Payton Gritas likes everything just so-she even color-codes the pages of her school planner. But her perfectly organized life falls apart when she learns that her father has MS-and that her parents have been keeping it a secret. Payton refuses to speak to her parents about the illness and lands herself in the school guidance office where she’s encouraged to choose a personal focus exercise to help her deal with her feelings. It’s a completely ridiculous exercise, but Payton decides to try it.
For her focus object, she chooses Sean Griswold’s head. Sean and Payton have been linked since kindergarten (Gritas/Griswold-it’s an alphabetical order thing) but she’s never really known him. The more Payton focuses on his head, the more Payton becomes intrigued with Sean Griswold. Sean is training for a bike race, shares Payton’s Seinfeld obsession, and seems to have a secret or two of his own. As their relationship develops, Payton realizes that it actually helps to focus on something else for awhile-especially something like Sean Griswold. But focusing on Sean won’t fix her battered relationship with her father. For that, Payton has to focus on herself. (via Goodreads)
A lot of things about this book really surprised me. I expected to enjoy reading it, but I didn’t think I’d feel so connected to the story! It definitely exceeded my expectations.
Payton is a fantastic MC, she has a lot of personality and a lot of snark. I loved her, in fact, I wish this had been created as a series so we could have more of her! The story between her and her dad felt so real and so emotional – the writing really draws you in and the plot was dead on. I think her reaction was completely realistic. She acted out, her life fell apart, and she didn’t know what to do with her emotions. The fact that I could completely see myself reacting in the same ways she did made me feel so much more emotionally connected to what she was going through.
This is kind of a side note, but I think another reason I liked Payton so much was her OCDish tendencies. The way she loved organizers so much and had to have things just so reminded me of my mama. I started picturing my mom as a teenager and standing in a store rhapsodizing over buying a planner and I cracked up. So, I loved Payton from the very first scene from that alone.
As for Sean Griswold…I wasn’t sure about him in the beginning. But as we got to know him better, that changed quickly. What a sweetheart he was! The way he was so open to Payton and not scared away by the fact she was dealing with things was so refreshing in a teenage boy, and the way Lindsey Leavitt constructed his entire personality made it believable instead of just *snort*. yeah. that’s realistic.
I 100% recommend reading this book if you’re a fan of contemporary young adult. The story and the characters are both written so well and it is really easy to become emotionally involved in Payton’s story. I don’t know if I’ve stressed this enough, but the book was also hilarious. I am really looking forward to more of Lindsey’s books to see if all her characters have such fun personalities!
Thanks to Bloomsbury, I am giving away a copy of the book! Unfortunately, it is open to US only (sorry guys!). To enter, just fill out the form and I’ll contact the winner on March 26th.