Welcome to The Selective Collective. Together with our friends at The Book Addict’s Guide, Gone Pecan, The Grown Up YA and Teen Lit Rocks, we’ll be exploring a new release in its entirety, from review to author spotlight, to a roundtable chat, among other fun things.
This week we’re discussing The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine.
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. (Goodreads)
This month, I have the pleasure of hosting the roundtable discussion between the blogs. Here are our questions and answers:
1. Grayson has a bit of a past, making him a “bad boy” of sorts. Did you/do you like the bad boy in the story (or in real life)? What is it that makes them so attractive?
You know, the “bad boy” is really a toss up for me! Sometimes the bad boy is a guy who seems bad but has a good heart — MELTS. Other times, there are too many things in his past that I probably couldn’t forgive so I don’t tend to fall for those. I think my favorite is the snarky bad boys — they come off rough but they really do have a soft interior! (Brittany, The Book Addict’s Guide)
Why is the bad boy always so freaking attractive? I can’t put my finger on it exactly. For me, as a good girl for life, I always loved books and films about those who could embrace life in a daring way (something I could never do). As much as I enjoyed reading about it though, I found I liked the geekier boys. My husband and I met in high school and he sort of had one foot in the partying world and one foot in the nerdy studious world. As attractive as I found the “bad” side, the side I fell for was the dorky side and I found that the more I cared for him, the less I wanted to see him act like a bad boy. Books are a different story! Give me a bad more whose just needs the love of a good girl any old day! (Tammy, YA Crush)
2. Wren saves Grayson’s life in what turns out to be a pivotal moment for both of them (not only because Grayson didn’t choke to death, but because it forced the two of them together). Do you believe in fate, that things happen as they’re meant to or that life is a matter of chance and circumstance, about being at the right place at the right time?
Their meeting reminds me of the term “meet cute.” I always feel that meetings between two characters are coincidental, but I guess if it wasn’t, the book wouldn’t exist. Anyway. I honestly do believe in fate. While it may not be obvious right away, I think there is always a reason things happen, no matter how big or small they may seem. That being said, I think also life is about chance; what happens to you happens because you’re at a certain place at a certain time. But is it fate that put you there? Is it fate that made you choose to do something, like you were always fated to fall into whatever circumstances? (Candice, The Grown Up YA)
I am a fate person. I believe in meant to be, stars colliding, the providence of God…all of it. In fact, I’m going to pull a Jazz and say I’m totally Sleepless and Seattle about love. Totally. (Tammy, YA Crush)
3. When Wren finds out the truth about Grayson’s past, she ultimately forgives him. Would the sort of things Grayson did (beyond the term papers. The alter egos, the hook ups, his part in Amsterdam plan) be something you’d be willing to overlook?
I think not being a teen any more makes a huge difference to my answer here. I mean something that could seem like a deal breaker then or even now might not be at the other age. I think looking back on what I was like as a teen all could have been forgiven except maybe all the hook ups. I realize things happened before they got together but I think the thought of someone you want to be with having such loose morals might be a turn off and something I know my brain wouldn’t stop thinking about.(Kristina, Gone Pecan)
4. Wren’s buddy, Jazz, views life through the rose-colored glasses of eighties romance movies (this endeared her to me, of course). What eighties or nineties movie is your ultimate favorite love story?
Jazz’s love of eighties romance movies was completely cute to me. I love when young people are obsessed with movies that I grew up with as if they are “classic” movies. Although, I guess considering they’re 20+ years old… they are classics. I don’t really have a favorite 80s movie – unless you count cartoons! – but love me some 90s movies! My favorite is You’ve Got Mail! It’s such a sweet movie and still to this day envision that one day I’m going to be Meg Ryan from that movie – quirky, cute, and totally falling for a perfect stranger. What I love best about it though is that while everyone thinks it’s an updated version of Sleepless in Seattle, it’s actually based on several older classic movies from my favorite past movie decades (30s, 40s and 50s), most notably “The Shop Around the Corner” (favorite version) and “In the Good Old Summertime.” (Candice, The Gown Up YA)
The eighties were when I graduated from high school, went to college, graduated from college, started teaching and then got married in 1988 (I just celebrated my 25th anniversary), so there are definitely some 80s movies that are special to me. However, I’m not sure I could pick ONE ultimate favorite. After thinking about different movies, I would have to say that one of the movies I love from the eighties is-“Can’t Buy Me Love.” I STILL cry every time Patrick Dempsey gives the speech where he says, “Nerds, jocks; My side, your side. It’s all bullshit. It’s hard enough just trying to be yourself.” Even though I was already out of high school when this movie came out, I remember how painful it was for me (for many reasons). The movie struck a nerve for me about the divisions in high school. I also loved how the most popular girl in school fell in love with an unpopular boy. I thought the end when they ride away into the sunset on a lawn mower was one of the most romantic things I had seen (in an eighties movie). I even remember deeply wishing for Patrick Dempsey to come pick me up and take me away on his lawn mower. The funny thing is that I didn’t think he was very good looking back then (not true anymore). (Diana, Teen Lit Rocks)
5. Grayson and Wren are completely different. Do you think opposites attract and can have a good foundation for a relationship, or should couples be more alike (good girls with good boys, etc)? Do you think they were at good match?
I’m totally down with the opposites attract theory because when someone is your complete opposite there is something thrilling about them wanting you, especially being a quiet person. When the life of the party wants you? It’s very empowering. Now with that being said, I love to read so when I see a guy reading, in a bookstore, etc? HOT I think it is more about balance and complimenting each other more than how many hobbies you have in common. People (myself included) just need to be less judgemental on face value and get to know someone regardless of backgrounds. (Kristina, Gone Pecan)
After celebrating 25 years of marriage I can honestly say that my husband and I are opposites on SO many things. However, we’re not opposite on the things that were the most important to me (our faith). So I do believe that opposites can have a good relationship, but they have to acknowledge the differences and agree to disagree. I do think that if something is extremely important to you such as your religious faith, political beliefs or value system it might be very difficult to make a relationship work with someone who didn’t share that with you. However, at the end of the day, nothing is impossible in relationships if there is love and both parties are willing to work at their relationship. (Diana, Teen Lit Rocks)
6. Wren works at the family banquet hall which has a distinctly awesome Arthurian theme, something so cheesy it’s amazing. Ever worked anywhere similar (with a cool niche) or been to a wedding with a fun theme like that?
Thanks for stopping by this week! Be sure to check out my blogging partners as they further explore The Promise of Amazing:
The Book Addict’s Guide- Author Interview & Giveaway
Gone Pecan- Ultimate Movie Moments
The Grown Up YA-Page to Screen
Teen Lit Rocks-Review
Sincere thanks to Harper Collins for sending each member of The Selective Collective review copies of The Promise of Amazing.