Review: Sean Griswold’s Head

Payton is the kind of girl who has a soft spot for office supplies and a serious need for organization. She strives for order and perfection on the basketball court, at school, and at home. However, when Payton finds out that her father has been diagnosed with MS–and she’s the only family member who hasn’t been told–her perfectly planned world begins to crumble.

The severity of her father’s diagnosis hits Payton hard, but it is being left in the dark that causes her to lash out the most. Payton stops speaking to her family. She quits basketball, feeling guilty playing the sport her father taught her if he can no longer play himself. She withdraws from the people around her and loses interest in most of the things that were once important to her. As a result, Payton is required to start seeing her school therapist.

In her therapy sessions, Payton is asked to pick a focus object to write about in her journal. She struggles with what object she should choose until settling on the head of the boy whose sat in front of her in class for years — Sean Griswold’s head. Of course, it doesn’t take long before Payton becomes interested in much more than his head. Can Sean Griswold help Payton deal with her problems, or will her emotional attachment to her focus object just cause Payton more trouble and disorder?

Admittedly, I went into Sean Griswold’s Head expecting little more than a cute, fluffy romance. I hadn’t read anything by Lindsey Leavitt before, but Princess for Hire sure is pink. The cover of Sean Griswold’s Head was a lot more appealing to me, but I was still pleasantly stunned to discover that the book is considerably deeper than I anticipated. Sure, there is romance, but there is also a simultaneously witty and serious exploration of the impact of a parent’s illness on a teen girl. The book is both light and dark, and it is the balance of the two that made it such an enjoyable read.

I’m not one to degrade bubble gum lit. It has its place and I enjoy it from time to time, but I tend to prefer more thought-provoking contemporary fare, and was pleased to find that Sean Griswold’s Head fit nicely into that category. A cast of complex and likable characters and a narrator with a fabulously conversational tone both made this a book I hope to pick up and reread again and again.


2 Responses to "Review: Sean Griswold’s Head"

  • I hear ya – I like the more thought provoking reads myself. I totally had this one pegged as bubble gummy until reading your review. Thanks so much – I will add it to my roundup for next week 🙂

    -Linds, bibliophile brouhaha

    1 Linds @ Bibliophile Brouhaha said this (March 3, 2011 at 11:02 AM)

  • I keep seeing this book floating around, but I never really stopped and took the time to *look* at it. I would have thought what you did, that it wouldn’t have been too thought provoking, so I am glad to see that you thought it was and enjoyed it.

    2 Lindsi said this (March 3, 2011 at 5:26 PM)