Sean Griswold's Head

( 44 )

Overview

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. ...

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Sean Griswold's Head

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A chronic worrier, high school freshman Payton Gritas has just had a massive wrench thrown into her hyperorganized life: for six months her family has kept her father's multiple sclerosis diagnosis a secret from her. The school guidance counselor asks Payton to keep a journal about a "Focus Object" of her choosing, and she picks Sean Griswold's head, since he has sat in front of her in class for years. The drama begins when her boy-crazy best friend, Jac, decides that they should research Sean—and then starts playing matchmaker. Payton soon falls for sensitive Sean and begins to share his passion for cycling, but between her father's illness, her declining grades, and her faltering friendship with Jac, she isn't sure that she can let someone new into her life. Leavitt (the Princess for Hire series) delicately handles topics of illness, evolving relationships, and what it means to grow up. Payton's alternately sarcastic, snappy, and reflective narration ("The truth, I know, is that it's not my dad I'm really mad at. I'm mad at his disease") carries this insightful story. Ages 12–up. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
“In a rather impressive feat, Leavitt manages to take a painful family crisis and make one girl’s reaction to it genuinely guffaw-worthy, even adding a bit of romance for kicks. With her self-deprecating wit and nearly OCD organizational skills, Payton is positively endearing. Leavitt capably handles the issues of chronic illness with sensitivity, making this an insightful, humorous, and ultimately uplifting family drama.” —BCCB

“Payton is likable and the writing brisk and amusing…Complex, significant issues are raised.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A balanced proportion of comedy and gravity... refreshing and realistic without being overwrought with angst.” —School Library Journal

 

“Leavitt tucks in lines like 'I don’t do spandex. The devil wears spandex. And I doubt the devil’s butt is as big as mine' while bringing her protagonist around to acceptance and repaired relationships... the formula is tried-and-true.” —Booklist

VOYA - Debbie Wenk
Payton is dealt two devastating blows at once—her father has multiple sclerosis (MS), and the rest of the family has known for six months. A sophomore in high school, she is a star basketball player and an academic success. She quits the team and lets her grades slide in response to these revelations. Her counselor tells her to find a focus object and write about it in a journal as a means to open up about something—anything—until Payton is ready to talk about her dad. She eventually chooses the head of the boy who sits in front of her, hence the title. Sean Griswold and Payton Gritas have been linked alphabetically since fourth grade, but she discovers that she knows little about him. With the help of her overzealous best friend, Payton begins to learn more about him and likes what she is learning. Meanwhile, she continues to struggle with the news of her father's MS and the family's exclusion of her. Reviewer: Debbie Wenk
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—When 15-year-old Payton Gritas gives her family the silent treatment for withholding her father's MS diagnosis for six months, her parents request the aid of their daughter's guidance counselor, who assigns a focus object exercise. Payton chooses Sean Griswold's head because she and Sean have been linked by last name proximity since the third grade. Soon, with the help of her boy-crazy friend Jac, Payton gets to know Sean Griswold the person and the head. Interpersonal conflicts abound as the teen chooses to focus on avoidance rather than confronting the fear she is experiencing. In a balanced proportion of comedy and gravity, she comes to terms with her father's illness, deals with conflicts she has created with Jac, and eventually opens up her heart to a little romance. While the path that Leavitt paves for her protagonist is somewhat predictable, the likable characters will have girls gravitating toward the novel. Though the book takes a light look at a teenager coming to grips with a parent's serious illness, it is refreshing and realistic without being overwrought with angst.—Adrienne L. Strock, Maricopa County Library District, AZ
Kirkus Reviews - Kikus Reviews
Payton Gritas' world is turned upside down when she discovers her father has multiple sclerosis and that her parents and older brothers have kept the news from her for six months. Devastated, Payton is referred to the school counselor, who, within seconds of meeting her, instructs Payton to select a subject to focus on, other than her father's illness, and record her observations in a journal. Neither the therapeutic relationship nor the assignment makes much sense, but they get the plot rolling. Payton's random choice of "focus object" is the head of Sean Griswold, the boy seated ahead of her in biology. Egged on by her best friend, Jac, Payton researches Sean, and her attention evolves into a mutual attraction. Payton is likable and the writing brisk and amusing, but this offering from the author of Princess for Hire (2010), encumbered by too-visible plot contrivances, fails to convince. Complex, significant issues are raised but then accorded frustratingly superficial treatment. Payton's life and affluent lifestyle are barely affected by her father's illness; the biggest impact is cancellation of a family spring-break getaway to Florida. While she learns a few lessons about denial and selfishness in the abstract, she's protected from having to put them in practice. (Fiction. 12 & up)
Kirkus Reviews
Payton Gritas' world is turned upside down when she discovers her father has multiple sclerosis and that her parents and older brothers have kept the news from her for six months. Devastated, Payton is referred to the school counselor, who, within seconds of meeting her, instructs Payton to select a subject to focus on, other than her father's illness, and record her observations in a journal. Neither the therapeutic relationship nor the assignment makes much sense, but they get the plot rolling. Payton's random choice of "focus object" is the head of Sean Griswold, the boy seated ahead of her in biology. Egged on by her best friend, Jac, Payton researches Sean, and her attention evolves into a mutual attraction. Payton is likable and the writing brisk and amusing, but this offering from the author of Princess for Hire (2010), encumbered by too-visible plot contrivances, fails to convince. Complex, significant issues are raised but then accorded frustratingly superficial treatment. Payton's life and affluent lifestyle are barely affected by her father's illness; the biggest impact is cancellation of a family spring-break getaway to Florida. While she learns a few lessons about denial and selfishness in the abstract, she's protected from having to put them in practice. (Fiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599909110
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 630,671
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Lindsey Leavitt

