Monday, November 25, 2013

Review: The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine

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I received this book for free from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Promise of Amazing by Robin ConstantineThe Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine
Published by Balzer & Bray, HarperCollins on December 31st 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Source: HarperCollins
Buy on Amazon

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.

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!


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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36 Responses to “Review: The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine”

  1. Maya @ The Book Nook

    Insta-love in fiction only ever works when it’s an instant attraction, because that does actually happen. When it’s two people claiming to be in love after they met each other 30 seconds ago, it’s just… Pfft. I can’t stand it. This doesn’t really sound like my kind of thing anyway and now I’m certain I wouldn’t enjoy it. It is quite funny that the title is The Promise of Amazing and the content is anything but! Thanks for the review 😉

  2. Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Book Blog)

    Love this review!! You definitely made me laugh while at the same time I know EXACTLY how you feel. Insta-love rarely does anything but annoy me. And I’m really getting sick of goody-goody shy girls with obnoxious bad boy types… And both want to “change” for each other. Blah!!!

  3. Bethzaida (bookittyblog)

    “like fucking rock stars”? Really? Ugh! I gagged too when I read that. I don’t know how you read this. Only by reading your review I know I wouldn’t finish it. Oh, and this part of your review -> *shoots self in the face* made me giggle 😀

  4. Aylee

    Aww, too bad! I thought this one promised amazing-ness too (it’s the cute cover that gets me), so it’s too bad that didn’t pan out. But I can’t think of a time that insta-love ever worked for me either! Really, why do authors do it? Blah, never going to work! Thanks for the review though, Giselle – now I know to stay away!

  5. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    Yeah, I had trouble with this one too. I tried to forget that there was insta-love in it, but I just couldn’t. I think I did like it a bit more than you did because I liked how involved the family was in Wren’s life. I agree about Grayson though. He was unlikeable.
    Great honest review, Giselle.

  6. kimbacaffeinate

    :snort: Your comment about the title made me giggle so hard I almost snorted my coffee. I read adult contemporaries and can handle insta-love in those better, but even then the author needs to make me feel it. If the insta-love is more insta-sexual-attraction and then things develop beyond that it is more believable, but the whole, “you are the one” and “I can’t breathe without you” in YA usually fail for me. Thanks for the giggles, and I am sorry this let you down.

  7. Kazhy

    So sad to hear that this disappointed you, Giselle! I was really looking forward to it because it sounds so cute but ugh, insta-love. I’ll still give this a try but probably not any time soon.

  8. Christianna

    “The title: Lies all Lies!” Hahahaha, that was amazing even if the book wasn’t! It sounds like this one would make me wanna throw it across the room and then run over it with a car. I’m glad that I didn’t pick it up now.

  9. Siiri

    Oh, no! I’m sorry you didn’t lik it. I’m actually surprised that you didn’t DNF or 1 star it, but whatever. Grayson sounds like a WTF with triple F-s character. Is this guy for real? *laughs* Ok, I’m not a fan of insta-love and I must admit, I knew it was insta-love-ish, but come on! You’ve gotta be kidding me. I’m really not that excited about this one anymore. I guess I should give it a try because everyone’s tastes are different, but seriously? This doesn’t sound like my cup of tea at all. sorry you didn’t like it 🙁

  10. Candace

    Insta love doesn’t often work for me and when it does it usually needs to be in life or death circumstances where other crazy emotions come into play with some intenseness. I had high hopes for this one as it looks adorable. Too bad it just didn’t really work.

  11. Sam @ Realm of Fiction

    I don’t really care if insta-love or insta-attraction can happen in real life. I just never want to see it in my books. I doesn’t work for me in any shape or form! Like you, I also need more substance, which is why I always prefer slow and subtle romances to anything like this. I DNFed this in the end, and I’m glad I did now. Great review, Giselle.

  12. Amanda @ Hell-Bent to Read

    Oh, no! This is a book that I’ve pretty excited to read. Although, if I’m honest, there were two reasons that I was REALLY excited to read this 1) cute guy, and 2) cute cover. The synopsis itself seemed a bit done before anyway, so I guess it’s not TOO surprising that this was a flop, haha. Still really unfortunate, though.

  13. Pili

    Clearly a contemporary to be avoided at all costs! I’m usually not a fan and if I ever got to start this I’d probably DNF…
    Thanks for your honest review, Giselle!

  14. Melliane

    Oh I’m sorry… but I confess I understand, I really have a big problem with insta-love… And if more than that you have a problem witht he characters, it’s a lot.

  15. Kelsey

    Ugh I definitely won’t be reading that. I’m getting so sick on insta-love, and the face that you mentioned it was barely believable sounds bad. The main characters sound annoying too.
    Thanks for reviewing it!

  16. Aman

    Ugh, the guy sound like a total douche! I’m surprised you didn’t give it 1 star because it doesn’t look like there was anything good about this book. I requested it because of the mention of NJ Teens and also the cute cover. I still have to read it but I won’t expecting anything great. Thanks for the review, Giselle!

  17. P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

    Guess I’ll be doing my best to avoid this one! Wow it sounds awful. Instalove is never cool. Never. (Okay, rarely, but we’ll just say never so maybe it’ll disappear except for rare, amazing exceptions.) Grayson sounds icky too.

    Thanks for the review!

  18. Precious

    Awwwwww, I’m so sad you didn’t like it! But I totally get your point. Sometimes insta-love works for me, like when it has a paranormal basis that we usually get in books that are paranormal, of course. The Statistical Probability of Love worked for me. 🙁 But I’m just so scared to try this one. Thanks for the great honest review.

  19. Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books

    Yeah I didn’t like The Promise of Amazing very much either. I don’t what was supposed to be amazing about this novel. It seemed to much like a bad teen soap opera. I was thoroughly disgusted by Grayson. Other than the cover, title, and character names, I wasn’t a fan.

  20. Chel

    Insta-love is not always a good thing. So is real life. I find myself annoyed if the characters are way too realistic. This book just sounds flat for me. I can’t see myself enjoying it really. Thanks for the honest review, Giselle!

  21. Emily

    This is totally short of “AMAZING” I totally agree!! It was pretty fluffy and cute, methinks, but definitely not amazing… HA.
    But great review, Giselle! You summed up my thoughts about it too 😛

  22. Megan Nicole

    I had a feeling that I might not like this book so I kept holding it off. I don’t know when or if I’ll ever get around to this because I hate insta-love! Sorry you didn’t like it.
    Here’s hoping your next book is tons better! 🙂

  23. JennRenee

    Wow I had such high hopes for this book. I have a hard time with insta love too. I didn’t in the first few books I read with insta love, it was something new and cute and I enjoyed it. Now its just so overdone and not even well. great review.

  24. Alexa Y.

    Oh wow! I was kind of looking forward to reading this book, but now I’m just plain nervous. It really sounds like it rubbed you the wrong way, which is unfortunate. But what makes me even sadder is to hear that the characters don’t seem appealing or stand out in any way!

  25. Molli

    Oh man… I’ve seen a lot of people talking about this one but yours is the first review I’ve read. It’s always interesting to know you’ve enjoyed a certain trope in the past, but then you see it done so poorly and well, what can you do? Grayson sounds like a real winner. *eyeroll* It’s too bad this was such a flop for you, but thanks for the honest review!

  26. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    I’ve been hearing the same things about this book. Since I’m not much of a contemporary reader to begin with, I think it’s save for me to say that I’ll never read this book 🙂 Grayson sounds like a character I will absolutely hate and that’s never a good thing.