A teen boy leans over to press his forehead to a teen girl's forehead standing outside on grass.

About the Book

Title: The Promise of Amazing
Published: 2013
Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Cover Story: Surprisingly Accurate
BFF Charm: Meh
Talky Talk: Easy Breezy
Bonus Factors: Bad Boy, Catering
Anti-Bonus Factor: Eyebrow Piercing
Relationship Status: Fling

Cover Story: Surprisingly Accurate

At first glance, this cover screams STOCK PHOTO. Well, actually, it screams ROMANCE, but it’s also saying STOCK PHOTO without using its inside voice. But while this book is, indeed, a romance, I was shocked to find that this picture may have actually been taken, gasp, specifically for the story? Check out the description of the main male character and tell me that it doesn’t sound exactly like the dude on the cover.

I want to complain about the generic nature of this artwork but…it’s so…truthful. Shakes fist. You’ve won this battle, cover designer, but the war isn’t over!

The Deal:

Wren is a sweet Sacred Heart girl who’s tired of being quiet. Grayson is a smoldering player who’s tired of being bad. You don’t have to be an expert on the periodic table to know that when these two elements meet, sparks fly.

But Wren, who’s been “humped and dumped” before, isn’t sure she can trust Grayson. And he isn’t sure she should trust him either, especially since his so-called friends are pressuring him to get back into the game so they can fund a little scheme called Project Amsterdam.

As Grayson tries to play it safe and Wren pushes herself to take risks, this unlikely* couple searches for a middle ground, but secrets from Grayson’s past take them off the map and into the uncharted territory of the heart.

*And by “unlikely,” I mean every girl’s fantasy.

BFF Charm: Meh

BFF charm with a :-| face

Wren is a nice, thoughtful girl who cares about her friends and family. Stung by her rejection from the school’s honor society, she vows to be more vocal, more outgoing, more brave. But she never really gets there.

I’m not saying she’s a Bella Swan or anything, but Wren’s a little bit…boring. Her lack of distinct personality made it easier to live vicariously through her, which was fun when it came to Grayson, but overall, I longed for her to suddenly develop more dynamic qualities. Sure, we can’t all be a Katniss Everdeen or even a Jessica Darling, but I prefer my heroines to have a unique voice, and Wren simply wasn’t compelling. I don’t mind that she was “average,” since the best books make the ordinary feel extraordinary. But Wren’s character, sadly, never made that leap past the mundane.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7


Rigid moral compass? Check.
Undying respect for her family? Check.
Limited romantic experience? Check.
Adorable innocence? Check.


Devilish charm? Check.
Disarming intelligence? Check.
Checkered past? Check.
Street smarts? Check.

In case you’re not aware, I just put these two characters to the Rory Gilmore and Jess Mariano test, and they passed with flying colors. But we all scored a victory, because that shizz is HAWT.

Even if it borders on insta-love, the attraction between Wren and Grayson will make you tingle in all the right places. There’s enough drama to keep the tension at a tantalizing simmer, but not enough to make things boil over with ridiculousness. Also, major pants to Robin Constantine for writing the crap out of the kissing scenes. Girlfriend has a gift.

(And, without spoiling anything, there’s another source of hotness that comes into play in a very surprising, yet strangely enticing, way.)

Talky Talk: Easy Breezy

Constantine definitely strikes me as a disciple of Sarah Dessen. While she hasn’t yet nailed the emotional nuance or colorful characters of Dessen’s novels, her straightforward style is engaging and thoroughly enjoyable. This is one of those books that’s easy to devour in just a few hours without any serious digestion required. The chapters alternate between Wren and Grayson’s perspectives, and I did find them to be distinct, although Wren’s internal dialogue felt a bit more authentic to me than Grayson’s. The contrasting points of view didn’t necessarily offer deep insight into their characters, but they certainly amped up the romance, so I’m not complaining.

Bonus Factor: Bad Boy

Jordan Catalano, a hot brooding stoner, in My So-Called Life

Not to belabor the point, but Grayson is the best kind of bad boy—a rogue yearning for reform. You get all of the thrills of danger without any of the consequences. He’s not all attitude either; there’s also mental and physical prowess involved. Wren’s friends refer to him as “brainathiminal,” since he’s not just one male character from The Breakfast Club, he’s all three. Ridiculously unrealistic romantic ideal, activate!

Bonus Factor: Catering

A table with an assortment of delicious looking pastries

Wren’s family owns a wedding venue called The Camelot, and she often puts in time working as a server, offering up cocktail wieners and wrangling drunken groomsmen. I don’t know if it’s my love of food or my love of weddings, but I’m fascinated by the world of catering. This book, much like The Truth About Forever, offers an entertaining glimpse of the underbelly of special events.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Eyebrow Piercing

close up of a white face with a snake eyebrow piercing.

I am very sorry to inform you that Grayson sports an eyebrow piercing. Maybe I’m just old, but NO. Much like Marcus Flutie’s dreads, I chose to steadfastly ignore that element of his description.

Relationship Status: Fling

From the get-go, this book was a big ole flirt, and even though I knew we weren’t soul mates, I decided to indulge myself. We spent a couple of fun, light-hearted hours together that were pleasant though not necessarily memorable. But damn, it was a good kisser.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Balzer + Bray. This review was originally posted on Kirkus Reviews in exchange for monetary compensation, which did not affect or influence my opinions. The Promise of Amazing is available now.


Sarah lives in Austin, and believes there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, which is part of why she started FYA in 2009. Growing up, she thought she was a Mary Anne, but she's finally starting to accept the fact that she's actually a Kristy.