cover image Loner


Teddy Wayne. Simon & Schuster, $26 (224p) ISBN 978-1-5011-0789-4

Wayne’s third novel (after The Love Song of Jonny Valentine) is about a Harvard freshman who becomes obsessed with his attractive classmate. David is an intelligent yet largely unremarkable kid from New Jersey, who upon beginning his first college semester, finds himself in the all too familiar situation of being lumped into the second tier socially. But when he spies the pretty Veronica during orientation, he’s not just smitten; he’s determined—at the cost of everything else in his life—to catch her eye: “This was going to be the best year of my life, a Technicolor romp after so many donnish slogs.” David begins dating Veronica’s roommate, Sara, solely to be close to and to spy on Veronica, and by following her around he manages to enroll in her English class, where one day she asks him for help on an essay on the voyeuristic themes of Henry James’s Daisy Miller. David’s efforts and manipulations to get Veronica to notice his devotion grow increasingly discomforting to the reader, a credit to the sly first-person narration. We know something very bad is going to happen, and though some may guess the reveal, the reader is nonetheless compelled to frantically turn the pages. [em]Agent: Jim Rutman, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Sept.) [/em]