Friday, May 27, 2011

Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

 Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

"What if your first love was literally sitting right in front of you?
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." (summary from publisher website) 


At first I was a little worried to read Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt. I had read the first book in her princess series and really enjoyed it, but it was more along the lines of fantastical fiction. Sean Griswold’s Head sound serious and heavy. A father gets diagnosed with MS. Then the summary gave me some strange vibes. Focus object? Therapy? I felt hesitation.

Then I read a positive review of it by Janssen at Everyday Reading and decided to take the plunge. I am very glad that I gave the book a chance. I ended up enjoying it. I really liked Payton’s voice. She has a very funny way of describing her feelings mostly with odd and self-conscious metaphors that are charming. The author does an excellent job of showing how Payton’s life was impacted by her father’s MS. The author manages to convey the depth of Payton’s distress without the book feeling like a pity party. In fact I really sympathized with Payton and was willing to watch her as she tried to figure out how to cope with her distress.

In the middle of all her stress and grief Payton’s focus object—Sean Griswold—brings a bit of light heartedness to the book. Payton does a bit of gentle mocking of Sean’s big head, but finds herself inspired to get to know him better as a result. What results is a genuine and honest teenage romance story. I also loved the fact that the author had a light touch with the romance plot line. Not too sappy and just the right amount of sweet.

So, next time I see a contemporary novel by this author I will not hesitate, but leap to give it a chance.

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