Direkt zum Inhalt wechseln
Responsive image
Original language


James Brandon

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.
When he's not being bullied or in therapy for anxiety, sixteen-year-old Jonathan lives with his alcoholic dad in the suburbs of St. Louis. Still coping with the death of his mother, his elaborate imagination keeps him afloat and is a balm against vicious school bullies. But everything changes when a Native American boy named Web joins his English class three weeks before the school year ends.

After being partnered for an English project, Jonathan realizes Web is different from his classmates: he's confident, stands up to Jonathan's bullies, and calms Jonathan's severe anxiety. Then one day Web kisses him, and throws Jonathan into a tailspin. It's 1973 and being gay is considered a mental illness. Eventually he tells Web they can't be together.

But when things get bad at home Jonathan must decide if he wants to stand up to his dad, and his therapist, and be true to himself.

James Brandon is Co-Founder of the I AM Love Campaign, has produced and played the central role of Joshua in its international tour of Terrence McNally's CORPUS CHRISTI for the past decade, and is Co-Director of the documentary film based on their journey: Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption. He currently serves on the Powwow Steering Committee for Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits (BAAITS) in San Francisco, and is a contributing writer for Huffington Post, Believe Out Loud, and Spirituality and Health Magazine. Ziggy, Stardust, and Me is his first novel.
Available products

Published 2019-08-06 by Putnam


Published 2019-08-06 by Putnam


A beautifully written, nostalgic story full of universal truths and timeless angst. Charming, poignant, tender and at times heartbreaking.

Refinery29 (25.7M UVPM) named ZIGGY, STARDUST AND ME one of the Best YA Books of Summer 2019! Read more...

James Brandon wrote a Pride opinion piece for The Bay Area Reporter!: The Pride in shame... Read more...

If you're looking for a dose of historical queer romance, James Brandon's debut Ziggy, Stardust and Me will hit your sweet spots. Read more...

BuzzFeed (54.2M UVPM) included ZIGGY, STARDUST AND ME in both their YA Summer Reading Round Up and their Pride Month Round Up!: "This heartfelt book will leave you in a puddle of your emotions." Read more...

ZIGGY, STARDUST AND ME was the only YA pick in Entertainment Weekly's "20 New Books to Read in August" list! Read more...

A love letter to self-acceptance... deeply impactful.

James Brandon wrote a Pride author essay for Brightly: Pride is Much More Than a Month... Read more...

A poignant depiction of a boy's journey to accepting his gay identity despite the odds.

Entertainment Weekly also included Brandon's debut in their "15 Biggest (and best) YA Books of the Summer" list. Read more...

Every character from Jonathan himself down to the ice cream man are fully realized... give this one to budding activists, music fans, historical fiction readers, and romantics. A highly recommended purchase.

The Bay Area Reporter (circ. 27K / 20K UVPM) and Baltimore Out Loud both featured ZIGGY, STARDUST AND ME in a Post-Stonewall 50 Reading List!: Set in 1973, "Ziggy, Stardust and Me" (Putnam), the debut novel by gay actor-filmmaker-activist James Branden, imagines what it was like to be the boy, in this case 16-year-old David Bowie-obsessed Jonathan, who changed the mind of his psychiatrist, Dr. Evelyn in the book, regarding homosexuality's classification as a mental illness. Read more...

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.