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Sean Griswold's Head

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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.

276 pages, Hardcover

First published March 1, 2011

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About the author

Lindsey Leavitt

26 books812 followers
Lindsey Leavitt is a Leo sun/Sagittarius rising, which makes her skilled at traveling, studying and sleeping in. She grew up in Las Vegas and now lives in the snowy mountains with her big, blended family. She is the author of over fifteen books for kids and teens. Lindsey had an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Visit her online at https://lindseyleavitt.com

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 723 reviews
Profile Image for Nafiza.
Author 6 books1,206 followers
May 26, 2011
You know how sometimes when you finish a book, you sit quietly for a while just savouring the end of a tale told so very well? That’s what happened to me when I finished Read Sean Griswold’s Head. To say that I loved it would be sort of an understatement.

Ms. Leavitt takes a subject that does not usually have a space in YA literature, makes it relatable, even personal, and shows the reader that a disease does not define a person, no matter how debilitating it is. What Payton’s father suffers is real. It cannot be dressed up in sparkles or spoken away with a few well meaning platitudes. It is real and it is there to stay. I love that Ms. Leavitt brought such an important aspect of contemporary life, living with parents who are suffering from diseases, into literature and she dealt with the issue in such a beautiful way that at the end you are left with a smile and some hope.

Payton is a great character. She is snarky and flawed, very flawed but at the same time she retains this vulnerability about herself that makes the reader care about what is going on in her life. Some of the decisions she makes and some of the things she does will make you want to hit your head on the wall and yell at her for being such a stupid-head but this adds to her overall character and to the journey she undertakes. I found Payton to be someone I could relate to.

Really relate to. You see, when I was in Grade 9, I came home one afternoon and my parents sat me down and told me that my mom had cancer. It is one of those moments that you will never forget no matter how long you live. I can tell you what I was wearing, where I was sitting, and the sound of my mother’s voice as she spoke, her scared expression. The only blankness is when I try to remember what I thought. Because at that moment, I did not think. The preceding days were tough. You see someone you put on a pedestal, someone who, to you, is infallible – this book shows how a child copes when she finds out that her father is merely human. A frail human.

The relationships in the book are wonderfully complex. They are layered like an onion and there’s no one simple way to describe it. I also really like Sean Griswold. Head and all. YA novels need more love interests like him. That’s for sure. The writing and the pacing are crisp and the humour is interwoven through the narrative not as an afterthought but as a personality trait of the narrator.

Even if you don’t usually read contemporary YA, I believe you should give this one a chance. It’s a beautiful novel and will leave you feeling warm and believing in humanity. I totally recommend this.
Profile Image for eve.
334 reviews33 followers
September 28, 2011
It was a cute, feel-good, I-don't-have-any-problems-right-now read! Payton was an adorable, relate-able protagonist, her OC-ness hilarious, and her way of coping just phenomenal. Although yes yes she might've been shallow and illogical (hello, she was fifteen years old), she was also funny and smart.

I LOVE SEAN. I imagine Hunter Parrish when I read about him though. Check it out.

Anyway... for all the flaws we know about Payton and her best friend Jac, we know annoyingly little about Sean's. He seems perfect (at least, through the eyes of little miss Payton), and although usually perfect boys annoy me, Sean's perfection is easygoing and natural and not obnoxious. He's a mess of contradictions (not too soft, not too tough, not to quiet, not too talkative), and I love him for that.

Setting? Cute.
Characters? Brilliant and vivid.
Conflicts? Simple yet complicated. Love it.
Overall? F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C.

I highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Sandra.
94 reviews15 followers
November 30, 2012
In the first several pages of the bookI found myself thinking this was too young and immature for me! What a snob I can be. It wasn't long before I was hooked into a story that has fold upon fold of serious and not-so-serious issues. Payton, whose point of view the story is from, is a young high school girl who excels at everything she does. There's nothing she doesn't do or handle well until she stumbles upon her mother giving her father an injection and they clarify that it's not for recreational purposes (her first horrified thought), rather he has MS.

From this point, I learn to love Payton. At the same time, I did a great deal of groaning at her faulty decision making and even weaker stabs at holding together and then destroying her relationships. She is young, immature but learning to grow and build on her newly discovered strength to face obstacles she never dreamed would come into her life.

Payton's world grows as she discovers that people are not all that they may appear. Teachers can love and suffer loss, her guidance counsellor isn't as nutty as Payton thought (she's simply human with her her loves, sorrows and loss), her best friend's a treasure she didn't know she had, the object of her romantic fantasy's truly a fine person and her family's the backbone of who she is. Payton discovers how to give of herself, when and how to let go of preconceived notions of people based on what's seen from the outside. This is a thoughtful journey into the complexity that humanity requires.

If you like a book that doesn't hide from the painful realities of life, of strained relationships, of love both romantic and familial, of deep friendships and finally of hope that soars above the sorrow life can bring, then Sean Griswold's Head is for you. I found myself thinking about how I'd faced difficulties in my life and what I could learn from those Payton faced and sometimes hid from.

Leavitt's characters are alive with humanity, depth, sorrow and the joy of love, friendships and family. I enjoyed reading the book more and more with each turn of the page. This is a book that's categorized as YA, but I see it as a book for all ages. It shouldn't be blocked into one category.
Profile Image for Kristi.
1,188 reviews2,891 followers
March 29, 2011
I knew I was going to love this book, not only did it sound awesome, but Lindsey is a fantastic author! And I was so very excited to read her YA! I was NOT disappointed!

Payton was an incredibly well written character. She leapt off the pages.... I loved how imperfect she was. She frustrated me, she made me laugh, and she impressed me. She was a very realistic character as was her reaction to her father's illness.

Another aspect of the novel that was really impressive was the relationship between Payton and Sean. I was a little worried with Sean's head being Payton's focus object.... I thought maybe we might have a little scare of infatuation but alas, it was just so CUTE! And that Sean Griswold, try not to fall in love with him, I dare you!

And I could not stop giggling! Was not expecting so much of that!

Such a fantastic story! I can't wait to read more by the wonderfully talented Lindsey Leavitt!

Add this one to your reading piles!
Profile Image for Laura.
1,375 reviews208 followers
April 24, 2011
Sean Griswold’s Head was super adorable! It surprised me, made me laugh out loud, and think about things that are right in front of my face which I might not have seen before.

I did not expect to like Payton as much as I did. The way she handled her family really upset me at times, but that was the point really. No one is perfect--especially in an emotional and stressful time. If she had handled herself with maturity and grace, well…there really would not have been a story to tell and she would not be human. Same can be said for her parents.

I have been reading so many books told from both sides of a relationship or romance lately that it was really different and kind of suspenseful not to know what was going on in Sean’s head. Hahaha….I (like Payton) was dying to find out!
Profile Image for Hallie.
954 reviews124 followers
February 8, 2013
Four and a half stars

This was just one of the cutest books I've read in ages, and I'm even more annoyed I never saw it in a bookshop here, as it's in the library. I will need a physical copy as well as the ebook (which was very cheap on Amazon at the time I finally gave up and went looking for ebook version), as I will definitely be rereading this.

