Grade: 4 stars out of 5
Payton has always been close with her parents especially her father. But when discovers, in an awkward situation, that her dad has multiple sclerosis she’s more than a little hurt. Her parents aren’t sure what they should do so they ask for some help. Now Payton has to attend guidance counseling to deal with her inner turmoil. The assignment is to get a focus object, but she’s not sure what exactly. So it’s fate when Sean Griswold’s mentions “focus” to Payton Gritas in class. Payton has her focus object.I found Payton to have a little essence of Lindsey Leavitt in her. Payton loves organizing. Each chapter has an outline of some sort talking about her “focus object” (Sean’s head) for the day. And let me tell you, they are hilarious. Some outlines are ones that I haven’t encountered since my middle school days: What do you know, what would you like to you, and what have you learned charts. She’s borderline obsessive with her organization, but inside Payton is a mess. She’s an organized mess. Her disarray is reflected by how much the news of her dad’s multiple sclerosis has impacted her. However, Payton can be childish at times especially the cold shoulder she gives to her parents.
Sean is like the epitome of nice guys. We need more nice guys in novels.
Sean Griswold’s Head went further than what I had originally imagined. I was able to connect Sean Griswold’s Head with a recent novel, The Running Dream. Payton is different than Jessica because she is not the going through the drastic life changes, but Payton is still directly affected. They both find sports to be a way of driving their discomfort, hurt, and pain with a positive spin. Through their new extracurricular activities, both involving of course cute guys, Jessica and Payton were able to run/bike for charity. In that way, Sean Griswold’s Head adds another dimension; no longer does the novel focus on the characters but the condition and disease. It expands from an individual viewpoint to a community based viewpoint where a vast majority can contribute for a good cause. This is what makes Sean Griswold’s Head relatable because the reader doesn’t have to be handicapped or ill to be part of something extraordinary.
Despite the humor, Sean Griswold’s Head can be serious and saddening. Readers be warned that you might get a little teary-eyed when reading. Overall I am definitely impressed with Leavitt’s YA debut and am looking for more of her works (which will I believe be coming out in 2012)! Now I’m going to venture back to her debut MG novel and hopefully be dazzled by that book as well!
Source: ARC for blog tour from Bloomsbury
Published: 1 March, 2011 (today!)