Ziggy, Stardust & Me – James Brandon

James Brandon produced and played the central role of Joshua in the international tour of Terrence McNally’s Corpus Christi for a decade, and is codirector of the documentary film based on their journey, Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption. He’s the cofounder of the I AM Love Campaign, an arts-based initiative bridging the faith-based and LGBTQ2+ communities, and serves on the Powwow Steering Committee for Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits (BAAITS) in San Francisco. Brandon is a contributing writer for Huffington PostBelieve Out Loud, and Spirituality and Health MagazineZiggy, Stardust and Me is his first novel.

Ziggy, Stardust & Me

In this tender-hearted debut, set against the tumultuous backdrop of life in 1973, when homosexuality is still considered a mental illness, two boys defy all the odds and fall in love.

The year is 1973. The Watergate hearings are in full swing. The Vietnam War is still raging. And homosexuality is still officially considered a mental illness. In the midst of these trying times is sixteen-year-old Jonathan Collins, a bullied, anxious, asthmatic kid, who aside from an alcoholic father and his sympathetic neighbor and friend Starla, is completely alone. To cope, Jonathan escapes to the safe haven of his imagination, where his hero David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and dead relatives, including his mother, guide him through the rough terrain of his life. In his alternate reality, Jonathan can be anything: a superhero, an astronaut, Ziggy Stardust, himself, or completely “normal” and not a boy who likes other boys. When he completes his treatments, he will be normal—at least he hopes. But before that can happen, Web stumbles into his life. Web is everything Jonathan wishes he could be: fearless, fearsome and, most importantly, not ashamed of being gay.

Jonathan doesn’t want to like brooding Web, who has secrets all his own. Jonathan wants nothing more than to be “fixed” once and for all. But he’s drawn to Web anyway. Web is the first person in the real world to see Jonathan completely and think he’s perfect. Web is a kind of escape Jonathan has never known. For the first time in his life, he may finally feel free enough to love and accept himself as he is.

A poignant coming-of-age tale, Ziggy, Stardust and Me heralds the arrival of a stunning and important new voice in YA.


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.

On Sale Date: August 6, 2019 – G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

9780525517641, 0525517642 Hardcover


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