Aaaand, typically, having written the above, I had to leave it there and go into town, where I saw Sean Griswold's Head in the bookshop. Curse you, dramatic irony.

Payton is a wonderful protagonist; smart, funny, and with just the right touch of obsessive/compulsive/control-freak to her nature not to read like any kind of stereotype. She plays basketball seriously, gets on with her parents, has one very close friend, and does well in school. But when she finds out that her father has MS, and that her parents and her two older brothers have known about it for six months without telling her, she understandably freaks out. Her school counselor makes her keep a "Focus Journal", choosing something to focus on and detailing her emotions about that. (Her reaction? "I stare at her blankly. Focus. I don't need this. I can focus. I'm the Queen of Focus. Well, former queen. Princess maybe. Duchess. Oh, who am I kidding? These last two weeks I've been so lost, I couldn't cook in the Royal Focus Kitchen.") Floundering a bit, she chooses the head of Sean Griswold, the boy who's sat in front of her in school for years, as her Focus Object. It's a somewhat silly premise, but so well done, with such a light touch, that you're happy to go along for the ride. As Payton comes to feel she needs to know more about Sean than just what his head looks like from behind - for purely research reasons, of course, it leads her into conflict with her best friend, into spin classes and serious cycling, and eventually, to resolving her fears and anger. Oh, and into thinking Sean may just be a lot more than the kid with the big head who sits in front of her.

Aside from Payton's voice, there were a couple of things I loved about this book. One of these was the way the story was about dealing with hard stuff, for everyone. Payton was trying - not always successfully - to deal with her dad's illness of course, but it was obvious the parents were also struggling, and not always being successful. When Payton totally panics about the possibility that Sean might be ill too, her failure to deal with it is, in a way, a more surface failure, because she's only 15 and coming at this kind of crisis for the first time. But the parents' job is not just to take care of themselves, but also to help her to cope, help her through the anxiety and the loss of the feeling that life is safe, and they also fail. Happily, eventually they all find a way of acknowledging what they've done wrong and coped with badly and moving on doing it better. (Ditto with the best friend, after a very, very funny fight at the counselor's, and a sad period of weeks' of not speaking to each other.)

The other great thing about this book is Sean himself. He's such a fantastic kid, and it's not in the least bit idealized or otherwise overdone. I kind of wanted to adopt him (his mother isn't awful awful, but she's pretty awful) and kind of wanted him to be my son-in-law (in 10 or so years). Just saying, for all this is fairly young YA, the spooning, which doesn't even have a kiss, is many times more appealing to me than the vast majority of the sexy times scenes I've read lately.

Finally, it's a little thing, but I love that when Payton has been cycling and going to spin classes for a while, she doesn't notice anything about her weight, but that she's in much better shape than before.
I thought I was in shape when I played basketball, but I can feel a new strength in my muscles, in my calves. The promise of endurance and ability and greatness. I am a cyclist now. There's no escaping the fact that this is a sport and I am an athlete.

Now I really cannot, cannot wait for Going Vintage to come out.
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,608 reviews1,482 followers
November 25, 2013
This is a cute story. There are some really great things about it. One is that Payton the main character is 15 and acts like she is 15 not twenty-something. She is nervous to really talk to a boy for the first time. She doesn’t out drama her crises completely out of proportion. She makes stupid mistakes and is embarrassed by them but is not sure how to fix them. She is still a child converting to an adult and having some struggles along the way.

Payton’s life was routine and simple just like she liked it. Her biggest concern was implementing her new color coding system for English.

“Yellow for literary devices, pink for plot points, orange for conflict---“
“Why Orange?”
“Because I look like crap in that color. I’d fight anyone who made me wear it.”

She has had her best friend Jac for forever and while Payton is studious, a little shy and organized Jac is a emotional storm of chaos who says what she likes and flirts almost anyone with a pulse. Everything in her life is pretty good until she finds out her Dad has MS and everyone in the family has known for months except her. Now she is mad and is not sure what to do and it is affecting everything else in her life.

I liked that she had a real reaction to the news of her father’s illness. When you are fifteen and a bundle of emotions sometimes it is difficult to be completely rational and even after you figure it out it is really hard to know how to act when you have made such a big mess.

The school counselor gave Payton the assignment to focus on something and write in a journal about it to help her deal with her feelings. She starts by writing about Sean’s head. She has been looking at the back of it for years. But the more she writes about it, the more interested she becomes in the boy attached to the head.

I’m starting to enjoy my research. I haven’t even done a pie chart yet.

This is a cute story some things work others don’t. Like girls I seriously do not recommend stalking a boy or anyone for that matter. But I remember being 15 and following a boy’s path to see where his classes were trying to get up the nerve to talk to him. The author didn’t take it to any extremes but there is a fine line I think.

Sean is a nice kid. He is really into biking and tries to help Payton by giving her something else to focus on, training to do a bike ride for MS for her father in a few months. He is a cute crush interest and it is kept very PG and sweet. I really liked that after she a Sean have a little falling out she sticks to the biking. Payton didn’t just do the biking because she liked a boy, she stuck to it and trained without him.

Payton also asked for help when she figured out she could use some and didn’t know where to start. She self-sabotaged a few of the relationships in her life and needed a little help figuring out where to start to put them back together.

“But sometimes Payton, you have to take the scenic route, even when there is a straight road ahead of you.”

All in all this is a cutesy easy read. The story touches on some deeper issues but the overall plot is pretty fun. Payton, Sean and Jac are likeable and the Parents are real people unlike in a few other YA books I’ve read. If you want to read something that really seems like it is about a 15 year old then this is going to be right up your alley.
Profile Image for Sally.
Author 11 books139 followers
December 13, 2010
I won this on Goodreads, and absolutely loved it!

Basically, Payton finds out that her Dad has MS - and that she is the last of the family to know. Her brothers have known for six months already but everyone kept it from her like she was 5, not 15. So understandably she's a little miffed and stops speaking to her parents. After a couple of weeks of this, the school guidance counselor steps in by request of her parents, and she sets Payton a "focus exercise". Payton eventually chooses to focus on Sean Griswold's head. Sean sits in front of her in class and she's been seeing the back of his head for like eight years now. It's really cute reading her "focus journal" entries, how she goes from Sean's head to the rest of Sean himself - inevitably, of course! But this isn't really just another of your typical high school romance novels, which is why I loved it so much. Sure they become friends and eventually a little more, but the book has more depth than that.

I LOVED that the pop culture references (about their joint favourite show) were Seinfeld ones. I love Seinfeld! So I was really getting that along with them. Wouldn't be as fun if you weren't a fan but for me it worked perfectly. ;) I also loved the heavy emphasis on cycling, that helped to make this much more than just another high school romance story, and grounded their relationship a lot more than in just "ooh, he's cute."

The main characters of Sean, Payton and her bff Jac were really vividly described too, and they were all wonderfully likeable - I even found myself crushing on Sean a bit! My only gripe was that Payton was a bit cruel to her Dad at times... I mean, I know she was mad at being left out for so long and I understand that, but after the silent first few weeks she was actually downright mean to him a few times. It seemed a bit much.

