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The Love Song of Jonny Valentine

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  2,748 Ratings  ·  465 Reviews
One of the most critically acclaimed books of the year, Whiting Award-winner Teddy Wayne’s second novel is “more than a scabrous sendup of American celebrity culture; it’s also a poignant portrait of one young artist’s coming of age” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)—and an enduring yet timely portrait of the American dream gone awry.

In his rave on the cover of The Ne
ebook, 304 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Free Press (first published February 4th 2013)
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Will Byrnes
Sep 14, 2016 Will Byrnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jonny Valentine is an almost-twelve-year old pop star. It does not take the character’s iconic haircut to let us know who the model for his character is. Jonny faces the problem that has daunted royalty, and state leaders forever. While he may have an outsized talent and while he may enjoy some perks beyond the reach of most of us, his actual life is rather pint-sized.

Jonny is managed by his mother, late of a job at Schnuck’s (yes, really) supermarket in Saint Louis, and determined never to ret
Meet Justin Bi... oops, I mean Jonny Valentine.

The Love Song of Jonny Valentine is a standalone, literary fiction novel written by Teddy Wayne. Jonny Valentine is an eleven-year-old pop star. He started out on YouTube, he has a signature hair style, a momanger, and a deadbeat dad. There's also some romantic photo ops with Hispanic celebrity peer Lisa Pinto. It was damned hard to read this without picturing the Biebs. That was the point though.

Mr. Wayne excelled at creating a voice that was effor
Derek Harmening
Feb 25, 2013 Derek Harmening rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was intrigued by this book after reading an interview with Teddy Wayne in The Millions. He made a great case for pop culture's place in postmodern literature. I'm a big fan of rejecting the notion that an author's work should be "timeless" and avoid making overt references to popular culture, lest it become dated and ultimately irrelevant. What Wayne argues, and what other pomo authors like David Foster Wallace have illustrated, is that the true realism IS what surrounds us every day: billboar ...more
Jan 15, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover are we? Too bad. Because as soon as I saw this all of my sparkle senses started going off. It's so shiny and shimmery! The cover was the first thing I loved about this book but it definitely wasn't the last.

Jonny's narration is spot-on. His innocence will make you smile and his cynicism will make your heart ache. He is surrounded by people who truly love him but those voices are drowned out by the fans, the marketing, the big machine that keeps hi
Jul 25, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eleven year old pop sensation Jonny Valentine knows that people love him. The singer’s voice, hairdo and image, carefully packaged together by his LA label and manager/mother are what they really love. But within this mass marketing machine, the real Jonny is hidden somewhere. This is the story of Jonny Valentine, a vulnerable boy perplexed but his budding sexuality, his celebrity heartthrob status, the tight control his mother has over him and his absent father.

This book has been on my radar fo
Randy Briggs
Feb 11, 2013 Randy Briggs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jonny Valentine is a Justin Beiber doppelganger, down to the overhyped hairdo. In the opening chapter of the book, Jonny asks his overbearing stage mom/manager (who he calls by her first name, Jane) for more sleeping pills because he's run out of the ones that she had given him before. Have I mentioned that he is eleven years old? Told by Jonny, this novel is an excoriating look at the seamy inside of the music industry. He constantly walks the tightrope between being a child and a developing ad ...more
Randi Reisfeld
Not sure who the audience is for this book. I read it b/c I was in that world as editorial director of 16 Magazine. I've seen, traveled with, interviewed and photographed many Jonny Valentines--and, significantly, their moms/managers -- "momagers." While this was a fairly accuarate (albeit exaggerated) peek into the "behind-the-scenes" world of say, Justin Beiber, the book left me cold. The narrator, 11-year-old pop star Jonny, sounds like a 30 year veteran of the "biz." He's a puppet of the (re ...more
Lisa Beaulieu
Mar 14, 2013 Lisa Beaulieu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! I was not going to read this, thinking it would be cloying if he pulled it off, to hear a long story in the voice of a 11 year old pop star, and thinking also there was no way he WOULD pull it off. Wrong on both counts. The 11 year old voice was perfect. I kept thinking about "Room" which I couldn't finish as I did find the child narrator voice cloying ... perhaps this works better because the child is older. But believe me, this kid is in a metaphorical room just as horrifying as the other ...more
Sep 26, 2014 Mish rated it really liked it
Recommended to Mish by: Michael Kitto
I was expecting to have some fun with this book, after reading the blurbs and a few reviews, it turned out I probably took it far too seriously then maybe I should. Jonny Valentine is an 11 year old child, taken away from an ordinary life and groomed into becoming a singing pop sensation and heartthrob. The book is written like a memoir and narrated by Jonny who give you an insight into his lifestyle and behind the scenes look into his US tour.

Jonny’s schedule is so full on that it’s too the poi
Sep 05, 2016 Cari rated it really liked it
3.5 rounded up. Felt this started a little flat but all of a sudden I was totally invested in the characters. Funny and clever and so much heart.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

My Summary: Being a kid on the verge of puberty is hard enough, but for Jonny Valentine it's only the tip of the iceberg.

