In Teddy Wayne’s 2013 book The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, the protagonist is an 11-year-old pop star with a great range, a love of Michael Jackson, a manager named Jane, and an entourage. He’s the head of a multimillion-dollar corporation that involves singing songs about true love to tween girls every night — and he’s also the loneliest boy in the world, playing video games and searching for anyone who could be his absent father. It is a quick, sharp, sad-as-hell read, the story of a boy stuck in a glimmering prison; it is also a book that completely presages Justin Bieber’s recent publicity troubles as his star is on the wane. As a reader, you spend the book feeling bad for poor, lonely Jonny, ready and waiting for the moment that he snaps and breaks out of his life.
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