Friday, September 16, 2011

Review: Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

Title: Sean Griwold's Head
Author: Lindsey Leavitt
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books                     
Pages: 288
Release date: March 1st 2011
Genre: Contemporary YA; romance
Source: Bought
Find out more: Amazon ; Goodreads

Goodreads description:
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.

First sentence:
Nothing creates a buzz like an Executive Deluxe day planner.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I´d heard basically only great things about Sean Griswold´s Head, and I loved the idea, so I was really excited to read this one. However, I was pretty disappointed. I still love the idea - the whole thing with the Focus Object is hilarious and adorable, and that ended up being what I most enjoyed reading about; Sean´s head as Payton´s Focus Object, how that turns into romance, etc. The romance is cute - I loved Payton and Sean together.

The writing is good, too. I was especially impressed by Payton´s PFEs/journal entries - often, journal entries in books seem fake to me, but in Sean Griswold´s Head, they´re realistic, and Payton´s voice is authentic and funny.

I know, this all sounds positive, and in the beginning, I did like this book, but after a while Payton got on my nerves. The characters are my main problem in this book. It´s not that they´re badly-written or anything like that, I just didn´t like them as people. At times I could relate to Payton, but most of the time she annoyed me - she´s so selfish and melodramatic! The way she reacts to finding out her dad has MS is strange - she doesn´t think at all about how it affects her dad, just about herself. I didn´t get Payton´s character - at times she´s the social-activist-type, then she´s a normal teenager thinking about unimportant stuff. She´s so patronizing of anyone who´s different from her, making fun of Sean for riding his bike to school and hating Sean´s friend because he only wears black. I didn´t get why she made the decisions she made, and I just couldn´t connect with her.

Jac is just as annoying as Payton. She doesn´t care about what Payton´s feeling and says she shouldn´t make such a big deal out of her dad having MS because she didn´t lose him like Jac lost her father because her parents are divorced and she never gets to see her dad. I couldn´t believe a friend would react like that - that is not the same thing at all, and it´s just not something you tell your best friend if she´s just found out her dad has MS. Payton and Jac´s friendhsip annoyed me - the entire time, they only think of their own problems and both tell the other one she´s being selfish - I wanted to sake them and make them see they´re exactly the same. That aspect really frustrated me. Sean is an okay character - at times he´s really sweet, but at others he´s patronizing, too, just like Jac and Payton.

One thing I appreciated is that Payton´s dad has MS, not cancer. For some reason, the only ways people die in the books I read are form cancer or in car accidents, which has really gotten on my nerves. So, thank you, Lindsey Leavitt, for choosing a disease other than cancer. It was interesting to read about the disease, and it seemed well-researched and realistic. Well, I can´t be the judge of whether it realistically portrays MS, as I know little about it, but it seemed authentic.

I know most of what I said in this review is negative, but I´m still giving it three stars - good writing, a pretty cute love story and a fun, original idea make this an okay read. It didn´t really work for me becuase I disliked the characters, and not connecting with the main character made it hard for me to get into the rest of the story, but whether or not you connect with a character is different for everyone, and I´ve read mainly good reviews of Sean Griswold´s Head, so maybe it´ll work for you.


  1. Thanks for the review! It's interesting how characters do and don't connect...I think it's great that your review acknowledges that what didn't work for you might work for other people, but was still honest as to your opinion. Thanks again!


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