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Now in development at HBO.

Named a best book of the year by NPRKirkus, The New York PostBookPageand Bookish

An Amazon Best of the Month selection for Literature & Fiction
An Indie Next List selection from independent booksellers
Named one of the most anticipated titles of the fall by New York Magazine, Boston Magazine, The Millions, LitHub, Glamour, BookPage, and Thrillist

For press coverage, click here

Loner moves ahead to its climax (and a superbly executed plot twist) with the sickening momentum of a horror movie…It stands in stark contrast to Mr. Wayne’s previous novel, The Love Song of Jonny Valentine (2013), a funny, sympathetic portrait of a teenybopper pop star. The range shown in these two books, which move from the ridiculous to the chilling, is evidence of a rising talent.”—Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

“A powerful and even a somewhat touching suspense story about a first-year student who finds himself outclassed, in ways neither he, nor the reader, could possibly anticipate.”—Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s “Fresh Air”

“Teddy Wayne has an uncanny ability to teleport to another location and inhabit the people who live there…Dark and compulsively readable…Wayne skillfully shows us every disturbing and obsessive moment…a tightly written, tensely memorable short novel.”—Meg Wolitzer, NPR’s Best Books of the Year

“An impressively creepy novel of first love…At a moment when so many young writers want to join the ranks of the angels, Wayne’s unfashionable wit, bitterness, and tight focus are a gift.”—The Paris Review

“Wayne has created a uniquely terrifying and compelling protagonist for such a funny book… the best second-person novel I’ve read since Sam Lipsyte’s Homeland… a great, lethal little book.”—The Boston Globe

“Like all transgressive works of fiction, Loner is bound to be controversial. In some ways, the novel resembles a hyper-timely update to the psychological portrait of Humbert Humbert in Lolita. Similarly, Loner also asks the reader for a certain kind of bravery to stomach—and it rewards such risks.”—GQ

“Stunning—and profoundly disconcerting…the pleasure of the book is not in its ultratimely plot but in its complicated—and unsettlingly familiar—cast. These people are nuanced even when they’re disturbing, human even when they’re horrendous. A spectacular stylist, Wayne is deeply empathetic toward his characters, but—brutally and brilliantly—he refuses to either defend or excuse them. A startlingly sharp study of not just collegiate culture, but of social forces at large; a novel as absorbing as it is devastating.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Deft, involving…There is comic brio, but also an insider’s precision, to Wayne’s depiction…what is most frightening about Wayne’s antihero protagonist (and narrator) is not how different he is from usbut how porous a border separates his monstrousness from our normalcy.”Chicago Tribune

“As chilling as it is insightful about the dangers of unchecked male privilege and the absence of empathy… builds like a slow-moving infection until its sudden, blistering end.”—New York

“A chilling commentary on gender politics…Teddy Wayne holds up the Ivy White Male card as the ultimate trump. He means to slap awake a country that glorifies wealth; deifies men; objectifies women; and treats victims of sexual assault like sluts, kooks, and gold-diggers. The story barely qualifies as fiction, and it arrives on our shelves just in time.”—The Millions

Loner is a campus novel for our times…The novel’s brilliance lies in the way Wayne toys with the reader’s sympathies while allowing his narrator to pursue his dreadful end…Loner is one prickly piece of work, but the genius is hard to miss.”—Los Angeles Review of Books

“Engrossing, sometimes disturbing… Loner is a fresh look at an old topic — longing, love and lust on campus. Read it, and appreciate what Wayne has accomplished. You won’t be alone.”—The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Brilliantly terrifying… Teddy Wayne has written a masterclass on the privilege found in white male narcissism.”—Electric Literature

“Wayne…writes with sly grace about the seemingly unsympathetic plight of being a white American man, albeit by using ironic extremes rather than domestic realism. His bemusement is real, and often funny.”Bookforum

“Wildly inventive and disturbing.”Esquire

“Engrossing…highlights hot-button issues on today’s campuses, making it seem all too real.”—People, “The Best Books of the Fall”

“Wayne offers a witty and fascinating peek into today’s youth culture, and delivers an enthralling portrait of male narcissism and voyeuristic obsession through the literary device of an unreliable, though brilliant, narrator.”Library Journal (starred review)

“A frightening portrayal of privilege.”Marie Claire

“Magnetic…incredibly compelling.”BookPage

“Brilliantly ventriloquized, with an unmistakable voice and vocabulary. David Federman is scary, and he gets scarier with every chapter…Just when you think you can’t stand him anymore—nor can you put the book down—the explosive ending hits. “Loner” is a fascinating study of how young people turn to anti-social behavior.”Newsday

“Wayne plumbs male privilege and status anxiety with disturbing insight. It’s a novel I read in one sitting and then immediately pressed on friends and strangers…It’s not a stretch to say the Whiting Award winner’s third novel might become the most incendiary book since Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho.”Electric Literature 

“Spectacular originality and plotting…a magnificent story. Thrilling, engrossing, and infuriating, Loner harks back—in a completely contemporary timbre—to literary classics that create compelling portraits of repellent characters, e.g., Crime and Punishment, The Great Gatsby, Lolita.”—PopMatters

Loner is a brave book that takes up the calling of literature to unsettle the reader into new understanding of the world. Wayne employs extraordinarily fine psychological brushwork to produce something rare in our desensitized era: a genuinely disturbing portrait, not just of a fundamentally unreliable narrator but of a culture that prizes class, achievement, and beauty over nourishing human connection. David Federman is one of the most authentically menacing characters to come around in a novel in a long time. There is no cartoon bogeyman here, only a chaser after that external proof of value that our pragmatic culture demands of eighteen-year-olds. Wayne holds a mirror up to an America in which self-esteem is paramount, parents enable inhumanity in the name of advancement, and unchecked ego combines with social failure to yield monstrous ends. It behooves us all to take a careful look in the mirror Wayne offers, because the monster depicted here is the one next door. The twists in the plot keep the reader’s heart racing, even as the protagonist’s blood runs cold.” Matthew Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves

“Like a novel of manners distorted by a twisted funhouse mirror, Teddy Wayne’s Loner moves with wit and stealth and merciless deliberation towards increasingly brutal psychic terrain. Reading it, I found myself amused and then—with creeping force—afraid, repulsed, and ultimately unwilling to put it down.” —Leslie Jamison, New York Times bestselling author of The Empathy Exams

“Teddy Wayne’s captivating and increasingly disturbing Loner features a character that you’d like to hug if you could be assured that he wouldn’t try to stab you. It’s a wonderfully unnerving and unreliable first-person account of a dangerous stalker who is also a shy teenager just trying to get a date with the popular girl in school. This impossible-to-reconcile character, mixed with Wayne’s wry charm, makes Loner as thrilling as it is cautionary.” Jesse Eisenberg

“Teddy Wayne perfectly conjures the mind of a keenly observant, socially ambitious, and utterly heartless college student. Yet no matter what outlandish things David does, I couldn’t help but root for him—until the book’s gut-punch ending.” —Adelle Waldman, bestselling author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.