Release Date: March 1, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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.
Michelle's Review: **some spoilers**
Payton Gritas has a pretty good life. She's a straight-A student and is organized to a fault, part of the basketball team, she gets along with her parents, and a great best friend in boy-crazy Jac. But when she learns that her dad has multiple sclerosis and her parents and brothers had been hiding it from her for many months, her world perfect world came crashing down. She is shocked and angry at her family for keeping her in the dark. Her guidance counselor decided Payton needed a focus subject to keep her mind off her dad's illness and she chose Sean Griswold--his head to be exact. Payton has known Sean Griswold since elementary school but hasn't really paid him much attention; he was just there. But what started as her getting to know her focus subject a little better is turning more into stalking... er, a full-fledged "field research" (with the help of BFF Jac) in all things Sean, not just his head. As Payton spends more time with him, she also finds herself start to fall for Sean...
Sean Griswold's Head was one of my "covet" of 2011 so I had pretty high expectations for it. I'm happy to say I ended up really liking it! Payton was a great heroine--she was smart, funny and had that great sarcastic voice I love in my contemporary YA heroines. I loved the scenes between her and her best friend Jac who was a little off the wall and the opposite of Payton--Jac could have easily been too over-the-top tiresome but the author did her character just right. Jac just cracked me up and enjoyed the dialogue between her and Payton. And speaking of dialogue, my favorite scene from the book was between Payton and Sean in Valley Forge on a bed spooning (no, it's not that kind of scene--it was winter and they had many layers of clothing between them) in the guard's quarters after they played "three things" and before they got interrupted. It was the best scene with the most sweetest dialogue from Sean. He was such an adorable guy, so sweet and right for Payton. These two have known each other for a long time but they don't know each other until Payton actually started to pay attention to Sean. I really liked the progression of Payton and Sean's relationship--it wasn't the usual instantaneous love so prevalent in YA books today.
My only beef with Payton was how she handled the situation with her parents, especially with her dad. I got that she was mad at them for lying to her and she was scared, but I thought her I-was-wronged-and-I'm-entitled-to-act-like-a-brat attitude went on too long. I also know that her big a-ha! moment had to do with her figuring out her feelings and I knew where her misplaced anger was coming from but still. I wanted to shake her many times I was so frustrated with her. But I guess that's the way the author intended for us to feel about her and Payton did do some growing up by the end of the book.
I thought the writing and the pacing was great and I really enjoyed Payton's sarcastic voice and reading her thoughts. It was good mix of humor, sweet romance, the right amount of emotional drama and the tougher subject of multiple sclerosis--the author didn't gloss over what an MS patient goes through. Overall, I thought Sean Griswold's Head was an engaging read with a great ending. 4 out of 5 stars
Book 3 out of 18 in read in The Contemps Challenge.