Nothing creates a buzz like an Executive Deluxe day planner. Nt that I have much experience with buzzes, especially of the chemical variety, but my brother did double-dose me on NyQuil once when I was eleven. That thirty or so minutes of faint inebriation had nothing on this feeling. Pure, organised bliss.
Payton has always had good grades and has always planned everything down to its last possible outcome. She has to be organised has to know what is coming. So when she finds out her father is ill and she’s been kept in the dark for six months she freaks out. Things aren’t being carried out with the organised structure she is used to and she’s not impressed with her parents. She stops talking to them, confiding in only her best friend Jac and concentrating only on Sean Griswold’s head, which due to the alphabetical nature of classes, she has been staring at forever. Maybe concentrating on his head will give her answers, maybe Sean will help her understand everything, or maybe it’s just that his oversized head takes her thoughts away from all the bad stuff that’s happening.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Sean Griswold’s Head. I thought it would be a light hearted romance that didn’t really have much depth and that Payton’s dads illness would take a backseat but that wasn’t what happened at all and I was really impressed with what I did get.
I loved that Sean only caught Payton’s notice because she needed something to concentrate on. She’d always looked at his head but it was more looking passed his head whilst she tried to see the teacher or the front of the class. I liked that Sean gave her something else to focus on and how he became a coping mechanism for her but I did feel a bit sorry for both of them at the beginning as Payton obviously was trying to ignore her real problems and she was kinda using Sean. As the book went on and her dad got a bit worse it all got more difficult for Payton to cope with but the book is more about how she deals with the illness rather than it actually happening to her dad.
The characters were interesting in Sean Griswold’s head but to be honest, they are what let the book down for me. Payton was selfish and immature and that didn’t seem to mesh with the girl we are first introduced to. I think the contrast was there so the reader could tell that this way of living wasn’t the real Payton and I think that worked but she was a bit too self absorbed for my liking sometimes. Jac was ok as far as best friends go but she annoyed me too, she was far too over the top and I was not surprised with what happened. Sean was probably the only nice character out of the younger ones and I felt that he could definitely be good for Payton if only she let him. I was impressed with his ambition and he obviously saw the good in people, even those it was hard to see it in. The teacher, counsellor and Payton’s parents are the main adults within the book and all of them were quite well developed. I like that the adults were flawed as that’s something that isn’t always considered in YA lit, most of all they had flaws that taught the kids something in what I considered was a subtle way. I liked the storyline with Payton’s teacher most as it helped Jac and Payton see life in a different way.
I really enjoyed Sean Griswold’s Head and how it mixed first romance with family issues, illnesses and dealing with life. I think it’s almost coming of age for Payton and I know that she came out as a changed person at the end of it. I would recommend this for a younger reader who is looking for a book with a bit more depth than an average contemporary romance.
Sean Griswold’s Head was published in July 2011 by Scholastic. My copy was won via Chicklish.
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