas quedan juntos para darte cuenta que es un mal romance). Me ha encantado tanto su personaje que, a pesar de que la escritura de Robin Constantine deja mucho que desear, si publicara un libro de él, lo leería sin pensarlo.
Profile Image for Kate Bond.
296 reviews121 followers
December 5, 2013
2.5 stars.

Look at that cover!

Oh, how I want to join those two fresh-faced teenagers in their tiny little love bubble. I want to giggle and be generally adorable with them. I want him to call her “short stuff” and her to tease him about his awkward lankiness and the fact that he’s ugly in the same way as Paul Dano, and then I want to squee as they touch their frosty noses together.

And the premise–girl working in her family’s Medieval Times-style banquet hall falls in love with a boy after saving his life in a ridiculous way–is a lot of fun. I wanted so badly to love this book. It really does (I’m so sorry please forgive me) promise to be amazing.

That’s the problem with titles, isn’t it? A few years ago, my husband wrote for a show called The Forgotten, and the day he got the job he began to calmly prepare himself for the punny reviews that would inevitably come. And they did come, of course, because when a joke is right there, you absolutely have to take it. Why would an author do this to herself? Why would a publisher let her? I’m going to hunt down all the interviews I can find to get to the bottom of why Constantine left her flank so woefully undefended against…well…me.

Because I didn’t like this book. I didn’t like the main character, who self-identifies as a shy, average student, but who is actually just kind of stupid and dull (“Yeah, I’ll give that some thought…not” is one of the zingers she delivers to her terrible, terrible friends). I didn’t like the entitled dummy of a frat boy she instantly falls in love with when he chokes on a cocktail weenie after mocking her with his friends, calling her “Weenie Girl” while she’s serving at a wedding. I didn’t like the way professional, successful, intelligent adults suddenly behave illogically (I’m sorry, but everyone knows not to speak to the police before consulting an attorney. The police are legally required to give you that information when they arrest you.) when it’s necessary for the author’s plot twists to work.

I didn’t like the Bling Ring elements, or the way Grayson lies to get girls to sleep with him until he meets Wren, “the only girl who mattered.” I hated Wren’s unbelievably sheltered confusion about interactions between children and their stepparents, and the way the dudes in her life use her as a pawn to get reactions out of each other. The switch between Grayson’s and Wren’s first-person narration doesn’t work at all. And in case you were wondering, yes, the title is absolutely referenced by one of the characters in the book.

I suppose that for a younger teenager who has experience with neither the instant spark that leads to a passionate, short-lived fling, nor the slow burn of real love, this story might fulfill a very specific fantasy, but I have a hard time imagining a world in which this book would be enjoyable for an older reader. The characters are just too illogical and boring. And un-sexy. And absolutely not in love.

The cover’s really sweet, though.

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.

Review also posted at The Midnight Garden.
Profile Image for Anatea Oroz.
302 reviews515 followers
December 6, 2014
This review is also posted on my blog, Anatea's Bookshelf

The only thing amazing about this book is its beautiful cover, everything else is pretty much the opposite. The Promise of Amazing is not so amazing after all, so don't get your hopes up with this book and disregard the title.

The Promise of Amazing starts when Wren performs Heimlich on Grayson and that's how they meet. The rest of the book is pretty much about how they love each other. Insta-love, you ask? Unfortunately, yes. You could even say, mega-insta-love. Normaly, I could overlook insta-love when it makes just a little bit sense. But with this book, it's not the case. The whole romance felt forced. On their first date, Wren couldn't stand Grayson and she left, but two days later, Grayson was all she could think about. Just like that, out of the blue sky! You see, to me, that feels forced. I also couldn't feel any connection between them.

I actually couldn't connect with them either. Wren was your typical quiet girl. She did what she was told, even though she didn't like being told, but she never stick up for herself. Just plain and boring character. Nothing there to say I liked that about her or I disliked that about ther. While with Grayson, I can say I disliked a lot of things about him. I can say I disliked his whole character. From his actions to the way he talked. "That's too bad, 'cause Ima-out, my friendah." Who talks like that? Is that supposed to make me like him?

The good thing about The Promise of Amazing was that it was a fast-paced and a pretty quick read. If it was slow, I think I would have abandoned it. There was always something happening, even though I often got the feeling that everything was forced and just thrown in to keep the story going. But there were some parts that I liked, even got me laugh a few times.

