September 10, 2013

Latest Read: Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

Here are the basics ...
Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt
Publication date: March 1, 2011
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Purchased

Summary: 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. (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The good: When (non-blogging) friends asked me what I was reading and I replied with, Sean Griswold's Head. I got a lot of funny looks and them repeating after me, "Sean Griswold's Head? What's that about?". It seems almost silly at first when you think about the premise. Fifteen-year-old Payton is given a notebook from her guidance counselor who instructs her to pick a focus object and write about it. She brainstorms (complete with a circle map - loved her nerdiness!) and randomly chooses Sean Griswold's head. He's been sitting in front her since grammar school (they sit in alphabetical order; her, Gritas and him, Griswold) but in all the years they've known each other, they've never really talked. But the reason for the focus object reveals a much deeper story than the title suggests. Payton's father was recently diagnosed with MS, a fact her family chose to hide from Payton initially, and she's not coping with the news or being lied to well. This focus object exercise is supposed to help her deal with her feelings.

When Payton first finds out about her dad, she reacts in what I found to be a typical and realistic teenager response. She gets mad, gives her parents the silent treatment, acts out (nothing too crazy though!) but internally, she is scared out of her mind. I found myself really sympathizing with her. Even at her most dramatic, I understood because nothing can prepare you for how to deal with a parent getting sick.  It's natural that her first instinct was the fear and worry that she'd lose him. Which is why I appreciated the focus project aspect.  It balanced out the seriousness of what Payton was going through really well and it actually did help her. Her entries scatter the book and they're filled with humor and observations about Sean. The more she "stalks" him, the more intrigued she is and it isn't before long that they strike up a friendship.

Payton and Sean were so adorable! I loved watching them slowly get to know each other and figure out how to tell each other how they felt. It felt young and sweet, with this refreshing innocent side to it. I guarantee more than one moment will have you going "awww!". I thought all the relationships were portrayed extremely well though. Friendship is a big part of Payton's life -- there's her blossoming friendship with Sean and then her best friend, Jac. Like most friends, they have their ups and downs and frustrating moments but it's clear how much they mean to each other. We also get glimpses into Payton's relationships with her parents and her brothers. It really helped to round out the story and give it more depth beyond the romance.

(No) reservations: None!

Do I recommend?: I do! If you want a sweet romance with great friendships and a little more depth, I would recommend this.

Happy reading!

2 comments:

  1. I really really liked Lindsey Leavitt's Going Vintage and ever since, I've been wanting to read this one! I'm glad that you found Payton and Sean adorable! I do like me some sweet romance so I'll definitely look forward to reading this book. Great review, Rachel! :)

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  2. This book sounds super cute! I do have it on my list of books to check out eventually, but I love that it's an adorable + real + entertaining contemporary novel. Haven't read a Leavitt book yet, but I will (hopefully) remedy that soon!

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