Okay, this has nothing to do with the story now but one last thing I have to mention is the publisher's note at the start - did she even read the book properly before writing it?! "One minute you're cringing as Payton deadpans "I like to bike" after seeing her new crush holding a bike helmet (and PS she's barely been on a bike until now)." is just so wrong! Yes we cringe but it's not a deadpan, it's just lame. And it's not after seeing Sean holding a bike helmet, she's known he's biked to school for a while by that point. They also make her sound like someone who hasn't been on a bike since it had training wheels! She's good enough to join him on an epic circuit that weekend, and almost make it to the top of a killer hill. She's good enough to get seriously into the idea of riding 75 miles for MS. Payton used to play basketball, until her dad's illness made her decide to quit the team (it was kind of their thing). She's an athlete and it feels like they kind of missed that part.

/epic. Totally giving this 5 stars. Once I started, I couldn't put it down - it's such an easy, fun read and Payton's voice is a delightful one.
Profile Image for Cassi aka Snow White Haggard.
459 reviews155 followers
June 1, 2013
Sean Griswold's Head is another great book from Lindsey Leavitt. She has a gift with writing books that are accessible, funny and young without feeling juvenile. For those who enjoy her Princess for Hire series (me!), read Sean Griswold's Head. While it's different, without any magic, the sense of humor and writing style remains the same.

Payton Gritas is the ideal student--organized, focused and driven. That is, until her father is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and her near perfect life turns upside down. Payton didn't have a plan for this bump in the road and doesn't know how to cope. Suddenly her lists and planners don't mean anything and her schoolwork starts to suffer. So her guidance counselor recommends finding a focus object, something she can journal about to find balance and organization again. What her guidance counselor doesn't count on is her picking a living subject, i.e. Sean Griswold's Head.

This book is heavier than Leavitt's Princess for Hire series, but it takes a talented author to make a book cute, fun and heavy all at once. Payton is a bit of an emotional wreck, at times very frustrating and likable but all of that makes for an authentic character. I can relate to Payton, her terrible coping skills. Even when you want to yell at Payton for the crap she pull, you can also see everything is coming from a place of love and fear.

You get both funny moments like this:

"I know hard-core cyclists wear tight clothes but I don't do spandex. The devil wears spandex. And I doubt the devil's butt is as big as mine."

and deeper stuff like this:

"I mean it isn't cancer. It...people don't...necessarily die. Don't do chemo. They don't follow a set recovery plan. They just change. Their bodies changes. Their abilities--the things they do that make them who they are--leave, sometimes temporarily, sometimes forever. Every day they wake up with that big what if.
And nothing is scarier than a life filled with what ifs--living day by day without predictability and control."

Few books can deal with weighty topics like multiple sclerosis, while still keeping a funny voice. You rarely get serious family struggles and questions, alongside funny lists and adorable first-crush awkward flirting. But this book contains both seamlessly. Life is rarely just this tragic teenage mope fest or this funny giddy relationship melodrama. Realistically life is all of that, plus more, and that's what this book captures with equal measures of humor and poignancy.

For reviews and more check out my blog Galavanting Girl Books
Profile Image for Brandy Painter.
1,606 reviews229 followers
September 15, 2011
Originally posted here.

"Nothing creates a buzz like an Executive Deluxe day planner...I hug the planner to my chest and slowly brush the leather. It'll cost me a third of my Christmas money, but this baby has monthly and weekly calendars, financial graphs, to-do checklists...and did I mention the sweet, sweet leather?"

After a beginning like that there was no way that I could not like Payton. I felt an immediate connection to this obsessive nerdy girl and that connection held throughout the entire story. Payton's voice is spot on perfect. She is funny, self-deprecating, and very sympathetic. She is behaving like a bit of a brat at times in the story but you can't help but understand and empathize with her. Partly because she freely admits she is being a brat and her confusion over her feelings and the tumultuous mess her life is becoming makes it impossible to not like her. Also her parents and her best friend kind of deserve what she is dishing out.

Then there is Sean.

I really enjoyed the relationship between Payton and Sean and how it developed. It is sweet and simple and lovely. They genuinely have things in common and enjoy each other's company. Sean is not a typical 14 year old boy. He is more mature, focused, and understanding than most boys his age but his character was still very real. There are 14 year old boys like him out there, they are just not prevalent. He is just as prone to confusion, anger, and pouting as any typical boy his age. I didn't even mind too much when Payton came up with a ridiculous reason for avoiding him because I could see a scared and confused high school freshman doing something exactly that stupid.

As great as the romantic element of this story is I enjoyed it most as a story about a girl who is figuring out how to realign her life after it has been completely shaken up. The relationship between Payton and her family is also well developed and all the characters are distinctive and stand out. This is a wonderful light story about family, friendship, life, and first loves. I am very interested in reading Ms.Leavitt's other books now as well.

Note on Content: This is YA but could definitely be read by a younger audience who enjoys romance in their books. Sean and Payton's relationship is very much PG and I think that younger girls would also be able to relate to Payton's feelings and experiences.
Profile Image for Isamlq.
1,578 reviews709 followers
August 20, 2011
It's been a while since a book's had me pulling an all-nighter. And it came as total surprise to find that Sean Griswold's Head as the book that had me doing so. Honestly, I read it on a lark. Now? I find myself pleasantly surprised and very satisfied (if a little bit groggy.)

That title merely hints at how quirky Payton could be BUT while she is funny, her observations hilarious, I found that she could be self-centered, bratty and annoying too. Now given all those flaws, one might wonder, what's so good in SGH then? At it's core it's about her growing up and facing up to what is. And her what-is is actually quite depressing. It's how she initially reacts that shapes how the rest of the story flows. And boy, did the story flow! From the very first page, I had to know how things would turn out for her, her flighty bestfriend, her out of the box family, and yes, even Sean, and his head. The best thing about this book is the characters, while the female protag was a bit off putting at times, at least all of them tried to be present. Sean's entry into the book was particularly unusual. And as the title seems to indicate, it all starts with his head. Or would it be more apt to say it all starts with Payton's guidance counsellor and her unusual coping strategies?

The supporting cast is nothing to sneeze at either. Each with their own quirks added a lot to this book. Without them, I think I'd have wanted to strangle Payton given her tendency to label and her brattyness. Her bestfriend is so far from what she was and how she would behave! But it's not their difference that has me commenting on her, it's that the same bestfriend had issues to deal with as well. My point? It wasn't all just about Payton. I liked that. And there's her paretns as well. At that age, I don't think I'd have gotten away with a quarter of the things she did.. and she managed to stretch it out for three months. Lenient? Yes... but understandable given them trying to work out the kinks in their relationship. Which now brings me to Sean. All right, is this boy for real? I don't mean that in a bad way either! While he's there, he also reacted approprately. Well, I just plain old enjoyed him.

So yeah, SGH = WIN!

Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 31 books5,631 followers
June 13, 2011
This is an utterly wonderful book, a look at what happens when your life unravels in the wake of tragic news.

