According to her guidance counselor, fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas needs a focus object—an item to concentrate her emotions on. It's supposed to be something inanimate, but Payton decides to use the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold's head. They've been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas—it's an alphabetical order thing), but she's never really known him.
The focus object is intended to help Payton deal with her father's newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis. And it's working. With the help of her boy-crazy best friend Jac, Payton starts stalking—er, focusing on—Sean Griswold . . . all of him! He's cute, he shares her Seinfeld obsession (nobody else gets it!) and he may have a secret or two of his own.
In this sweet story of first love, Lindsey Leavitt seamlessly balances heartfelt family moments, spot-on sarcastic humor, and a budding young romance.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Review: Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt
Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt
Sean Griswold's Head was a delightfully heartwarming sophomore novel from Lindsey Leavitt that firmly secured her on my favorite authors list. After reading, and loving, her fun and sassy debut, Princess for Hire, last year, I've been dying to read more by Lindsey. Luckily, her first solid YA novel did not disappoint.
Payton Gritas was a main character that was easy to love. She was such a realistic teenager; funny, sweet, and at times naive and easily angered. Payton was well developed and readers got to truly understand her and what she was dealing with. And what exactly was Payton dealing with? Her family recently revealed that Payton's father was suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS). A frightening and painful disease that impacted not only her father but their entire family. It would be terrifying for any teenager to learn that their father was no longer the healthy and cheerful man they always knew. Suddenly Mr. Gritas was having trouble buttoning his shirts and even losing control of his bladder. Payton deals with it by ignoring her parents and the disease in hopes that it will just disappear. Unfortunately, as Payton will learn, this was not the right thing to do.
Her guidance counselor suggests Payton find a focus object and keep a journal about her focus object and thoughts in general. Payton selects Sean Griswold's head. Sean has sat in front of her for years and they've never really spoken before and now Payton can stare at the back of his head, unabashedly, through biology, all in the means of "research". As the novel progresses Payton and Sean become friends and Payton realizes she may indeed have feelings for him. Lindsey Leavitt developed Payton and Sean's relationship beautifully. I loved watching their friendship grow and seeing all the fun times they had together. Both of them were truly kind people and Sean was always there for Payton when times got hard for her.
The novel really allowed Payton to grow and change over the course of the story and learn a lot about both herself and those around her. She had to make some difficult choices and learn from some of her mistakes, but came out for the better in the end. Payton's family had a key role in the story, as did Sean, her best friend Jac, and some other secondary characters. Jac was one of the craziest and most fun friends ever, but sometimes she took things too far. The fact that Sean Griswold's Head didn't really focus on romance, but more the idea of how important it is to always be honest and true to your friends and family and support them no matter what, was one of my favorite things about the book.
There were a lot of intriguing sub-plots interwoven in the plot and the premise of this story was extremely original and well executed. I loved getting to know Payton, Sean, Jac, and the rest of the characters and reading about their ups and downs. Payton's focus journal entries were also included and were a fun and realistic touch. I'm eager to read the second Princess for Hire book releasing this year as well as any other works Lindsey Leavitt releases. I definitely recommend picking this up soon!
Overall: 4.75 out of 5 stars
March 1, 2011/Bloomsbury USA Children's Books/288 Pages/Young Adult
Source: Author (ARC)
Other books by this author: Princess for Hire