Jonny is a pop star at the ripe old age of eleven. Having grown up in the spotlight, Jonny never got to experience things normal kids do. With every second of his life planned out, Jonny doesn't even have time for fun, let alone friends or school.

Sheltered by his psych
JoAnne Pulcino
Mar 03, 2013 JoAnne Pulcino rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction

Teddy Wayne

A touching novel told in the amazing voice of an eleven year old tweeny bopper super star. This coming of age or twisted coming of age tale offers us a peek into the life of an idol where the author addresses the nation’s obsession with fame and fortune, and its price.

Jonny Valentine’s controlling mother/manager, Jane, oversees Jonny’s entire life from his carb intake to his schooling and security. She regulates his wardrobe, his hairstyle, his soaring
Jonny Valentine is eleven (“almost twelve”) years old, a virtual overnight youtube sensation with a signature haircut that makes the girls swoon, and love song after love song. Jonny’s mother, Jane, has traded in her former job working at a dingy grocery store in a less than perfect dream-come-true neighborhood to be Jonny’s Mommager, umm, Manager. Jonny calls her Jane and he believes in her, he listens to her advice, even if he might grumble a bit now and then. Jonny’s dad is gone, gone so long ...more
Jun 08, 2013 Judith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fictional account of a Justin Beiber type pop star and it is absolutely captivating in its apparent authenticity. I have no idea what it's really like to be an insider on a cross-country tour of a pop-rock star, but this book, told from the perspective of the kid himself gives the illusion that you are right there with him. And why would that be interesting? Because his life is hard and luxurious at the same time. He is totally innocent and completely jaded. He is shockingly ignorant a ...more

Mothers, don't let your children grow up to be pop stars. Unless perhaps you can be their manager. Jonny Valentine is 11 going on 12. He is in the second year of mega-fame as a tween pop idol. Think Justin Bieber. His single mother, abandoned by his father when he was a toddler, is his manager. For an unreliable narrator, he is pretty savvy, but there are some things an 11-year-old boy just can't figure out.

I read the book because of my long and ambivalent relationship with the music business. I
The Song of Jonny Valentine is a book that I really wanted to like, so much so that I read over 200 of the 290 or so pages before giving up. I thought this story of a tween idol would be fun, enjoyable reading... Sadly, no.

Jonny is an 11-year-old pop star with an overbearing, over-drinking, and over-the-top mother as his manager. Other characters include Walter, Jonny's quietly comforting bodyguard; Nadine, his strict yet sweet tutor; Rog, his past-his-prime voice coach; and various other celebr
Apr 11, 2013 Shannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Instead of playing baseball and crushing on girls in his class, eleven year-old Jonny Valentine is in the middle of a cross country tour, promoting his new album. Jonny made a name for himself through YouTube and his career skyrocketed with help from pre-packaging by his record label and the constant supervision of his mother and manager, Jane. As his tour progresses, Jonny begins to search for answers to questions about his childhood, father, emerging sexuality and, eventually, his future.

Robert E.  Kennedy Library
If you’d told me I’d like a novel narrated by a Justin Bieberesque 11-year-old pop star, I would have called you nuts. But I found this tragicomic novel by Teddy Wayne, author of 2011′s Kapitoil, very affecting.

Off on a national tour managed by his party-hearty mother, Jonny the star (not to be confused with “the Jonny”, his trademark hairdo) is heading for a crisis. Furtively logging on to his mother’s computer to try to locate his absent father, worrying his market share in various demographic
Naomi V
Apr 18, 2013 Naomi V rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2013

eleven- (soon to be 12) year-old Jonny Valentine, pop star, narrates this story (complete with the poor grammar of kids his age.) he seems pretty self-possessed for an eleven year old who’s been kept apart from the ‘outside world’ for at least a year. outside of concert arenas, buses, hotel rooms, and the land of Zenon. he knows a bit about singing, a bit about merch, and demo. he talks a good game, but he’s only a kid. his mother, who he calls ‘Jane,’ not ‘Mom,’ is a ball-breaker who controls h
John Luiz
As the father of two girls who had to suffer through Jonas Brothers and One Direction concerts during their tween years, I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend time reading a novel with a Justin Bieber-like character at its center. Once I read the sample first chapter, though, the quality of Teddy Wayne’s writing convinced me to give it a try. I’m glad I did – this is one of the best novels I’ve read all year. It does what you might expect it would – showing how much everyone involved in promoting and ...more
Jun 13, 2014 'Manda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, first-reads
To give a brief summary before I start my review, this book details a few months in the life of an eleven year old pop star. He deals with many problems that you can imagine a tween pop star would deal with (the lack of a real childhood, for one.)
This review may contain a few small spoilers, but I'll try to keep it mostly clean of them.

