A NUANCED LOOK AT A DIFFICULT TIME PERIOD: Taking place during a time when being gay is considered a mental illness Jonathan’s struggle with coming out and falling in love is all the more desperate and heart-wrenching as he questions not only his sexuality, but his sanity.
ENDEARING MAIN CHARACTER: Jonathan’s vivid imagination and quirky coping mechanisms, which include talking to a portait of his grandmother and listening to his records make him a character readers will know intimately and root for.
SWEET ROMANCE: Web and Jonathan are a sympathetic couple fighting to be together in difficult times. Readers will empathize with their struggles.
BASED ON TRUE HISTORY: Jonathan’s story pre-dates the American Psychiatric Association’s landmark decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental illness. Told from Jonathan’s perspective while he undergoes aversion therapy treatment, James Brandon sheds much needed light on this time in history.
Praise for Ziggy, Stardust and Me:
An EW Summer Best Book Pick
A Refinery29 Summer Best Book Pick
A Seventeen Magazine Best YA Books of 2019 Pick
“A stunning debut. This beautifully written novel made me sob and reminded me of first love in a way no other book has in many years. Read it. Now.” —Bill Konigsberg, award-winning author of The Music of What Happens
“This heartfelt book will leave you in a puddle of your emotions.” —BuzzFeed
“A love letter to both self-acceptance and David Bowie, James Brandon’s Ziggy, Stardust and Me is both charming and timely.” —Culturess
“A beautifully written, nostalgic story full of universal truths and timeless angst. Charming, poignant, tender and at times heartbreaking.” —Greg Howard, author of Social Intercourse
“A well-crafted coming-of-age story that allows the reader to empathize with and root for a young man who feels lost. . .[as he] fights through the difficulties of growing up in a world that judges difference as wrong, and how he becomes stronger because of it.” —School Library Connection
“A love letter to self-acceptance, even when the world is far from accepting . . . this deeply impactful book presents historical attitudes and policies with a chilling accuracy.” —Publishers Weekly
“Gut-wrenching emotion, stream of consciousness, and an intensely evoked soundtrack bring Jonathan’s summer to technicolor life. Historical events like Watergate, the Vietnam War, and Wounded Knee are included seamlessly into the story. Every character from Johnathan himself down to the ice cream man are fully realized. . . Give this one to budding activists, music fans, historical fiction readers, and romantics.” —School Library Journal
“Brandon has penned a novel that seamlessly melds a coming of age tale with the oppressive beliefs and actions of the time. The characters are real and complex, and their feelings honestly portrayed.” —The Advocate
“Readers will be immersed in Jonathan's close first-person narration...Debut author Brandon deftly incorporates historical events and realities, including the criminalization of homosexuality, the Vietnam War, Watergate, the occupation of Wounded Knee, and police brutality against Native people...A poignant depiction of a boy's journey to accepting his gay identity despite the odds.” —Kirkus
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