Book: SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD
Author: LINDSEY LEAVITT
Genre: CONTEMPORARY YA
Published: March 2011, BLOOMSBURY USA CHILDREN'S BOOKS
Source: Publisher, no other compensation given for an honest review
From Good Reads:
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.
The first thing that came to mind, when I sat down to write this review, was that I quite enjoyed SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD. Lately I've been reading more contemporary YA, mostly courtesy of a fantastic marketing publicist at Bloomsbury. I haven't been disappointed yet. Lindsey Leavitt takes a sometimes humorous, sometimes heart-breaking, sometimes romantic, and sometimes serious look at the toll Multiple Sclerosis can take on a teenage girl and her family.
Peyton Gritas is the last in her family to be told of the debilitating disease that her father has been diagnosed with. Though, I thought that her character reacted in a fairly spoiled way to the announcement, Leavitt really captures the emotion that is involved in finding out that your whole world is about to change. Not only that, but I found myself really invested in the family dynamics that were shown throughout the book. Peyton has an older brother that doesn't live at home, and her other brother is in college. Even though her second brother comes home to attend a local college, there is still a definite difference in how the two are affected.
The story is told from Peyton's point of view, and it's in her head that the reader understands what an off-spring might have to experience when their parent suddenly loses the armor of omnipotence. Though her brothers are going through a similar experience, Peyton is the closest to the fallout. She still lives at home, and she is burdened with the knowledge that certain things her father used to do, are things that he can no longer do. And, all of this is complicated by her OCD.
Leavitt has written a very entertaining novel that explores the psychological affects of a teenager dealing with her father's disease. Even with the very somber theme, SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD has many light-hearted moments, and I liked being included on Peyton's journey of acceptance, as well as the romance that developed between her and Sean Griswold.
4.5/5 for plot
4.5/5 for characters
4/5 for language
My Rating: 13/15 (4.5 stars)
Must Read, if you liked:
Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors
Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales
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