Payton Gritas has sat behind Sean Griswold in countless classes since fourth grade, but doesn't really know anything about him. But when her school counselor orders her to find a focus object to help her deal with the upheaval at home, Payton and her best friend Jac undertake to study Sean, head and all.

What makes this book so lovely is the characters. Payton and her family, Sean, and Jac, are all wonderful, fully realized characters. Their teachers, Sean's mother, the school counselor are also wonderfully done. It was a joy to read about real people and real relationships, and see how they dealt with the very real issues of the book.

Treat yourself and take a look at Sean Griswold's head!
Profile Image for Kate McMurry.
Author 1 book79 followers
February 27, 2011
Chick-lit dramedy of a quirky teen's struggle with her father's serious illness

Fifteen-year-old freshman Payton Gritas is a straight-A student and basketball player with a great best friend and loving parents, but her world falls apart when she discovers her parents have kept a huge secret from her for months. Her father has multiple sclerosis. Payton is furious that her parents shared her father's diagnosis with her two older brothers but not her. She is also fearful about what MS will do to her father. Can he continue work as a dental surgeon? And what about basketball? He has played it his whole life, including on a college team, and taught the game to Payton, but MS is making it increasingly hard for him to play. And what if MS actually kills him?

Payton's drops out of basketball, which she feels too guilty playing when her father can't, lets her grades drop, and refuses to talk to her parents. As her silence drags on, her mother insists that Payton talk to the counselor at her school. Payton reluctantly agrees but struggles with the "focusing" exercise the counselor assigns. She wants Payton to choose something to concentrate on that she has no emotional investment in and write detailed reactions and feelings about this "focus object" in a journal in order to work up to eventually being able to face her feelings about her father's illness.

While ignoring a video in biology class, Payton is struggling to come up with a focus object when Sean Griswold, who has sat in front of her since third grade because his name appears before hers alphabetically, turns and remarks that he has trouble focusing on videos in class. Payton suddenly decides this is a sign. She should write about Sean Griswold. Specifically the part of him she knows best, his head, which has been blocking her view of the teacher for years.

Many author's would choose a dark tone to approach a serious subject like a major illness. Instead, Lindsey Leavitt employs the intriguing alternation of drama and comedy often called "dramedy." The main source of Leavitt's humor is Payton's quirky take on life. Whether intentionally or not, over the course of the book Ms. Leavitt also impressively reveals Payton's awkward, and frequently funny, progress through many of the classic stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance), famously described in Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's, On Death and Dying.

There are three main plots centered on Payton's significant relationships, each presented from Payton's comically skewed perspective. The lynch pin of the novel is Payton's relationship with her father. Though she spends most of the book refusing to even talk to him, the love and concern emanating from both of them are clearly and touchingly demonstrated. Ms. Leavitt also does a wonderful job presenting the struggles of the family as a whole as they adjust to the major changes in their dynamic due to the father's MS.

A second important plot is Payton's relationship with her best friend Jaclyn. Jac is from a prosperous family, but her father deserted them, and her mother neglects Jac. As a result, Jac's main emotional support is Payton. Payton was there for Jac when Jac's father left, acting as both a "drill sergeant" and protector to her lovely, boy-crazy friend. To keep Jac safe, who was a young teen at the time, Payton told a boy that Jac was becoming dangerously physically involved with that Jac had "mono so he would stop jamming his tongue down her throat every time they saw each other."

Now that Payton has father problems of her own, Jac does her best to be there for Payton. But since the two girls have very different personalities, Jac's approach to emotional support is flamboyantly different than Payton's. She is an impulsive, social butterfly into fashion and the drama club, and all of her help involves cheerleading Payton by shoving Payton into coming out of her despair and self-imposed isolation. In particular, Jac believes that Payton should get to know much more about Sean than just the back of his head. Jac's crazy schemes to help her friend semi-stalk Sean as "research" are another strong source of humor in this book.

A third central plot is the romantic relationship that develops gradually and subtly between Payton and Seth. What a welcome change of pace in today's teen novels, where obsession is so often presented as "love," to encounter non-threatening (but anything but weak) Seth who is an empathetic listener, compassionate, and an all-round decent guy. He is also a dedicated athlete who swims and bikes and has the goal to participate in a triathlon when he is old enough. He and Payton begin their relationship bonding over hardcore biking, which offers the athletic Payton a chance to substitute another challenging sport for the basketball she's sacrificed.

By the way, I personally found the biking scenes believable, including how relatively quickly Payton got into shape for a marathon, since I myself rode in a 100-mile marathon at eighteen having only previously ridden 26 miles tops before that day. The fact that Payton is in shape from basketball and that she constantly bikes both outside and in spinning classes before the marathon makes her quite believably prepared to take on a 75-mile marathon.

Finally, there are several other subplots built around Payton's relationships, and each of the characters involved, though only relatively briefly onstage, are vivid, realistic and poignantly sympathetic. They include Payton's mother, her two brothers, and most of all Grady, Seth's Goth friend. The evolution of Payton's understanding of who Grady is and what his life is actually like is brilliantly done. The scene that is the climax of this relationship is one of the most moving parts of the book

I highly recommend this book for all ages, not just teens. There is no violence, foul language, sexual content, alcohol or drugs, so it can safely be read even by preteens, but it is emotionally engaging enough to be enjoyed by adults.

Profile Image for Kailia.
539 reviews124 followers
August 4, 2019
I’ve heard nothing but good things about Lindsey Leavitt’s writing. First it was Princess for Hire and now Sean Griswold’s Head. I’m happy to say that I’ve joined this group of people. Leavitt’s writing is fresh, witty, fun, and just her own and I loved Sean Griswold’s Head.

Multiple sclerosis is no joking matter and I wondered how Leavitt would handle this subject. I’ve noticed that when books have focuses like such diseases, they have these two distinguished ways of going: 1) either it’s very fluffy and not very focused on the disease itself or 2) its very serious, very informative about the disease. Sean’s Head wasn’t like either, but rather a mix. While there were funny parts, there were serious parts as well. I think Leavitt managed to tell the story of a girl and her acceptance of her father’s disease while she was in high school.

I think Lindsey Leavitt has a very interesting writing style. She has characters with funny, realistic voices but sometimes, these voices become more mature and serious. She works these stylistic voice changes very well into the plot line. I really loved all of the random notes and entries from Payton’s journal. Payton has a very quirky personiality and it was shown through Leavitt’s writing. Sure there were some cliché moments but they didn’t come off too clichéd or too forced, if you know what I mean. All in all, I really liked Leavitt’s writing style.

From the first page of the book, I knew I was going to like Payton. She had such a quirky, sarcastic voice and she was so likable. I could relate to her too, especially when I was a freshman in high school. Jac, her best friend was over the top sometimes and she irked me so much! But the thing is, she’s so like a teenager in high school. She reminded me of me and my friends. Sean was such an adorable guy. He really was a great friend and one of those book boyfriends that you just can’t help but love! Her relationship with Sean is one of my most favorite parts of the books. It’s like how any girl would feel when she begins to fall for a guy, who was well, always there.