Overall, this is a fairly good novel. I love most how the author, Teddy Wayne, shows how Jonny Valentine, the eleven year old pop star, has grown up and matured b
Book Him Danno
The modern appetite for news and information has gotten out of control. Every bus crash, windstorm, and flu outbreak is available to us in an instant through the internet. When everything becomes instant news, then the flow of information coming to us can never end. The side effect of this is all aspects of someone’s life, no matter how remotely famous, becomes open to the public. Discover three kidnapped women and the next day we all have access to your previous arrest records; and you were the ...more
Feb 03, 2013 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Jonny Valentine is an 11-year old pop star on a tour that is scheduled to end in a few months on Valentine's Day at Madison Square Garden. The boy is very talented, but talent alone doesn't make it in the music business. His mother, Jane, is also his manager and juggles controlling every aspect of his career and life. I picked up the book because it has a very pretty, shiny cover and would have put it right back down after reading the premise had it not been a work assignment. What a pleasant su ...more
Mary Gramlich
Feb 03, 2013 Mary Gramlich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where do you go when you are too far away from home to return?

Jonny Valentine is an eleven-year-old child prodigy with the voice of an angel and a mother who managed to capture his talent and run with it all the way to the bank. This does not make Jane mother of the year but her ability to tap into a market ripe with cash flow is her brilliance and control her mantra.

There are chefs, bodyguards, and more entourage than Jonny could have ever imagined possible when he started out and still cannot
In Teddy Wayne’s latest novel, readers join up with an 11-year old pop star as he criss-crosses the country on a concert tour. Yes, as everyone has noted, this Jonny Valentine kid is Bieber-esque if not actually Justin Bieber himself. We see resemblances to him everywhere, down to Jonny’s similar discovery on YouTube. So Teddy Wayne is purposefully and obviously taking the Bieb’s real life story and drilling down deeper to examine the concept of celebrity. Like a gem, he’s putting it under a lig ...more
Jun 09, 2013 Virginia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jonny Valentine is a teenage crooner whose prepubescence unfolds as a media spectacle, as a virtual commodity shaped (down to his signature Bieber-ian coif, "the Jonny"), by his Botoxed mother-manager Jane, and the pop music industry. Teddy Wayne's fun if flawed follow-up to Kapitol provides a unique vantage into celebrity culture's exploiting of child stars: first, Jonny rarely mentions money or fame (ostensibly why most entertainment moguls enter into a Faustian bargain with the devil, w/ the ...more
Feb 18, 2013 Grant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 11, 2013 Seija rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Teddy Wayne's foray into the soul-demolishing meat grinder of fame, reality TV, and pop superstardom is not exactly redemptive, but it is an excellent way to start a conversation about this seemingly ubiquitous aspect of our culture. It reminded me a bit of "Platform" by Michel Houellebecq, not only because of the prostitution angle (Jonny Valentine, age 11, is sexualized for the sole purpose of making his mother and record label money... it may not be literal prostitution, but there's a reason ...more
Nov 15, 2012 Autumn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was the funniest and at the same time the saddest book I've read this year. It made me really sad for child pop stars. However, Teddy Wayne did a brilliant job presenting such an awful lifestyle in a humorous way.

You could take out the name Jonny Valentine and stick in Justin Beiber and you'd probably have a fairly accurate picture. Jonny Valentine was discovered from YouTube videos and went from nobody to superstar in like a month. His overly controlling mother/manager has every aspec
Jun 12, 2013 Joel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
We live in a strange world. Celebrity has grown from a byproduct of accomplishment to an end in and of itself, and the upshot of it is a culture that is increasingly obsessed with itself and with its own image. We create viral superstars--cats with angry faces, news bystanders with catchy phrasing, children caught on tape being children--and then we discard them without a thought. We obsessively follow traditional celebrities--to confirm that they're just like us, that we could be living their l ...more
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Critical Era: The Love Song of Jonny Valentine gets the Kirkus Star! 1 15 Feb 26, 2013 07:38AM  
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Teddy Wayne is the author of the novels "The Love Song of Jonny Valentine" (Free Press, Feb. 2013) and "Kapitoil" (Harper Perennial) and is the recipient of a 2011 Whiting Writers' Award, an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship, the 2011 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize runner-up, and a finalist for the 2011 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award finalist and the 2011 Dayton Literary Peace Prize. ...more
More about Teddy Wayne...

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“It’s super-important to have a strong social media presence, and Jane’s always going, When interviewers ask you about your Twitter, say you love reaching out directly to your fans, and I’m like, I don’t even know how to use Twitter or what the password is because you disabled my laptop’s wireless and only let me go on the Internet to do homework research or email Nadine assignments, and she says, I’m doing you a big favor, it’s for nobodies who want to pretend like they’re famous and for self-promoting hacks without PR machines, and adults act like teenagers passing notes and everyone’s IQ drops thirty points on it.” 4 likes
“Sometimes the guys who look the most normal are the biggest pervs of all.” 0 likes
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