All in all, I don't think this book is The Promise of Amazing for me, but for someone else it may be. If insta-love doesn't bother you, maybe you could even enjoy this book.
Profile Image for Amber (Books of Amber).
580 reviews682 followers
December 28, 2013
I'm not going to lie to you, I went into this book knowing that I probably wouldn't like it. I had heard tales of instalove and that is never good. My instincts were correct, this wasn't a good book. Which is a shame, because I had high hopes for it before all the reviews started coming out. And the cover is awesome.

My main issue with The Promise of Amazing is the characters, and how I didn't feel connected to either of them as a result of the stupid instalove. We barely got the chance to get to know either of them before they were falling over their own feet for each other. I wanted to learn more about Wren in particular, since I feel she is the least developed out of the two.

I don't think Ms. Constantine did a good job with any of the characters, including the secondary ones like the parents and friends. I was hoping for a lot more development with them, especially Grayson's family who were dealing with some issues. Instead it was all shoved aside for Grayson and Wren's instalove. It was very disappointing.

The climax of the book also felt a little ridiculous. I can deal with holding back my disbelief usually, but this was just way too much.

The Promise of Amazing is totally cliche, and I don't think it offers anything new. I would compare it to the latest book in Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limits series, because the two are very similar in the sense that the good girl saves the bad boy from a life of crime. BECAUSE GIRLS ARE ALWAYS FLAWLESS AND SHINY AND ARE BORN TO SAVE THE DOCTOR BAD BOYS.
Profile Image for ♥ Sarah.
539 reviews127 followers
December 19, 2015
The Promise of Amazing. I read that title to myself about a dozen times, and felt compelled to read this, while on break. And there was something strangely hypnotizing about this story; I did like Wren up to a certain point.... But, I can't say the same for Grayson.

I loved how they met, and the kind of character Grayson was- but it was ultimately unbelievable. I guess people don't usually read these kinds of books b/c it's "realistic" per se, but it has to make sense. I just couldn't get past Grayson's "I'm-a-new-man" bullshit.

I was honestly more interested in Luke. I think his characterization was much more edgy, interesting, and believable. It had more meat overall. If he was paired with Wren, that'd be something worth reading. Otherwise - it was just another teeny bopper, sugar-coated, candy-wrapped, nothing-new, cliched "fantasy" teen romance novel.

The reformed bad-boy player changes his ways after he meets quiet and shy, yet dazzling Wren. I never really knew "why" he fell for her, or what it was that she did that compelled him to change his player ways. Luke was the real bad boy, and it would've been interesting to see more of his interactions with Wren.

I didn't hate the book, but I can't say that I loved it either. I'd probably give this a 2.5 out of 5 stars. Only b/c this book did have its funny moments, and the title really drew me in. Otherwise, bleh. Unless you're really stuck in a rut, bored out of your mind, with nothing else to read - I'd advise against this cookie-cutter, bland, one-note book.
Profile Image for Jen Ryland.
1,483 reviews903 followers
Shelved as 'setting-aside-for-now'
October 5, 2014
I love contemporaries, love the cover and was so excited about the 80s movie references. I was really looking forward to reading a YA contemporary about an ordinary girl falling in love with a bad boy in need of redemption. But after reading to the 50% mark, I've decided that this one just isn't for me…

I wasn't able to connect with the two main characters, couldn't see what they saw in one other, and just didn't feel the plot heading anywhere I wanted to go. I would LOVE to read the story that the cover and blurb promised, but what I read seemed more like tepid insta-love between a girl who's obsessed with her own averageness and an immature guy filled with delusions and self-justifications about his own mistakes and bad behavior. I kept reading, hoping that these two flawed people could somehow be amazing together, but I just wasn't feeling it.

Profile Image for Sarika Patkotwar.
Author 4 books61 followers
March 6, 2014
I never do this. I always make sure I write my review well within twelve or a maximum of twenty four hours after having finished reading a book. And honestly, this might be the first time I'm finally getting to write a review after nearly two to three days after reading the book. Not because it has been difficult to incorporate a review in my schedule but because I don't really know what I feel about author Robin Constantine's The Promise of Amazing. When I don't know what to say in reviews, I tend to blabber as can be seen and will be seen further- be warned. But really, I'm blank.