Not only that, but I loved the other characters too! Grady the Goth added in so much humor, as did Payton’s brother Trent and many of the other characters. Honestly, my main complain is what her parents did. They should have told her about her father’s disease and it irked me so much throughout the book. Sure parents mess up and Payton’s parents are trying to make up for it, but still…

Overall, it was a great book! It was mainly a romance and coming of age story, but the seriousness was a good bit. It really showed what could happen in life and it was all a perfect mix! You have to read this book!
Profile Image for Jessica Saylor.
150 reviews257 followers
March 25, 2011
Sean Griswold's Head is a great emotional read that leaves you crying and laughing without needing the influence of vampire or werewolves. Well, sort of. I was taken back by how genuine this book was.

Okay, you definitely need to go to your local bookstore, and pick Sean Griswold's Head up. Not the head itself, but the book. I had so much fun reading every single page, and I think you will too.

The plot is great. It moved so realistically and quickly. I wasn't ever bored, even in the very beginning. Could that be because it starts off talking about day planners, and day planners rock my socks off? Possibly. But either way this book had my attention from line one and kept it throughout the entire book.

I really like Leavitt's writing style. She knew how to be serious and funny. She knew how to put me into Payton's head and let me really know what she was feeling without getting too descriptive. I plan on picking up anything Leavitt writes in the future.

Sean is also a great character. I wish high school boys like him really existed. And I think it was too sweet how he was around Payton. I won't get into it too much, but my heart totally went out to these characters. They will be in my heart for some time to come. I wish there would be a sequel, even if it has no climax or story whatsoever, I'd love to know more about their lives.

This isn't your typical book about coping with illness, so don't be put off if you don't like that type of book. Because usually I have to be in the mood for those books. But this book is different and I feel like it is a book you can read in any mood. So definitely check it out for yourself.

"Nothing creates a buzz like an Executive Deluxe day planner."
-Page One

Plot: 19/20
Characters: 19/20
Creativity: 18/20
Writing: 19/20
Cover: 8/10
Ending: 8/10
=91/100, A
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,938 reviews1,551 followers
September 15, 2015
Such a cute book! Payton is smart, witty, and thoughtful, but without compromising the feeling that she really is just fifteen. I liked her immensely and could sympathize with her struggle to deal with the announcement that her dad had multiple sclerosis. Leavitt has a really light hand with the story, transforming what could easily have been a so-deep teen “issue” novel into something more heartwarming, more entertaining, and, in the end, more real.

Much less realistic is the eponymous Sean Griswold. We get to know Sean gradually through the novel, and I'm struggling to recall a single flaw. I'm not sure he had one. He's patient, kind, caring, and just in case we didn't know how fantastic he is already, he's already involved in MS charity fundraising. His only “flaw” (those are sarcasm quotes) is that his only parent is a driven workaholic more interested in her clients than him. Yeah, it was a bit too pat.

Fortunately, most of the supporting cast (Payton's family and best friend) are well-realized and dynamic and provide lots of impetus for interesting developments. They struggle dealing with Payton's sense of betrayal (that her family kept her Dad's suffering from her for so long) and not always very well. And they clearly have their own issues and problems, even as you can see how they struggle to show their love and support.

Anyway, I liked the novel a lot, even if I couldn't really buy into Sean's character. It's a solid 3.5 that I'll happily bump to a 4 just for how entertained I was. Leavitt's dialogue and “style” (non-sarcastic quotes—I'm just not sure what other term to use) are snappy and evocative in all the right ways and I really enjoyed the humor. I look forward to Leavitt's other novels and I hope she isn't done writing more.
Profile Image for Minli.
359 reviews
May 2, 2011
D'aww. This book is cute. Payton Gritas colour-codes her post-it notes alphabetizes her homework. She's a little OCD, maniacally organized and likes everything orderly, so you can imagine why she freaks the hell out when she finds out that her dad was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a few months ago, and oh, everyone else in the family knew and no one bothered to tell her.

So Payton is taking counselling sessions. And part of those sessions is to write journal entries on a focus object, any object. Though often an inanimate object, Payton chooses Sean Griswold head, the head of the boy who's sat in front of her in every class since the third grade.

I liked a lot of things about Payton, but maybe I just didn't sympathize with her enough. It's awful, knowing that your father is ill, but I couldn't get over how she would treat both her parents so poorly for so long after that (yes, the book addresses it, in a really nice way). I loved her friendship with Jac, but I'm curious about something: why do so many protagonists of YA novels have only ONE friend?

The best part of the book was Sean Griswold (both the head and the rest of him... Seinfeld references! iron man training! funny and sweet and no baggage!), though he seemed a little too good to be true at times. Again, why doesn't he have any other friends?
Profile Image for ʏᴀs..
188 reviews
February 4, 2017
Al principio lo leí, y cuando supe que el papá tenía EM, no quise leerlo, porque no quería deprimirme, pero al final me gusto mucho, porque me identifiqué.

Me identifiqué con el papá, no porque yo tenga EM,pero tengo algo que me hace conocer el sentimiento de perder el control de tu cuerpo, no poder moverte como quieres, pensar que eres una carga para los demás, y aunque yo tengo posibilidad de recuperarme, entiendo al padre de Payton.

También me identifiqué mucho con Payton, su manera de actuar es muchas veces mi manera de actuar, y si no es algo bueno para decir, pero hay días en los que tienes miedo, o estas cansada de lo que está pasando, te sientes débil, que no eres para nada fuerte como todos creen y lo escondes siendo una completa perra, no sé porque lo hacemos, no sé porque nos defendemos así, pero lo hacemos y en este caso me refiero a Payton y a mi, no sé como lo harán los demás.

Al final me emociono con la carrera, es una bonita forma de ayudar y saber que hay cosas así, me demuestra que el mundo es bueno, solo que nosotros nos fijamos en lo malo.

Profile Image for Beyond Birthday.
143 reviews231 followers
September 13, 2019
A note to Lindsey:
Look here, having Colombian heritage doesn't equal out of control body hair, and a big ass. Haven't met too many Colombians in my life, but I'm sure there are hairy as well as non-hairy Colombians out there.
I understand you were trying to be cute and funny--and if this filled-to-the-brim-with-clever-banter book proves anything, is that you certainly are very funny.
That, however, was over the top, stupid, and insensitive.
Got it?

In spite of that, this book would get a higher rating from me (maybe a 4-ish?), except that Lindsey already beat me to it by 5-starring her own book...oh, come ON!
This is the type of book you could read in one sitting with a big smile on your face. It's witty, well-written, positive, and a damn good use of your time.
Profile Image for Crystal.
42 reviews
January 6, 2011
I really connected with this book more than I imagined I would because my parents did the same "protect you from the bad" thing hers did. I was a few years older than Peyton was in the book when it happened, but Lindsey really hit the feelings of betrayal and hurt right on the head.

I can't wait for everyone to read this book, the pacing was great as was the writing. It was a fun, easy read and I liked being in Peyton's head.

