Friday, March 11, 2011

Sean Griswold's Head ~ Lindsey Leavitt ARC review

Sean Griswold's Head
Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
March 1, 2011
288 pages

Fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas isn't talking to her family. Her dad has MS, multiple sclerosis, and while her parents felt it appropriate to tell her years older brothers, they all kept it from her. Until she found out by accident.

Hence her not talking to them.

Now she's been sent to the school guidance counselor, Ms Callahan, so that she will talk to someone and find
a way to deal with things.

Ms Callahan has an idea that Payton's parents probably never thought of when they called, though: a Focus Object. Payton's supposed to find something to focus her emotions on that will help her cope with her family's secret and her father's MS.

Thing is, it's supposed to be an inanimate object and Payton's picked Sean Griswold's head.

Griswold-Gritas. Alphabetically they're been seated together since elementary school so Payton's had a lot of time to stare at Sean Griswold's head.

Except, once she starts focusing on--or stalking Sean---and his head, she realizes she doesn't actually know very much about Sean, at all.

Soon, Sean's working his way into Payton's closely guarded life. And she's going to have to look at herself, to really deal with her feeling on her father's MS.

Sean Griswold's Head is what you should want every book you pick up to be. It's that amazingly perfect.

On one page, it has you grinning, a few pages later it squeezes your heart, and then, then it somehow does both at the same time. Very, very few books--if any, really--are able to do the touching sweet moments as well as the funny ones.

Sean Griswold's Head is somehow, also, a pitch-perfect story of first love while also telling of a story coping with a member who has multiple sclerosis. While each element is separate, they're also not. The love story is stronger because Payton's dealing with her family situation is part of it and her family and friends either directly or indirectly help her romance along.
I don't care if you for whatever reason don't like the summary of this book (either mine or the publishers) or are some reason unsure of it, please do read it!! I adore it.


(review copy sent thanks to Kate at Bloomsbury)

Lindsey Leavitt Author Interview:

Which of your characters do you think you would have been friends with in high school?
Jac. I had some Jac-ish friends growing up. Bless their hearts.

What about now?

Probably Grady, because I wouldn’t have gotten to know him in high school and now really like getting to know people beyond my social sphere.

Of the YA authors you know, which of you would be most likely
to substitute for a Princess? Would it be you? 
Me? Ha. I have three little girls. There are enough tiaras in my life, thanks.

The answer would be Rachel Hawkins, because she is southern, wears pearls without irony and is an admitted anglophile. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s stepping in for Kate Middleton right now.

You have been an elementary school teacher, now that you've written YA books, do you think you would enjoy teaching teens if you went back to teaching?
I like being around teens and teaching writing workshops, but I’m not down with the high school curriculum or paper grading or even being back in middle school or high school every day for work. Teaching elementary school was very time consuming, but it was a JOY. I loved those kids to pieces, and loved watching them grow. So I’d probably stick with the youngins.

Is there a 2011 (already released or upcoming) YA novel that you've read and really enjoyed?

Surely you don’t want me to pick one!

On the contemporary front, I loved THE DAY BEFORE by Lisa Schroeder. I read it on a long airplane ride and cried and the guy next to me offered his napkin with the blue and red southwest map. It amazes me how much emotion is packed in so few of words. And I just started RIVAL by Sarah Bennett-Wheeler and I’m really loving it—great details and authentic characters. I’ve heard it compared to Glee, and please. It rocks Glee’s jazz hands right off.
(I loved Rival,--my review)

Any book/writing news you can share?
Yep! The next book in the Princess for Hire series, THE ROYAL TREATMENT, will be out May 3.

And I just sold another YA contemporary called AUTHENTICALLY VINTAGE. I think it’ll be out early 2013

Thank you for the interview!!

Ends March 22 - Open to those with US mailing addresses, ages 13 and over
Enter using the form below (also here). One entry per person.
Winner will have 24 hours to reply to my email with their name and mailing address
EDIT: US, non-PO Box mailing addresses.

Made possible by Kate and Bloomsbury


  1. great interview this looks cute

  2. This was a good review -- thanks!

  3. This was a good review -- thanks!

  4. Enjoyed the review & interview. :) Thanks for the giveaway!

  5. I want to read this one so bad! It looks great and the more I hear about it, and the more interviews I read, the more I want it!

  6. I've seen this book around the blogosphere and have been wanting to read it. It's great when a book can be fun, heart-wrenching, and educational all at the same time.

    I can relate to Payton in that my family kept a scandal secret from only me. I wasn't happy about it either when I found out.

  7. @Liana
    Thank you!

    @Thanks :)

    Glad you liked it.

    You're welcome--thank you for the comment

    I hope you will read it! It's a great book.

    It really was all of that--such a great book.

    Sorry that your family kept a secret from you--but I do think you can relate to this book even more, then.

    Thank you all for the comments and entering! :)


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