Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Love Song of Jonny Valentine: A Novel by Teddy Wayne

Megastar Jonny Valentine, eleven-year-old icon of bubblegum pop, knows that the fans don’t love him for who he is. The talented singer’s image, voice, and even hairdo have been relentlessly packaged—by his L.A. label and his hard-partying manager-mother, Jane—into bite-size pabulum. But within the marketing machine, somewhere, Jonny is still a vulnerable little boy, perplexed by his budding sexuality and his heartthrob status, dependent on Jane, and endlessly searching for his absent father in Internet fan sites, lonely emails, and the crowds of faceless fans.

Poignant, brilliant, and viciously funny, told through the eyes of one of the most unforgettable child narrators, this literary masterpiece explores with devastating insight and empathy the underbelly of success in 21st-century America. The Love Song of Jonny Valentine is a tour de force by a standout voice of his generation.

We know from media outlets that fame can't be good on children.  But the Love Song of Jonny Valentine takes the reader for a deeper look into the different layers that can affect a young child with celebrity status and all it encompasses.

Jonny is only eleven but he's a hot commodity.  While he enjoys what he does, it does impact his life.  He spends most of his free time playing a video game or studying.  His mom has substance abuse issues and he considers his best friend to be his agent - a man much older than him. He doesn't go to a public school and he tours alot so he doesn't have any real friends his own age.

So not only has Jonny had to mature mentally, quickly, but he's also dealing with puberty.  Puberty affects his image and his media team puts new ideas to the table to fix his image and fan base quickly.  Meanwhile, Jonny gets a rare moment with his mom's computer and finds an email that leads him to a journey to find his father.  

Superb writing, memorable characters and issues real to today - kids growing up too fast, society, media and more are just a few that are key elements to The Love Song of Jonny Valentine.  Told from Jonny's point of view - his life will strike a chord in you and not let go.  Highly recommend!

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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