Great job Lindsey!
Profile Image for Stephanie.
408 reviews12 followers
November 23, 2010
Such a great story! I loved this book! Oh, how I LOVE YA lit!
I read this book in two sittings. I couldn't wait to finish it, and yet, I didn't want it to end! Lindsey Leavitt has such a great voice in her writing. Her main character, Payton, rings so true.
This book makes me happy like Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl made me happy... and that's saying something.
Profile Image for Brittany S..
1,497 reviews697 followers
April 3, 2015
Cute! It was more serious than I anticipated but I loved the messages and MS awareness too. I just seem to identify with Leavitt's characters in so many ways! Very fun read.

Review originally posted on The Book Addict's Guide 5/16/14: Being a huge fan of the first Lindsey Leavitt book I read, GOING VINTAGE, I knew I wanted to try an older title of hers and was anxious to start SEAN GRISWOLD’S HEAD. I probably would never have picked it up without having already read GOING VINTAGE because the cover isn’t exactly appealing… I mean, hi, that’s Sean Griswold’s head all right. (Although the new cover is much cuter!)

SEAN GRISWOLD’S HEAD, despite having a quirky title, felt a lot more serious than GOING VINTAGE for me. After Peyton finds out that her dad has MS and her parents withheld this information from her for months, she freezes them out, refusing to speak with them for a few solid weeks. They encourage her to go to the counselor at school and in order to help her focus on her anger and reel in her emotions, the counselor advises Payton to pick a “focus object”. Unable to come up with anything good, Payton decides to focus on the head in front of her in class who just happens to be Sean Griswold. Payton never really knew much about him but through her, erm… focusing, she begins to pick up details about his life that interest her and others that remain mysteries.

The first thing that really hit me about this book was that it was the first book I had ever read that revolved around MS. Hearing the news was scary for me as a reader because my fiancé’s best friend’s dad just passed away a few months ago after struggling very badly with MS for over twenty years (he was essentially completely paralyzed). I was very scared for Payton and her family and appreciated how hard it must have been to watch her father struggle with this and how scary it is to see someone you love going through those life-altering changes. As sad as it was, it was interesting to make that personal connection and I felt like I really related to Payton and her family that much more.

With Sean Griswold becoming her focus object, Payton becomes, well… obsessed. She essentially stalks him, trying not to be creepy, but the more she finds out about him, the more things don’t quite fall into place and she becomes obsessed with the mystery that is Sean Griswold, her best friend Jac helping out when she can! I really enjoyed the interactions between Payton and Sean, starting out incredibly awkward at first and slowly growing into a real friendship – and what would the book be without a romance? — growing into something more as well. I also spent the book reeling in curiosity and anticipation because you know at some point in time, it’s coming out that Payton has essentially been kind of stalking Sean, so I was wondering how that would all come to a point!

One of the things I loved the most about the book was that it was all about relationships. Payton struggles to maintain a good dynamic with her family because she’s furious with her parents and understandably, is afraid of what’s happening with her dad. She grows closer to her friend Jac, but they have their own tiffs as well. We also get to see Payton’s relationship start to develop with Sean, which is the most unexpected turn of events in Payton’s life in relationship department since she hadn’t really talked to him much before.

SEAN GRISWOLD’S HEAD was funny, moving, and had some really adorable moments. I absolutely loved the lessons we learn about relationships from this book and I really connected with the issues that Payton was going through. Definitely a little more serious than Leavitt’s later works (although I read them a little backwards since I hadn’t started with her oldest YA books first) but a really great read that I had a lot of fun reading and inhaled in one afternoon!
Profile Image for Lexie.
2,073 reviews297 followers
December 30, 2016
Contemporary fiction, whether it be young adult or mainstream, doesn't often interest me.  If there's not some sort of magic or supernatural element running amok I'll probably not be interested.  The blurb for SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD however had me hooked.  I can't pretend I went through something similar to what happened to Payton, both of my parents are rather healthy all things considered, but Leavitt crafted a novel that spoke to my fears as a teenager.

Getting into fights with a friend, that first crush that blossoms into more, trying to maintain some sort of balance...that's all stuff that's easy to relate to and feel for.  High school is hard enough without then finding out your father is fighting a serious disease (never mind her family felt a need to hide it from her for her 'own good').

Throughout SEAN GRISWOLD I would begin to feel heart broken for Payton.  Her slow decline from compulsively organized to angry, hurt and rebellious teenager is a gradual degradation.  After he initial anger wears off Payton lashes out at her parents in a way she knows (instinctively) will hurt them.  Its not malicious or cruel, she is merely trying to hurt them the way they hurt her.  I could understand her feelings, it was a crappy way to find out about a life-altering disease and an even crappier way to find out that even after fifteen years of being the straightest edge you can imagine, her parents still didn't feel like she could cope.

Maybe they were right, if nothing else Payton proves that she jumps to the worst conclusions as quickly as possible from the barest information.  Sean has headaches--ergo he must have a brain tumor or something equally horrific and life-threatening.  She hates not having control and if she admitted that she was terrified of what could happen to her father she lost the control she based her life around.

Following Payton and Sean's courtship was amusing and exasperating.  Payton, and her friend Jaq, do practically everything a teen girl does when she has a crush.  They follow Sean.  Analyze the smallest fragment of a conversation.  Engineer ways to see him more.  Reading about Payton's quest to know more about him was like reading about my teen years spent trying to find out more about my crush.  Her ups and near misses and embarrassing moments had my feelings all over the place while I alternated between rooting for her to talk to him and wanting to smack her up side the head for being dense.

At times the writing is a little shallow and glosses over things, mostly because this is from Payton's point of view and her story.  I wanted to know more about Sean and Grady's friendship/past...but that had little bearing on the present.  Its my hope that Leavitt chooses to explore Grady's life and Jaq's life in the future, they both faced issues that teens handle every day and would make a good counterpoint to Payton's tale (though I'll be honest, I want to read more about how Payton and Sean turn out!).

In the end this book made me laugh, cry, sigh dramatically and ponder just how drama-filled high school can get.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable read and just as importantly, I think it handled difficult subjects in a way that teens (or even non-teens) can understand and emphasize with
Profile Image for Kelsey.
466 reviews11 followers
March 13, 2011

Sean Griswold's Head was a delightfully heartwarming sophomore novel from Lindsey Leavitt that firmly secured her on my favorite authors list. After reading, and loving, her fun and sassy debut, Princess for Hire, last year, I've been dying to read more by Lindsey. Luckily, her first solid YA novel did not disappoint.

Payton Gritas was a main character that was easy to love. She was such a realistic teenager; funny, sweet, and at times naive and easily angered. Payton was well developed and readers got to truly understand her and what she was dealing with. And what exactly was Payton dealing with? Her family recently revealed that Payton's father was suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS). A frightening and painful disease that impacted not only her father but their entire family. It would be terrifying for any teenager to learn that their father was no longer the healthy and cheerful man they always knew. Suddenly Mr. Gritas was having trouble buttoning his shirts and even losing control of his bladder. Payton deals with it by ignoring her parents and the disease in hopes that it will just disappear. Unfortunately, as Payton will learn, this was not the right thing to do.

