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Synopsis from BN.com:
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.
In this sweet story of first love, Lindsey Leavitt seamlessly balances heartfelt family moments, spot-on sarcastic humor, and a budding young romance.
1) Characters: For the most part, I really enjoyed the characters. Payton was very witty and entertaining and her interactions with her best friend, Jac, were often amusing. My favorite part was reading Payton's "focus object assignments" regarding Sean Griswold's head. At the beginning she knew nothing about him, despite having went to school with him since they were very young, so those entries in her notebook were literally about what his head looked like (since that's all she really ever saw). Then, as she became more involved in her assignment, she began wanting to know more about the boy that has always sat in front of her, other than the color of his hair and that he smells nice, and so her notebook entries change but are still equally interesting. I did get annoyed with Payton on occasion, for how she acted towards her family. I understand why she was upset (you'll just have to read it to find out why!) and that she was having trouble coping with seeing her father's health deteriorate, but it irked me how she treated both of her parents. He was the one that was actually living with the disease and he was having to deal with constant hostility from her. Her friend Jac was also annoying at times due to her extreme personality. She liked to force Payton into doing things she didn't necessarily want to do, and usually just ended up doing whatever she wanted to do, despite anyone else's thoughts. My favorite character by far was Sean. He was so laid back and down-to-earth, very easy to connect with. He ended up being very sensible as well and the voice of reason for Payton at times. I think he balanced her out really well and that's why they were perfect for each other.
2) The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: First, The Good - I loved the way the book was set-up, with Payton's notebook entries popping up every so often. I think this gave us an even better look into what she was thinking and feeling and it was easy to see how she was changing as a person. The characters were well developed and, for the most part, easy to connect with. I also like how it brought attention to multiple sclerosis, which is a very serious, debilitating disease. It may even serve to help teens who have a parent that is sick to cope with their emotions. The Bad/The Ugly - As I said before, the characters did have some annoying moments, although it didn't detract from the story for me. I didn't really enjoy the ending as much as I was hoping to. On one hand, the amount of change you see in Payton throughout the book is amazing, and in that respect the ending works. However, as far as the relationship between Sean and Payton, the ending didn't really enthuse me. I know not all books can be tied up all nicely at the end with a neat little bow, but I just expected a little more from this one.
3) Relationship Sizzle Or Fizzle: I loved the interactions between Sean and Payton and thought they were really perfect for each other, so I'm going to say sizzle! They just seemed to "get" each other right away and had a lot in common. I think it's awesome that out of something tragic like her father's disease, she was able to find love, and through that was able to heal herself.
4) Uniqueness Of Plot: The plot was definitely refreshing, it was nice to read something that didn't give me a serious case of deja vu. The use of the journal entries and the unique way she ended up falling in love was all very different and I enjoyed reading about it!
5) Final Thoughts: Overall, this was a fantastic read. There was a lot of depth to the story, with Payton having to deal with many different issues and it was exciting to see how she was able to grow and heal throughout the book. While I did have a few issues with the characters and the ending, I'm glad I had the chance to read this book and would recommend that everyone check it out!
If you would like to know more about the author, Lindsey Leavitt, make sure you check out her webpage and Twitter.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Posted by Jamie Kline (Bookerella) at 9:18 AM