This month our Selective Collective book is “The Promise of Amazing,” a debut novel by author Robin Constantine. Constantine has penned a story about two unlikely teens whose lives intersect one fateful night. Wren and Grayson are opposites in every way. She’s a sweet, studious girl who always follows the rules and tends to be very quiet. She works for her family’s Arthurian themed banquet hall. Grayson, on the other hand, is the quintessential bad boy with latent redeeming qualities. He has a sketchy past, but he wants to change. Then the remarkable happens, he and Wren cross paths, and the rest is history. –Diana
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.
Robin Constantine’s debut is a classic opposites attract story. Wren is a quiet girl who always does the right thing and is kind of tired of always being labeled as the “quiet one.” She’s so quiet that despite good grades, her lack of class participation hinders her ability to be inducted into the National Honor Society. Wren’s teachers don’t recommend her, because she rarely contributes to discussions. So, she’s on a mission to do something to change herself and stand out more, make her voice heard.
Grayson is the archetypical big man on campus — with a twist. He is (or was) the star player on his Lacrosse team, and is one of the most popular guys at his posh private school. He thinks he’s untouchable and becomes involved in a scheme to supply grade-A term papers to classmates in exchange for cash. When he’s busted for that, he gets kicked out of school and starts to realize that maybe it’s time to change his life.
With both of them ready for transformation, their lives intersect while Wren is serving at a wedding reception that Grayson is attending at the banquet hall. Grayson chokes on a cocktail weenie and his family naturally thinks he’s kidding around. Without thinking about it, Wren steps in, performs the Heimlich, and saves his life. He, of course, throws up on her shoes. What follows is a love story that must overcome Grayson’s not-so-petty criminal history (and his higher-than-average sexual history), as well as Wren’s sense of self and trouble believing that a guy like Grayson could fall for her.
The story is told from both Wren and Grayson’s points of view, which helps make it clear what they see in each other beyond the obvious. As their relationship develops, there are times of real humor and also teen angst — even the most privileged of kids have their troubles and insecurities. Grayson pursues Wren almost to the point of stalking her, but there’s a substance to his reasons for being with the girl who saved his life. “The Promise of Amazing” makes a great holiday break read for older teens and adults who enjoy contemporary romances, ’80s movies, and opposites attract couples.
Make sure to check out everyone else in the Selective Collective’s features, especially the Author Q&A + Giveaway if you want a chance to win a copy of the book!