Her guidance counselor suggests Payton find a focus object and keep a journal about her focus object and thoughts in general. Payton selects Sean Griswold's head. Sean has sat in front of her for years and they've never really spoken before and now Payton can stare at the back of his head, unabashedly, through biology, all in the means of "research". As the novel progresses Payton and Sean become friends and Payton realizes she may indeed have feelings for him. Lindsey Leavitt developed Payton and Sean's relationship beautifully. I loved watching their friendship grow and seeing all the fun times they had together. Both of them were truly kind people and Sean was always there for Payton when times got hard for her.

The novel really allowed Payton to grow and change over the course of the story and learn a lot about both herself and those around her. She had to make some difficult choices and learn from some of her mistakes, but came out for the better in the end. Payton's family had a key role in the story, as did Sean, her best friend Jac, and some other secondary characters. Jac was one of the craziest and most fun friends ever, but sometimes she took things too far. The fact that Sean Griswold's Head didn't really focus on romance, but more the idea of how important it is to always be honest and true to your friends and family and support them no matter what, was one of my favorite things about the book.

There were a lot of intriguing sub-plots interwoven in the plot and the premise of this story was extremely original and well executed. I loved getting to know Payton, Sean, Jac, and the rest of the characters and reading about their ups and downs. Payton's focus journal entries were also included and were a fun and realistic touch. I'm eager to read the second Princess for Hire book releasing this year as well as any other works Lindsey Leavitt releases. I definitely recommend picking this up soon!

Overall: 4.75 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Stephanie (Stepping Out Of The Page).
465 reviews222 followers
June 17, 2012
I hadn't really heard much about this book before I actually picked it up - I haven't actually read any reviews for it yet and I wasn't all that sure what it was about. The book does have a fluorescent pink, in-your-face cover though - so guess why I picked it up? I'm really glad that I did decide to get this book though, as I really enjoyed it.

This story is narrated by Payton Gritas who has just discovered that her dad has multiple sclerosis (MS) and is trying to come to terms with it. She has been forced to visit the school counsellor for help, who gives her an aim of choosing a 'focus object' and putting all of her thoughts into that. After much deliberation, Payton decides that her perfect focus object is something that she has had to look at for most of her life - the head of the boy who sits in front of her in class, Sean Griswold's head. Yeah, I know what you're thinking - how random... but actually, it kind of works!

I think the real strength of this book lies in the characters - they are so vivid! Payton's personality really beams through the paper and although she isn't overly or particularly emotional, she is open throughout the book and you can tell what she's feeling not just through her narration, but through her actions and behaviour. I really loved her as a protagonist and I really warmed to everyone she met too. I didn't think that there were any poor characters in this novel, though the friendship issues between Payton and her best friend, Jac, seemed a little unrealistic and so a little annoying. There were definitely points where I wanted to put my hands through the pages and give some of the characters a good shake!

I absolutely adored Sean. As Payton extends her 'focus' exercise further, both we and Payton get to know more about Sean. He is not your popular high school jock and he is quite mysterious - we don't know much about him at the beginning. Sean is so caring and a little bit misunderstood. I think that a lot of you who read this book will really fall in love with him - he is extremely sweet and caring, with his heart definitely in the right place. Though neither Sean or Payton are perfect, they compliment each other superbly. It is great to see how their relationship helps them explore their lives in a way that is beneficial for them both.

Though there is a very serious underlying issue in this book - Payton coming to terms with her father's diagnosis of MS, the book isn't much of a tear jerker - it is emotionally poignant at just the right moments, but reading the book certainly doesn't depress you. There is a lot of humour throughout and the personalities of the characters are generally quite fun! I think it is fantastic when a book can deal with a serious issue, but also not get too bogged down by it. I would definitely recommend this book, and hope to see more people pick it up!
Profile Image for Amelia, free market Puritan.
349 reviews35 followers
August 10, 2017
I've noticed that with contemporary fiction novels, there seem to be two storytelling avenues:
1. light, fluffy, and kind of over-the-top humor-bordering-on-silliness

2. dead-serious, "issue-driven" and full of hardcore characters.

I was relieved to find out that Sean Griswold's Head didn't fit in either of these ends of the spectrum: it was funny, sweet and endearing. Sure, there were times when it seemed like the story was driven by the "issue" (the main character's dad suffers from a specific illness and the family has to come to terms with it), mainly because there were frequent parts in the book where paragraph-long information about the illness were written into the book, making it sound like a health pamphlet and (for me) throwing off the rhythm of the story.

Concerning characters: Payton is the kind of narrator that I think is such a winner. She has a sense of humor, but she's not flippant; she's practical and has a good head on her shoulders, but she still has vulnerable side...She was written very well. And I liked Sean's character too - as one reviewer said, he fit well into Payton's life, but he had an identity of his own, which meant that his entire existence didn't revolve around validating the main character. According to the synopsis, though, Sean is supposed to have "secrets of his own," and I will say that the revelations about Sean's character weren't as consequential as I expected them to be. Kind of like, "Ohh, that's how he got his scar? Okay..." And now a word on the designated best friend character: she was the only part of the book that I didn't like. I know that YA protagonists are supposed to have friends - we certainly don't want any desperate loners here - but a lot of "friend" characters are, I think, a little too "out there." Jac's personality was very overwhelming and just annoying. To be honest, I kind of liked it when she and Payton got in a fight :P. Anyway, Jac's also your stereotypical fashion-and-boy-centric high school girl, and I've always had a thing about characters like that. The only reason this isn't a 5-star review is because of a change-in-plot that happened about 2/3 of the way in, that really slowed down the book for me. I can't say what without being spoiler-y, but it's one of those stereotypical Girl says to Guy: "I've got to solve MY OWN problems MY SELF so you just need to wait a minute and I'll get back to you." *Cringe-worthy attitude*

Overall, Sean Griswold's Head was a funny, clever, well-written novel that I pretty much devoured. The "Seinfeld" references were such a win, and I liked how athletic the characters were. Random, I know, but I love athlete characters! So goal-oriented... I have a feeling you all will like it very much!
Profile Image for Stephanie.
1,773 reviews102 followers
April 5, 2011
Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt
Bloomsbury, 2011
274 pages
YA; Contemporary
5/5 stars

Source: Library

I probably wouldn't have read this if it weren't for the Contemps Challenge and if I hadn't read some other reviews that mentioned that the main character was actually female rather than Sean Griswold.

That main character is Payton Gritas, who upon discovering that her father has MS (multiple sclerosis) and that her family has been keeping that from her for about six months, and consequently she is rebelling. She gives her parents the silent treatment and her guidance counselor suggests that she choose a "Focus Object." After discarding several options, she chooses Sean Griswold, the boy who has sat in front of her for classes since third grade but to whom she's never given much thought.

Encouraged by her hilarious and outgoing best friend Jac, she starts by investigating Sean's head but she quickly befriends the boy himself, learning some important lessons along the way. One is about not judging people by their exterior. While Payton had written people off as being defined by one particular characteristic, Sean helps her to look beyond that. He also indirectly helps her let go a bit instead of being so tightly wound.

