Author: Lindsey Leavitt
Release Date: March 2011
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Pages: 288 pages
Goodreads Rating: 4.33 stars
Review: Payton, a neurotic organizer, finds her life doing the exact thing she fears the most - spinning out of control. After all, she just found out that her entire family has been keeping a huge secret from her: her father has multiple sclerosis. To deal with this, her guidance counselor suggests that she find a focus object, except what Payton picks definitely isn't what she had in mind - Sean Griswold. Well, specifically, Sean Griswold's head. Sean has sat in front of her since third grade because of their last names (Gritas, Griswold), but she doesn't really know him. But when she starts to, she learns not only about him, but herself.
SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD is exactly what it sounds like: a cute, fun story of first love with some tougher, emotional problems thrown into the mix. The relationship between Payton and Sean developed gradually from Payton's stalking (what her best friend Jac termed "research"), to getting to know each other, and then finally to an adorable romance. I really liked how the pace wasn't too fast or too slow when it came to their love because it felt realistic and natural, far from the "love at first sight" that can get so tiring.
Of course, this book isn't all fluff and romance. Much deeper and darker issues are explored, what with Payton's father struggling with his illness. Payton could be selfish at times, but that was normal for a fifteen-year-old girl who can't stand to watch her dad transform from the strong man she'd always known to someone who relied on his wife for basic tasks. The growth she underwent throughout the book was perfect, and she ended up a stronger girl than she'd started.
This is a great read for anyone with an illness in the family, experiencing first love, or just wants a good book to relax to. SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD has a sweet romance, while still dealing with tougher issues. It balances the funny and light with the gritty and dark, and has both laugh-out-loud and tearing-up moments. While this may not stand too far out, its themes of love, family, and coming of age combine to make this a treasured book on my shelf.