LINDSEY LEAVITT is a former elementary school teacher. She married her high-school lab partner and now lives in Nevada with her husband and three little girls. She is also the author of Princess for Hire.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 44 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(27)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 44 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Bittersweet

    After reading Lindsey Leavitt's bubbly and sparkly Princess for Hire last year, I was eager to read more by her. Thankfully enough Sean Griswold's Head is the perfect sophomore attempt by her, because not only is it sweet and adorable, but it has just the perfect amount of realism to have any fan of contemporary YA begging for more.

    Sean Griswold's Head tells the story of Payton Gritas, the star student, friend, and basketball player- she truly is the girl who manages to have it all together repeatedly. That is until she finds out not only that her dad has MS, a crippling and scary disease, but her family has been hiding it from her for the past six months. Payton does not know what to do. Should she be mad at her family for hiding it from her and pretending everything was normal, or should she just go back to living her normal life? Payton picks the first, and after a few weeks of silence to both her parents and brothers, she ends up in the guidance consoler's office, forced to pick a focus object to focus her emotions on. Surprisingly enough, she picks Sean Griswold, or more exactly his head, but as she begins to learn more about Sean, the more she wants to know him, and with the help of her best friend, Sean and she end up being sort-of-friends and maybe even more... However, what happens when Sean learns about her focus object? Will she loose him once and for all? In addition, why is her best friend acting so strangely lately? Better yet, will she ever mend her problems with her family? Only time and more pages will tell in this fun, fast-paced tale of one girl's path to growing up and dealing with life's many problems and complications.

    One of the things I always love most about Lindsey Leavitt's books is that she always has such fun and relatable main characters, and Payton Gritas was no different of course. Payton is a girl who I clicked with automatically, as I am sure many others will, because not only is Payton bubbly and witty but most importantly she is real. For one, her feelings and confusion over her dad's disease will ring true to anyone who has ever been through a similar situation, and secondly, her attempts at first love will have readers laughing as well as reminiscing about why they did to get their first boyfriend. Adding to this, I enjoyed the detail Lindsey put in the relationships between not only Payton and Sean but also Payton and her father because both added yet another fantastic touch of realism to the story.

    Another aspect I adored about this book was the premise and thankfully enough the execution of the idea was even better. I loved the idea of a focus object because it leads to so many great moments involving Sean and Payton as well as biking surprisingly enough. Better yet, Sean Griswold's Head even surprised me at times with several twists and turns the story took.

    Lastly, Lindsey Leavitt's writing improved greatly in this book because not only did she create such a well-spun story, but also her characters managed to jump of the page and come to life within the first chapter and throughout the rest of the book.

    Full of wit, fun, and aw-worthy moments, Sean Griswold's Head as well as its author are sure to become new favorites among readers of YA fiction!

    Grade: B+

    18 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    Luved it!!

    I was hooked from start to finish! Both characters are so likeable and realistic. I luved the end and the bike ride with her, sean, her friend, and his cousin and friend. Totaly recomend this book to anyone!

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2012

    Awesome"

    I love her books, and i cant wait to read the last in the princess for hire books. A+ lindasy

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 18, 2011

    omg

    this booknwas amazing! it was so good i loved it. 5 stars easy. on a scale of 1-10 this book is a 100000! i would recomend this to anyone sho likes romance, angst, or even crazy best friends.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2012

    BookLover

    Is it for a pre teen or older?
    Please respond to booklover

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2012

    Great!

    It was a good book. I would recommend it for any teenage girl.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2013

    Awwwww

    This book looks sweet. I love the cover. I think it looks so romantic. Theres all of these books with images of people kissing, but i like this one because he is just kissing her forehead and it looks so sweet. The title is funny. It really caught my eye.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    Wonderful, unique story!

