Grew Up... feeling like an outsider in his own family. Payton’s biological mother was a cocktail waitress who gave him up for adoption when he was a baby. Though he’s always been the favorite of his soft-spoken mother Georgina, Payton’s wealthy father and entitled twin brothers treat him like the black sheep of the Hobart family.
Living... with tons of wealth and privilege, in Santa Barbara, California.
Profession... high school student. Although, as Payton sees it, his time at Saint Sebastian High School is just one necessary step on his road to becoming President of the United States. It’s the dream he’s had since he was seven years old, and he’s mapped out every single step of his master plan to achieve it. As he puts it, “I’m merely stating a fact, I will be president someday.”
Interests... reading biographies of former presidents, singing, and watching Dr. Pimple Popper.
Relationship Status... it’s complicated. Though Payton is dating Alice Charles, their partnership is practical as much as romantic. They plan to make their way to the White House together. However, Payton is also drawn to handsome and popular classmate River Barkley—who just happens to be his opponent in the school election. River has a girlfriend, but his bond with Payton seems to be on a whole different level.
Challenge... becoming student body president and getting into Harvard. Those are the first steps on Payton’s road to the White House, and he and his team of likeminded classmates approach this election with the seriousness of running for high office. The race is made even more complicated when River tragically, shockingly kills himself. River’s girlfriend, Astrid Sloan, takes over his spot on the ticket, which means Payton’s team must shift their game plan on the fly. They enlist Infinity Jackson—a likable student with cancer—to be Payton’s running mate. When they learn that Infinity might be faking her illness, however, everything begins to spiral out of control.
Personality... tightly wound and incredibly driven. Payton is probably the most ambitious teenager you’ll ever meet. He has one sole purpose in life and he’ll micromanage every detail to make sure he gets it. Payton has a very analytical outlook on life and he struggles to get in touch with his own emotions. As he asks, “What if all I'll ever be able to do is pretend to feel?” Though Payton’s policy ideas are genuinely designed to help people, he’s haunted by the question of whether he’s actually a good person.
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