Jonathan Valentino was just a regular kid from St. Louis who happened to be a good singer. Then, his mom uploaded a couple of videos to YouTube. They went viral, and Jonny Valentine, boy pop star, was born.
Of course, none of these events actually took place — it's the fictional plot of Teddy Wayne's new novel, The Love Song of Jonny Valentine. But Wayne strikes a familiar chord with his story. (Perhaps one taken from a Justin Bieber song.)
Rather than focusing on Jonny's rise to tween idol status, Wayne chronicles what happens after the catapult to fame -- allowing us a glimpse behind the curtain of too-young pop stardom. Jonny, only 11 years old, ends up trapped between the innocence of childhood and the necessary upkeep of his manufactured, pristine image.
Teddy Wayne talks about his new novel The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, about an 11-year-old icon of bubblegum pop, whose image, voice, and even hairdo have been relentlessly molded into a perfect consumerism package. But underneath it all, Jonny is still a vulnerable young boy who is confused and perplexed by life.