Loner by Teddy Wayne

lonerHe’s quiet. He’s shy. He’s insecure.

He’s David Federman, one of the most gifted students to come out of his New Jersey high school. Determined to make a fresh start at Harvard, he tries to fit in and open up to others. He reveals his talents to others. He socializes. Unfortunately, he still finds himself in a group with others just like him. Those who will never quite fit in. Then he meets Veronica Morgan Wells, a beautiful freshman from Manhattan. He knows immediately that he has to get to know her, that they are meant to be together. He starts by dating her roommate, then helping her with homework, and walking her home… David knows he’ll be out of the friend zone soon.

While David is never quite likable, he’s certainly not as he initially seems either, which is what makes Teddy Wayne’s Loner work so well. You don’t know what you are getting into, because if you did, you might not read it. As it turns out, both David and Veronica are hiding things and as the truth slowly unfolds, the darker aspects come to light. It’s enthralling – an actual page turner for me – which is rare, and it’s a different take on a campus novel than anything I’ve read recently. Except in the news*.

*The way the novel concludes is far closer to reality than I’d like. Consider yourself warned.
**Of note, I received a complementary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.

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