Monday, February 4, 2013

Jen's Thoughts: Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

Published: March 1, 2011
Bloomsbury USA, hardcover, 288 pages
Source: purchased
GoodReads Summary: 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.
Someone please tell me why I waited so long to read Sean Griswold's Head. This book was fantastic. Completely blindsided me. From now on, I'm seriously going to listen to every recommendation given to me by trusted blogger friends. Looking at you, Tara.

So Peyton first won my heart when she expressed her love for buying a new planner. GUYS, I hug my planners, too. There really is no better feeling than mapping out your life on a calendar. Second, she makes so many lists. I found myself nodding and mouthing "hell yes" when she said "I can't use my new highlighting system on a computer screen. And there's something about crossing off a task with a nice ballpoint, you know?" THIS IS SO ME. Guys, I did this with a TBR book I had once. I had a highlighting system. Peyton has her quirks, yes, and she is frustrating at times throughout this book. But she's a girl after my own heart.

I was pleasantly surprised by the characterization in this book. It's so refreshing to read about characters with such depth that you think, "hey, these are my people." The family dynamic amongst the Gritases tugged at my heart. Peyton's dad's declining health. Peyton's overt avoidance to cope with all things out of her control. The combined struggles of a family whose lives are forever changed. These are real life problems presented in a real life way. Lindsey Leavitt, I adore you.

And Sean Griswold. What a character. This romance is adorable and realistic. Okay, perhaps the circumstances under which Sean and Peyton become a thing are a bit of a stretch, but everything else is so authentic that I don't care.

Needless to say, I've already finished Going Vintage--another Leavitt book--because I needed more lists and quirkiness in my reading schedule. (Guess what? They're all there. SUCCESS.) Lindsey Leavitt has rapidly become a new favorite author. Her writing style is like reading a note from your best friend who knows all your dirty secrets and shares banana & chocolate milkshakes with you at Steak & Shake. She's an auto-buy, forever and ever.


  1. What a lovely review! I'm a huge fan of Leavitt and I can't wait to check out Going Vintage since I adored this book and her Princess for Hire series so much. Her writing style just clicks for me!

  2. I loved this one so much! I can't wait to read Going Vintage too. :)

  3. Holy cow, I loved this book. When I finished it, I raved about it to my students and to the librarians and everyone I got to read it, loved it, too. There was something so precious about Sean and Peyton, so sweet. But not overly sweet so as to be blurg-ish. LOVED!

    And Going Vintage was just as adorable. Can't wait to talk more about that one.

  4. This one was a great book, and I'm really looking forward to Going Vintage. (I hate that it's "vintage," though, since I was born in the 60s.) I guess that means I'm "vintage".....

  5. "Her writing style is like reading a note from your best friend who knows all your dirty secrets and shares banana & chocolate milkshakes with you at Steak & Shake. She's an auto-buy, forever and ever."

    These last two sentences are enough reason for me to want to read this one. SOLD!

  6. So basically, you and are in COMPLETE agreement for why Payton is AMAZING! I need to get to Going Vintage! Great review Jen!

  7. I haven't fallen head over heels with her writing, but I do think that everything she writes is ADORBS and funny and sweet, and reading her books is like burrowing in a warm, soft blanket on a particularly brisk night. They make me feel good.

    How can you DO this to me? I ALREADY have enough to read!

  8. Haven't read this one bc it just didn't seem like my THANG but I have Going Vintage on my Nook!

  9. By coincidence I just bought this but was hesitant to start. You have changed that!

  10. 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.
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