Because Janhvi and I buddy read The Promise of Amazing, I instantly and obviously got another perspective on it. While we did differ on some points, we agreed on most of it, like we always do. I could have easily just rated the book three stars because I did kind of, sort of, like it and skipped the review but something tells me that I need to at least try to gather my thoughts, however absurd and vague that gathering may be. The Promise of Amazing is not as amazing a read as it promises to be. I love the book cover so much. It's cute. It's so damn cute. I totally judged the book by it's cover and even though the story was cute, it was, at the same time, pretty dumb and slightly nonsensical. I haven't got the point of it yet.

It's one thing when you like the main guy in a book and love the company of the side kick but it's another thing altogether when you don't really like the main guy and end up liking the side guy who's a bad guy. That's what happened with me. I didn't like Grayson, who seemed very confused and irritable to me. I mean, if you're bad, just be bad. There's nothing wrong in being bad. But there definitely is something wrong in trying to be something you're not, you can't be and you don't wish to be. That is the reason why I liked Gray's friend, Luke, who was simply cool and himself.

The female protagonist, Wren, was just as silly. I could relate to her quiet and shy nature. I have had all my teachers tell me I'm a quiet girl. But really, who runs back to and kisses a guy when you see him make out- albeit just a bit- with another girl? I liked Wren's brother who was right when he said quiet people have secrets and her sister who seemed like a nice person. But Wren and Gray? No, just no. Together, the two of them make for a good couple since they're both dumb.

While The Promise of Amazing wasn't amazing at all and didn't live up to my expectations, it was still a cute read about finding yourself in times of confusion and coming of age when everything seems to be falling apart. I wish I had got the point of it and understood it better, but I didn't. And at this point, I'm not even interested. Still, like I said, it was cute and for a one time read, it was just likable enough and very thought consuming and inducing, which, for me, is good.
Profile Image for Meredith .
251 reviews146 followers
December 1, 2013
The Promise of Amazing was a fun, cute read that will leave you wanting more! For those of you who know me, I’m not big on YA contemporary. It’s just too.. rainbows and kittens for my taste. But The Promise of Amazing surprised me in such a good way!

Wren was a great character. I found her to be real, down-to-earth and relatable. There’s a big thing in the beginning where Wren talks about being quiet – how being quiet is not a conscious protest, nor a character flaw that can be fixed. As someone who was really shy and quiet in high school, I know exactly what Wren was dealing with. People thought I was a snob because I didn’t speak to them – one friend told me I was being called something much worse, even. But I was just painfully shy. I didn’t like to speak up in class. I didn’t like to raise my hand and draw attention to myself. So, right off the bat, Wren felt like someone I wanted to be friends with because I could relate to her situation. Wren grows a lot throughout the story, though. She starts out very quiet and timid and becomes very outspoken, refusing to be remembered as the one who didn’t speak up.

The story also hit close to home because of things Wren’s family was dealing with financially. My family and I had a similar situation and it was really tough. I even had the same thoughts Wren had regarding her future and what she wanted to do with her life after high school/college. It was kind of hard to read those parts, but it made me connect more with the book.

Grayson was great, though a little bit cliche in the beginning – the golden boy who could do no wrong until he was de-throned for doing bad things. But he was so hot, cocky (in a playful way) and hysterical, I was able to overlook that. He also grows a lot as a person throughout the book and I love how much he matures by the end. Also? The creative swear words he and his friends came up with had me cracking up! At one point, Grayson even calls himself a male slut! Bahahahaha!

I’m not a huge fan of insta-love, but it works for Wren and Grayson and it feels so realistic. Their relationship has its ups and downs – I mean, Grayson nearly died, so that was a bit of a downer. I love the little bit of a role reversal in the beginning, too. Without being spoilery, something that usually happens to the female character ended up happening to the male character and it was really refreshing!

I enjoyed seeing all the family dynamics, with both Wren’s family and Grayson’s family. I loved Wren’s friends, Jazz and Maddie, but disliked Grayson’s friends, who were constantly trying to bring Grayson back into a life he was trying to leave behind. I especially despised Luke.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I couldn’t put it down! From start to finish, it was a fun, realistic read that had me rooting for a happy ending. Robin Constantine is definitely a debut author worth watching out for! I can’t wait to read more of her amazing (see what I did there?) stories!

