Robin Constantine: The Promise of Amazing

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Robin Constantine The Promise of Amazing
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    The Promise of Amazing
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The Promise of Amazing: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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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.

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The Promise of Amazing


Robin Constantine




Mrs. Fiore paused for effect, scanning the faces in my Honors Lit class with a smug smile. She’d delivered the words with such conviction, it was as if the dean of admissions called and told her that no girl from the entire junior class of Sacred Heart Academy would even be allowed to apply to Harvard.

This was supposed to be a pep talk.

It was a rainy, miserable Friday in November. The kind better suited to burrowing under a comforter watching a Gossip Girl marathon than being dissed by your guidance counselor. My chances of going to Harvard, or any college for that matter, were on the fringes of my mind. The future was a faraway idea that came after more pressing ones, like Thanksgiving break or the gamble of putting a deposit down for junior prom by the December deadline without a date prospect in sight.

I surveyed the class, wondering if anyone else found this speech irritating. Resigned eyes stared straight ahead as Fiore droned on. Next to me, Jazz took notes. Across the room in the back corner, Maddie had her head 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.

Honestly? Harvard had never been a passing thought, even as a reach school, but to hear someone, a guidance counselor no less, tell me it wasn’t a possibility made my mind reel. Was this some sort of Guidance 101 mind trick? Didn’t Mrs. Fiore realize she was insulting us?

I imagined recording her little speech. I’d strap her into one of our ass-numbing desks and demand proof of her guidance degree, since it was painfully clear she must have skipped the How to Inspire Your Students seminar in favor of the Dowdy Floral Prints and the Many Ways to Rock Them workshop. Then I’d force her to listen to that condescending drivel over and over again and see how inspired she felt afterward.

Fiore’s proclamation added another depressing dimension to what was fast becoming my semester of discontent. My current class rank was an unimpressive forty-nine. Forty-freakin’-nine out of one hundred and two, which technically put me in the top half of the class but barely. And my application for the Sacred Heart National Honor Society was a total fail. Nominated but denied. To add to the humiliation, the teachers felt compelled to let you in on the reasons why you didn’t get in, so you could improve and work harder to make it the following semester.

Wren Caswell. Doesn’t participate in class.

Bright but quiet.

Quiet. Quiet.

Too quiet.

I tried not to let the evaluation bother me, but it did. Being quiet was not a conscious protest. It was my nature. And once that sort of “Wow, you’re quiet!” klieg light was forced on me, it drove me deeper into my shell. If I had something to say, well, yeah, I would say it, but I never went out of my way to call attention to myself. In school this had always been a good thing. Applauded, even. The NHS evaluation made it sound like a character flaw. Something I could improve.

That’s just not how it worked.

“What was up with Fiore today?” Jazz asked, peeling away the plastic wrap from her baby carrots and fat-free dip. Jazz was training to run her first half marathon with her father in January and had adopted a clean-eating philosophy. Lately she ate the same lunch—lean protein on sprouted-grain bread, a Vitaminwater Zero, baby carrots and fat-free dip. It had never bothered me, but today, after the No Harvard speech, I resented its wholesome overachieving perfection.

“Thank you. You thought she was out of line too?”

“Oooh, who’s out of line? What did I miss?” Mads plopped down her lunch tray on the table.

“Fiore. Last class, or were you dozing again?” Jazz asked, pointing at her with a baby carrot. Mads leaned over, grabbed the carrot out of Jazz’s fingers with her teeth, and chewed as she shimmied her chair closer to the table. With her close-cropped platinum hair and devilish grin, she looked like a naughty, private-school Tinkerbell.

“Not dozing, doodling,” she said, grabbing a sketchbook from her pile of books and sliding it to me.

“You were doodling Ben Franklin?”

“No.” She grabbed the book and flipped to a different page. “That was yesterday. Here, from before.”

“Oh, um . . . who?” I asked, handing the book to Jazz.

“You can’t tell?”

Jazz peered at me over the sketchbook, brows raised in question.

“Some guy from a boy band?” I guessed.

“No! Zach,” Mads said, taking the book from Jazz.

“Ah, should have known, very Cro-Magnon like,” Jazz said, dipping another carrot.

Mads scrunched her face but smiled. “I suck at noses. It’s all in the shading. So what about Fiore?”

“You know, that whole ‘none of you are going to Harvard’ thing,” I said.

“Oh, that? What’s the big deal?” she asked, popping open her bag of baked chips and offering me one. I waved them away.

“I don’t like to be talked down to,” Jazz said.

Mads shrugged. “She’s a realist, that’s all.”

“I can get in to Harvard if I want,” Jazz countered.

“Okay, so maybe you can, Dr. Kadam, but what about the rest of us? Harvard is like a million miles away from here, metaphorically, at least. Why are you both taking it so personally?”

“Because it feels personal,” I said, pushing my brown-bag slacker lunch away. “It was like she was telling us we’re stupid, so why bother?”

Neither of them responded, and instead shared a knowing look. Mads crunched a potato chip extra loud between her teeth.


“This is about NHS, isn’t it?” Jazz asked with the same doe-eyed face of pity she’d given me when I’d shown her my rejection letter.

“It’s okay to be pissed, Wren,” Mads added.

The pressure of backed-up tears made me blink fast and look away. Sometimes I hated my friends and how well they knew me.

“That’s not it.”

“Screw NHS, it’s not a big deal,” Mads said.

“It is a big deal,” Jazz protested.

“Jazzy Girl, not helping.”

“You’ll be nominated again next semester. It’s a great thing to have on your transcript.”

They bickered back and forth about the importance of NHS while I zoned out. I knew NHS was a big deal. It was the academic elite of the school. What bothered me most was that damn evaluation that summed me up as the average, quiet girl.

I’d always thought of myself as smart, had no problem making first or second honors, but in a small, competitive school just making it didn’t translate into anything spectacular. My rank had slipped because my brain refused to comprehend higher math. Even with tutoring, I’d taken home my first-ever Cs in Algebra II and Trig earlier in the semester. As I sat across from my NHS-accepted pals, I felt like an imposter. Like maybe I’d be better suited to being friends with Darby Greene, who sold her mother’s Xanax for ten bucks a pill in the back of the classroom and didn’t seem to be bothered with less-than-stellar grades. Then again, teachers liked her. She spoke up in class.

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