Sean himself is practically perfect. He's good looking and athletic (a biker who introduces Payton to the sport); he's a decent student; he loves his mother and is a good friend; he's funny, nice, gives good advice, and is forgiving. He likes "Seinfeld" and has memorized the episode numbers just like Payton has. He's the perfect first crush-how could anyone not like him?

Additionally this book also features a good family relationship. Although Payton is angry at her parents and two older brothers for not telling her earlier, there are still hints of the generally strong family unit they have. Food and traditions play a big role. It was nice to see a main character with good relationships with her parents, even if they are strained for much of the book by Payton's anger and fear.

Besides the friendship, the cute boy, and the family bonding, this book is hysterical. I laughed so many times from the way Payton phrased things and from her actions. Luckily I was mostly in my room so no one saw the weird girl laughing at her book.

Overall: A laugh-out-loud delight, touching on first love, family illness, and Seinfeld. Highly recommended!

Cover: I don't really like his sweatshirt and I feel like a whiteboard is more appropriate for school in in this day and age but I like it.
Profile Image for Arlenis Ralfsdóttir.
411 reviews40 followers
August 11, 2015
2015 Summer Reading Challenge: #14 Un libro de un autor que no hayas leído.
Lee esta reseña en Hojas de Otoño.

Pues es la primera vez que leo algo de Lindsey Leavitt, hace mucho que había descubierto este libro, me pareció que seria divertido. En estos d��as tenia como una especie de resaca literaria y no sabia que leer así que me fui por algo ligero. Quería algo que fuese juvenil, ligero, sencillo, sin mucho drama. Una historia que lograra distraerme. Este libro lo logró hasta cierto punto.

No fue pesado, fue divertido en ciertas partes, contenía drama pero no demasiado, ademas la forma de escribir y cómo fue llevando la historia la autora, le quita un poco de peso a todo el drama. Es una historia sencilla, sin muchas complicaciones, no tiene grandes giros. Es muy fácil y rápido de leer, aunque yo lo leía de a raticos. La verdad es que llega un punto en que el libro hasta te engancha.

Sin embargo, pienso que le falto cierta chispa, cierto toque, algún no se qué, para llegar a ser perfecto. Aunque puede que mi falta de interés por historia YA (lo cual he tenido últimamente, ya saben, la falta de interés) este influyendo en este punto.

La historia gira al rededor de Payton, una chica cualquiera que tiene una vida normal en la secundaria hasta que un día su mundo entero cambia, no solo en casa con su familia sino en el colegio con sus compañeros y amigos. Leavitt arma muy bien a los personajes, creo que de hecho al único que no le saco mucho provecho fue a Caleb, el hermano mayor de Payton, de resto todos (según yo) encajan perfectamente en la historia. Como dije, la escritura esta bastante bien, sencilla y todo con es. Sin embargo, algunas situaciones con los personajes me sacan de quicio. Como por ejemplo el empeño de Payton de molestarse con sus padres, lo ruda que puede ser con su "mejor amiga" Jac, quien a mi parecer le soportó demasiado o incluso su estúpida decisión con respecto a Sean. Como sea, supongo que iba en pro de la historia. Sean por su parte, aunque en algunos casos era lindo y todo aquello, no es mi tipo de chico. Muy bueno en todo, su único defecto eran sus dolores de cabeza.

De cualquier forma, creo que el libro sirve muy bien para asar un buen rato. Te ríes en ocasiones, distraes tu mente e incluso se te aprieta el corazón en algún momento.
Profile Image for MaryB.
841 reviews80 followers
April 5, 2011
I have another novel to add to my 2011 Favorites list: SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD. Lindsey Leavitt has a pitch-perfect teen voice in this funny, dramatic, sad, and completely awesome novel.

Uber-organized Payton Gritas's world falls apart the day she finds out her father has multiple sclerosis -- and that her entire family's known about it for the past six months but didn't tell her. To deal with it, she turns inward, unwilling to speak to anyone in her family about it and dealing with her anger in the only way she knows how. Her grades drop. The fabulous Executive Organizer (genuine leather!) sits unused. Her room goes from "anal-retentive neat freak" to "atomic bomb dropped here".

Her parents are desperate. If she isn't going to talk to them, she needs to talk to someone and that someone is the school guidance counselor, who suggests that she choose a focus object on which she can concentrate on and write about. The theory is that she'll eventually be able to work her way up to talking about her father's illness (as well as why her family didn't tell her about it right away, though that part's secondary). After brainstorming using a web, she chooses Sean Griswold's head, which has been in front of her (yay for alphabetical seating) for the past seven years. She just never noticed it.

I love-love-love how, as Payton gets to know Sean and his life, she slowly develops feelings for him as well as respect and admiration for the person he is. It's so different than many YA books, where the characters fall instantly in love and are bonded for life.

Payton is a wonderful character, deeply caring (despite her reaction to her father's illness) and supportive. You can feel the love in the family, the emotional toll the MS as well as Payton's response takes on them and how, even with no words between them, they love one another.

Payton's best friend, Jac (or Jaclyn, depending on the day), is a great foil for Payton. She's chipper, cheerful, determined to be her own person, and fun to be around. Payton, in turn, provides Jac with the love and stability she needs, since she's not getting it at home.

All in all, a fantastic story that, despite dealing with a very difficult topic, is fast-paced and fun. I highly recommend this book!
Profile Image for Lisa.
233 reviews
July 23, 2012
Book Cover: 4/5
The cover is just really cute, and it makes me what to see the front of his head! (Gahhh) But I also love how the chalk board has the circle chart, which Payton drew in one of her Focus Journals, and the little stick figure with his bike:D


My favorite has to be....Sean! His so sweet, and caring. When he first found out that Payton was keeping journals about him, he figured he was just a play toy; being used by her and her councilor. When Sean knows the truth, he just laughs it off. Sean understands everything Payton's going through, and his very considerate of that. Throughout the story he even helps her train so she can compete in a bike marathon for her dad's MS.

I'm glad to say that in this book I didn't really hate anybody. Yes I wanted to smack Jac (Payton's best friend) many times throughout the story. But she was just doing all of these (very) annoying things from the kindness of her heart. Jac just wanted to help Payton, but she was just a bit too pushy for me.

Storyline: 5/5
Being a freshmen in high school,and playing basketball, Payton's only worries were her grades. She has a best friend that can be annoying, but she loves her anyways. When Payton's mom tells her that, her dad as MS, shes devastated. Mainly because he has this disease, but also because her entire family has kept this a huge secret from her for the last 6 months!
After not speaking with her parents for a little over two weeks, her mom decides to send her to Payton's school councilor. The council (Ms. Callahan), suggested that she should find a focus object, something to get her mind off things that are going on at home (which just happens to be Sean Griswold's head!).
When Jac pushes Payton into talking to Sean, she soon feels this connection, always wanting to be around him, and wanting to talk to him even more. Building up the courage, Payton asks if he wants to go bike riding sometime, and he kindly agrees.Their relationship goes a lot farther and through a little bit of hardship, but to find out how it ends you'll just have to read it yourself(;

Ending Opinion: 5/5
They both have great chemistry, which kept made me really want to read more; before I knew it I ran out of pages:/
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