Genre: YA Contemporary
# of pages: (ARC)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Sean Griswold's Head @ Parental Book Reviews
(Imagination-inspected 'Clean Read')
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.
Okay everybody: short and sweet and to the point, I loved this book! I was so glad to have the chance to read and review it, and I think it's one that you all will not want to miss!
I've noticed that with contemporary fiction novels, there seem to be two storytelling avenues: one being light, fluffy, and kind of over-the-top humor-bordering-on-silliness, and the other being 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.
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... So definitely check out Sean Griswold's Head. I have a feeling you all will like it very much!