Title: Sean Griswold's Head
Author: Lindsey Leavitt
Publisher: Bloombury USA
Pub Date: March 1, 2011
Genre: Contemporary (YA)
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.
So starting this book, I was a little leery...seriously, whoever writes the blurbs for GoodReads and the cover flaps should re-think their strategy. I've been put off of a lot of good books by lines like "innocent and consuming first love." What a way to say, "a cheesy romance that comes out of nowhere". I absolutely can't stand whirlwind romances especially in YA because they just seem so fake. Also...I knew that Lindsey Leavitt wrote Princess for Hire...a light, fluffy, cutsey book with not a lot of depth to it. Yet there were so many positive reviews by other book bloggers, I knew I had to at least give poor Sean Griswold and his head a shot...and guess which book just gave me a HUGE book hangover?? Yep that's right...I stayed up til about 3 reading it...now all I can do is sit here and drool at work...thanks Ms. Leavitt...
I loved the characters in the book. No one was really cookie-cutter and everyone had at least a little bit of drive and motivation coming from sources other than "oohhh...hot boy, drools". At first I was a little turned off by Payton's OCD...typically when anyone talks about having OCD, I actually start feeling the need to go organize my closet, so they tend to stress me out...but my initial discomfort went away almost immediately as I began to identify with her and feel sympathy for her dad's situation. Payton is also amazingly witty and snarky. I adore all of her banter, weather it is with Jac, Sean, or her family. Jac is a great secondary character, she might be a little ridiculous, boy-crazy,and dramatic, but it suits her. She is the ying to Payton's yang and to see them getting into all of their shenanegans was hilarious. They could be the professors of Creeping 101: Intro to Stalking. Thought I would have KILLED my friends if they pulled a stunt like Jac did to Payton at the mall. As they begin to follow Sean around, it was really cool to learn more about him, though I felt SO awkward for poor Payton at times. When the two friends fought, it was so real that you almost felt like you were fighting your best friend. Sean himself is a little hard to read at times...but that's ok...the whole point of the book was to figure out his head...inside and out.
The pace of the book was really quick. It starts off with a rush of information, first about Payton's OCD, then with her dad's illness, and the action doesn't stop until the last page.There is definitely some tough stuff that is dealt with in this book. Though it is treated in a teasing and playful way so as not to make it too dark, there were times when I was practically in tears, thinking about how I would feel if it was my family, my dad in the same predicament. There was also the added conflict of finding love while Payton's other friendships and Family relationships were falling apart. She was so torn up because she loved her family but was hurt and scared and didn't know how to get it across to everyone else. Throughout the book she goes through a ton of self discovery and I really enjoyed reading about it.
SG'sH definitely made you think. Was there someone in school that you knew about but didn't really know personally? Someone who was just outside your circle of friends who was with you everyday, but if someone asked you about them, could you say where they lived? What they liked to do? Who they really were? I attended the same school for 9 years and I can only say I knew a hand full of the students particularly well. What would have happened if I would have talked to the guy whose head I stared at all day long (In my case, Ryan Houska)? I doubt we would have dated or whatever like Sean and Payton, but it really makes you think...how many of the kids you went to school with did you really know?? You could have had a best friend, a boyfriend, a future maid of honor, sitting at the next desk over and not even realize it...