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Extended Audio Sample The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, by Teddy Wayne Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (875 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Teddy Wayne Narrator: Kirby Heyborne Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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For fans of A Visit from the Goon Squad and Joyce Carol Oates’ Blonde, here is a scathing and enthralling new novel about America’s monstrous obsession with fame from the winner of a 2011 Whiting Writers’ Award.

Megastar Jonny Valentine, eleven-year-old icon of bubblegum pop, knows that the fans don’t love him for who he is. His image, his voice, and even his hairdo have been packaged—by his LA label and by his hard-partying manager-mother—into bite-size pieces for easy digestion, sliding down the gullet of mass culture, the biggest appeal to the widest demographic. But somewhere inside the relentless marketing machine is still a little boy, devoted to his mother and determined to find his absent father among the countless, faceless fans—isn’t there?

A twisted, brilliant, and viciously funny coming-of-age story set inside corporate arenas and luxury hotel suites, Teddy Wayne’s The Love Song of Jonny Valentine explores with devastating clarity the underbelly of fame in twenty-first-century America’s celebrity culture, told through the eyes of one of the most unforgettable child narrators since Holden Caulfield. This novel is a literary masterpiece from the award-winning and critically acclaimed author of Kapitoil—one of the standout writers of his generation.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In Jonny Valentine, Teddy Wayne has created a vivid and achingly authentic portrait of an adolescent prodigy trying to make sense of a world from which he’s been kept mostly separate. Wry, witty, and genuinely moving, this is a novel that delves into the private longings of a public figure, exposing the sometimes dark and often ridiculous inner workings of a life in show business. The Love Song of Jonny Valentine is absorbing and beautifully written—and also a ton of fun to read.”

    Aryn Kyle, New York Times bestselling author

  • “This is ultimately a satire with a heart, capturing the sadness, longing, and confusion beneath the celebrity veneer as Johnny tries to make sense of the confusing adult world around him and be loved in a way that has nothing to do with star-struck fans. A top-of-the-charts tale.”

    Library Journal

  • “Deft and delightful…touching (and unexpectedly suspenseful)A sweeter, softer-edged satire of the pop-culture carnival.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Heartbreakingly convincing.”

    People

  • The Love Song of Jonny Valentine is a showstopper.”

    Boston Globe

  • “I’d wanted to go slowly and read The Love Song of Jonny Valentine over the course of a week or two, but once Jonny’s voice got into my head, I was hooked and kept picking it back up, and so I ended up on the last page, reading that final, amazing sentence, at like three in the morning. This novel is a serious accomplishment…America as we know it, with laughs on every page, but also a book that doesn’t take one cheap shot…And at the swirling core, you have an eleven-year-old boy trapped by his fame and trying to figure out how to move through the world, and who wants nothing more than to find his father. This is a book with a runaway narrative engine, tremendous ambitions, and an even bigger heart. I do not lie when I tell you: Teddy Wayne is as good a young writer as we have.”

    Charles Bock, New York Times bestselling author

  • “What is most searing about Teddy Wayne’s splendid new novel is not his trenchant social criticism, nor the itchy, unsettling way that he makes tragedy entertaining, but that in the bubble of celebrity which comprises little Jonny Valentine’s whole world, at times the only differences between the savvy, drug-taking, lonely adults and the savvy, drug-taking, lonely kid himself are his outsized talent, and their avarice plus wrinkles.”

    Helen Schulman, New York Times bestselling author

  • “A moving, entertaining novel that is both poignant and pointed—a sweet, sad skewering of the celebrity industry…To create out of that entitled adolescent voice a being of true longing and depth, and then to make him such a devastating weapon of cultural criticism—these are feats of unlikely virtuosity, like covering Jimi Hendrix on a ukulele.”

    New York Times

  • “A buoyant, smart, searing portrait of our culture’s obsession with young pop stars. The book posits that his mom and the entertainment industry have enslaved Jonny—but that his fans and the media are complicit too. It’s also eerily prescient. After a night out drinking, Jonny drops in at a children’s hospital to rehab his image; in early January, after photos surfaced of Bieber allegedly smoking a joint, he visited a similar facility.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • The Love Song of Jonny Valentine is a novel of ferocious wit and surprising poignancy. Teddy Wayne has written a pitch-perfect anthem for our surreal American Dream, a power ballad for the twenty-first-century unhappy family, an epic ode to the fleeting glory of fame…Adored by his fans, enslaved by the music industry, Jonny Valentine navigates the high-stakes game of celebrity while secretly longing for the love of his missing dad. And we, in turn, long for him to hold on to his soulful spirit, his baby chub, his cri de coeur, his ‘major vulnerabilities.’ A deeply entertaining novel with humor and heart to spare.”

    Amber Dermont, New York Times bestselling author

  • The Love Song of Jonny Valentine takes us deep into the dark arts and even darker heart of mass-market celebrity, twenty-first-century version. In the near-pubescent hitmaker of the title, Teddy Wayne delivers a wild ride through the upper echelons of the entertainment machine as it ingests human beings at one end and spews out dollars at the other. Jonny’s like all the rest of us, he wants to love and be loved, and as this brilliant novel shows, that’s a dangerous way to be when you’re inside the machine.”

    Ben Fountain, New York Times bestselling author

  • “The real accomplishment is the unforgettable voice of Jonny. If this impressive novel, both entertaining and tragically insightful, were a song, it would have a Michael Jackson beat with Morrissey lyrics.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Provocative and bittersweet…Jonny is such an engaging, sympathetic character that his voice carries the novel.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Jonny’s voice is disarming and real…Wayne truly makes the most of his material and comes up with a book that is both entertaining and insightful…Includes one of the most complicated portrayals of the mother-son relationship since Room.”

    BookPage

  • One of the Bookpage Most Anticipated Book of 2013
  • Selected for the February 2013 Indie Next List
  • An 2013 Entertainment Weekly “Must Read”
  • A February 2013 BookPage Book of the Day
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A 2013 BookPage Best Book

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Danielle | 2/14/2014

    " The book followed the life of a Bieber-esque character who was likable for the most part, but I wavered between 2 and 3 stars because at times I did like this book but overall I was not too impressed. It was slow-moving and basically covered the same things chapter-per-chapter. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Ariana | 2/8/2014

    " I liked the beginning, and I liked the end, but there was a whole lot of stuff in between that I didn't like. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Carol | 1/29/2014

    " I found this delightful satire of our obsession with celebrities both amusing and sad. It is one of the ironies of our culture that so many prepubescents want to be famous yet those who make it often just want to have a normal childhood (think Michael Jackson). This almost-12-year-old is an overnight sensation thanks to a YouTube hit (think Justin Bieber)and makes it big with an overly controlling, drug and alcohol taking, messed up manager/mother calling the shots. He is too young to appreciate the risks of fame at this young age and confused by all the adults around him. We have seen many times before how these young celebrities are surrounded by adults and exposed to mature vices such as drinking, drugging, and carousing in clubs and then are supposedly shocked when they develop addictions while still in their teens. It was fun getting into the mind of this talented boy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Joanna Karaplis | 1/29/2014

    " This was a fun story about an eleven-year-old tween pop sensation, and what his life is like behind the scenes. At times, there are insights a bit too mature for an eleven-year-old (but hey, who knows what kind of stuff you'd think up if you had an adult career so early), but everything is expressed as a kid his age would. Funny, heartbreaking but not tragic, and an all-around good read about the cult of celebrity. "

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