You can also find more from me on my blog: Pandora's Books
Profile Image for Somya Sahni.
124 reviews22 followers
December 14, 2018
Twitter | Blog | Instagram

3.75 Stars

Its an underrated YA which deserves all the attention for every YA Contemporary fan out there.
Blurb : It's a story which starts with the girl saving the guy from dying (literally and figuratively). It's about two people their own problems and how they end up helping each other. The girl is tired of everyone considering her quiet. And the guy , well lets just say his last school suspendef him because he had opened up a flourishing business of trading in school assignments and something else too.
Things I liked :
🍀 It was soooo Damn adorable. Giving me the perfect mushy feelings.
🍀 they don't lie to each other , both of them.
🍀 I liked how the parents were an active part of their life and presented well in the book.
🍀This book has actually left a mark on me as it revolves around the grey area of what's right , what's wrong.
🍀The main guy isn't exactly the quintessential bad boy. He's someone good who got on the wrong path. And is trying to come back to the right one.
🍀And for the girl I hope she gets into Harvard.
So I know she is supposed to end up with the main girl. I ship them whole heartedly . But I just felt that the main girl had a small spark with the main guys best friend. Which I didn't feel was bad at all. Its just something I noticed and felt. Basically that other guy has a made up name for a purpose and he says that whoever can identify from which book it is , he will fall in love with that girl. And surprisingly she actually knows which book it refers too.
So the main fall in love within a month. Which to me didn't feel wrong. They felt meant to be. And honestly I loved their characters. That they were these strong people who had their own issues. That they had faith in each other. And yes a little bit jealousy was there but it did not make them do stupid stuff.
I guess sometimes when you share that one special moment together , maybe there is no coming back.! That special moment being the main girl saving the guy from dying !!!
It was a super cute read which made my weekend and is highly recommended from my side.!

for more book reviews check out my blog :
February 26, 2015
Having heard nothing about this, the cover is honestly, adorable. And that title.

So, I went in, ignoring reviews for this.

A friendship that leads to something more. All because Wren saves Grayson's life.

I liked the moments where Wren was working at Camelot, hanging with her best friends, confiding in them, Grayson wanting to get to know Wren and change his ways, character development for the two as the story goes along, etc.

Oh and later on in the book, they communicate at least. Thanks for that book, made this read, a little better. A little.

Even though at the beginning, I was like um dude, she just saved your life, and you're already like, I must know who she is. Seemed a little to insta love, or maybe that's the point? I don't know. Even the characters were questioning this. At least he got to know her first, and she him, there's that at least.

The writing wasn't bad and the story, well it is familiar with most books but I was okay with reading it.

Anyway, this was an okay in moments kind of read for me. I didn't love it but I didn't hate. I did like it and wonder what the author will write next. And if the cover will be just as adorable?
Profile Image for Nina.
414 reviews17 followers
May 1, 2015
The Promise of Amazing vaihtaa nimensä. Uusi nimi on The Promise of Bullshit. Kyllä, minua hiukan turhautti.

Sinänsä tämä oli kyllä ihan hupaisa, söpö ja nopeasti luettu romanssi, mutta tässä ei ollut mitään erityistä. Ei mitään, mikä erottaisi tämän edukseen muiden samanlaisten joukosta. Perusjuoni, perushahmot, perusromanssi... Pelkkää peruskaikkea. Ei mitään omalaatuista tai ikimuistoista.

Koko tarina perustuu siihen, että kuinka pitkälle jätkä pystyy vedättämään tyttöä ennen kuin hänen valheensa kaatuvat rytisten niskaan. Suunnilleen näin. Olen ehkä liian idealisti, mutta eikö olisi parempi vain, ya know, kertoa totuus jatkuvan kusetuksen ja oman haudan kaivamisen sijaan?

Eipä siinä, kyllä tämän luki nopeasti ja ihan viihdyinkin tämän parissa. Ei siis mitään kaunoja tai pahaa jälkimakua suuhun jäänyt. Danke schön and good night Amsterdam.

Kolme perustähteä.
Profile Image for Jay.
514 reviews369 followers
August 25, 2013
I could not finish this book.
Three words: InstafreakingLove
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