    For the most part, I really enjoyed the characters. Payton was very witty and entertaining and her interactions with her best friend, Jac, were often amusing. My favorite part was reading Payton's "focus object assignments" regarding Sean Griswold's head. At the beginning she knew nothing about him, despite having went to school with him since they were very young, so those entries in her notebook were literally about what his head looked like (since that's all she really ever saw). Then, as she became more involved in her assignment, she began wanting to know more about the boy that has always sat in front of her, other than the color of his hair and that he smells nice, and so her notebook entries change but are still equally interesting. I did get annoyed with Payton on occasion, for how she acted towards her family. I understand why she was upset (you'll just have to read it to find out why!) and that she was having trouble coping with seeing her father's health deteriorate, but it irked me how she treated both of her parents. He was the one that was actually living with the disease and he was having to deal with constant hostility from her. Her friend Jac was also annoying at times due to her extreme personality. She liked to force Payton into doing things she didn't necessarily want to do, and usually just ended up doing whatever she wanted to do, despite anyone else's thoughts. My favorite character by far was Sean. He was so laid back and down-to-earth, very easy to connect with. He ended up being very sensible as well and the voice of reason for Payton at times. I think he balanced her out really well and that's why they were perfect for each other. I loved the interactions between Sean and Payton.They just seemed to "get" each other right away and had a lot in common. I think it's awesome that out of something tragic like her father's disease, she was able to find love, and through that was able to heal herself. The plot was definitely refreshing, it was nice to read something that didn't give me a serious case of deja vu. The use of the journal entries and the unique way she ended up falling in love was all very different and I enjoyed reading about it! Overall, this was a fantastic read. There was a lot of depth to the story, with Payton having to deal with many different issues and it was exciting to see how she was able to grow and heal throughout the book. While I did have a few issues with the characters and the ending, I'm glad I had the chance to read this book and would recommend that everyone check it out!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2011

    Loved this one.

    This was a delightful book. It had it all. Everything from family conflict and drama, to friendship and first love. Leavitt is a wonderful new voice in YA contemporary. She handles a sensitive topic with humor and compassion. I felt Payton's pain, as well as her parents. And I think I now have a bit of a crush on Sean. A must read.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2011

    Must Read Contemporary

    heartwarming and heartwrenching. This is the freshest, funniest contemporary YA novel I've read in a long time. Clean enough to share with older tweens. Highly Recommend.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2013

    Funny premise, but the characters didn't connect with me.

    Firstly though, the loved the premise, realizing you've spent years looking at the back of someone's head and never really thought about them, or who they were as a person, was pretty good, because it's happened to all of us.

    I found, I didn't relate to Payton's character that well, though that does not mean in any way her character is not well written, I know people like her. I think I got a little too frustrated by Peyton's inability to deal with some of her feelings. Though, I really liked how, when she saw some of her Father's weaknesses, she had dark, unkind feelings, and was left wondering, what kind of monster am I? Because I've definitely had those traitorous feelings in similar situations, and it's not something that's explored that often.

    The character of Sean seemed a little too "nice-guy" or rather he was a lot more mature then a lot of guys I encountered when I was a teenager. Even the nice ones.

    I read that the author is a teacher, and I think that shows through, in that she seemed to be able to get into the mind of a teenager, and some of the drama and issues that they have.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2013

    So good!!

    I loved everything about this book! I love how she starts off knowing nothing about sean, but ends up falling for him. I finished the book in about 4 hours and I want to read it again! Definitely worth buying! One of the best books I've ever read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2012

    Funny & cute read

    This was a great book! It was funny all the way through. I loved paytons friendship between her and jac. And her relationship with sean is really cute and her dad was really sweet too. I sorta wanted to ring the main charcters neck sometimes, but it was perfect for the story. Hope anyone who buys this book enjoys it :-)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2010

    Loved it.

    Poignant, quirky and funny, this is a beautiful book about everyday people. The characters stayed with me long after I finished, and I loved Payton's neurotic notes.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2014

    Ethan's face

    Is sooo cute. He is soo nice and funny and not so perfect, but that's what I like about him.

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  • Posted November 12, 2013

     Payton Gritas needs a focus object.  So, she decides to go with

     Payton Gritas needs a focus object.  So, she decides to go with something that has always been right in front of her, Sean Griswold's head (in alphabetical order, Griswold has always come after Gritas.) See, Payton used to have everything together, that is until her dad was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. 




      Payton is a great character and so is Sean.  The chemistry that the two have together is wonderful, and the story is well written and enjoyable. This was one that I really enjoyed and I'm looking forward to reading more by Lindsey Leavitt. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2013

    Loooooved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It was soooooo good i totally fell in love with Sean he was super cool but also a closet nerd i though it was hilarious how he knew the episode number to seinfield i also laughed at the PFEs and the guidence counslor i cracked up through out the entire book i have a best friend who is exactly like Jac i highly recomend this book for 12 and older or whatever i think this is an amaazing story i think every girl who reads this will eenjoy it in thier own way btw i thought the ending was a little rush oh yeah and i cracked up when payton mention Grady the first time when he nibbled on her shoulder i swear i could not stop laughing i got a kick out of this book i highly reccomend it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2013

    ????

    Hey i have the book from the library and the cover is different yet they r the same book?????????

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    Coolio

    My friend has this book!!! The front looks like her and her ex........who she still likes!!! Crazy,write!? Anyways she said she said she loved it!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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