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Ziggy, Stardust and Me

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for Ziggy, Stardust and Me

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kai

    This is one of those "It's not you, it's me" cases. At the 100 page mark I still wasn't feeling it. Couldn't really connect with the characters, the dialogues didn't catch me, the writing style and especially the way the characters talked nagged me. I really wanted to like this and I'm glad to see a discussion of mental health, internalised homophobia, bullying, and the harassment and racism against Native Americans. But overall, it wasn't for me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chaima ✨ شيماء

    you can't cure sadness by adding more queer historical fiction to your TBR but it sure is a nice thing to do while suffering

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elise (TheBookishActress)

    the rise of nerdy queer historical fiction that isn't just meant to depress you is of 10/10 importance to me

  4. 4 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    Honestly and thoroughly gut-wrenching. My heart is in tatters right now. I do confess I didn't read the blurb properly so I wasn't prepared for it to feature conversion therapy; and I just felt sick to the stomach at the horror of it. We literally read Jonathan breaking apart... he is being broken and destroyed by this "therapy" to make him "better" and it's so infuriating. I was right with Web and wanting to smash something. It had a really disjointed and ragged style; but that FIT with Jonat Honestly and thoroughly gut-wrenching. My heart is in tatters right now. I do confess I didn't read the blurb properly so I wasn't prepared for it to feature conversion therapy; and I just felt sick to the stomach at the horror of it. We literally read Jonathan breaking apart... he is being broken and destroyed by this "therapy" to make him "better" and it's so infuriating. I was right with Web and wanting to smash something. It had a really disjointed and ragged style; but that FIT with Jonathan. He is losing himself, being smashed into a million pieces, and also just a dorky and confused and anxious teen. So the style fit him, you just have to adjust to it. It's also set in the '70s so get ready for hey groovy, man. Like a lot of it. (There's also a LOT of homophobic and racial slurs. It's #ownvoices for queer rep but not for the indigenous american rep so I was a little untethered at how how many slurs were in there instead of just implied if it isn't a poc author.) And there were so many beautiful and heartwrenching scenes. Lines that were just so full of love, tangled in brokenness, and tears. Such a vulnerable book. Softness and pain all mixed together in a way that makes you catch your breath and want, so desperately, for these kids to never hurt again.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Vitor Martins

    "Please don't waste another breath being anything else. There's just no time."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Theodora

    Not to be dramatic but this book comes out on my birthday and if that's not a sign I don't know what is

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anniek

    Can I please just have alllll the LGBTQ+ historical novels? There's really something special about them, and this one was no different in that sense. This is actually a very heavy novel, and it's really violent at times. But it's also such an important novel, about a boy dealing with and trying to overcome internalized homophobia in a time where homosexuality was still seen as a mental illness. At the start of the book, he genuinely believes he's sick, and then he starts to grow as a Can I please just have alllll the LGBTQ+ historical novels? There's really something special about them, and this one was no different in that sense. This is actually a very heavy novel, and it's really violent at times. But it's also such an important novel, about a boy dealing with and trying to overcome internalized homophobia in a time where homosexuality was still seen as a mental illness. At the start of the book, he genuinely believes he's sick, and then he starts to grow as a character, which I thought was so well done. Jonathan is in no way a perfect character. He's flawed, he makes mistakes, but he truly stole my heart. He's just so pure, and I can't. Oh, and of course you have to listen to David Bowie while reading this. I don't make the rules. Rep: gay MC, gay Native-American love interest, biracial side character CWs: (internalized) homophobia, conversion therapy, electroshock therapy, homophobic slurs, mention of suicide, racism, police brutality, hate crimes, violence, racist slurs, sexual assault, past death of a parent, alcoholism, mentions of drug use

  8. 4 out of 5

    AJ

    *Runs around the streets chucking this book at every human in sight* *is crying* JUST READ IT!!!!! I’m just. Words? Nah this review is going to be strictly me gushing incoherently. This book needs some attention RIGHT NOW because I’m not seeing anYONE TALKING ABOUT IT AND ITS PERFECT. I swear to god the next time someone says something like “being gay is unnatural and the people saying they’re gay are just looking for attention” I’m going to chuck this book at their head. I live in Missouri *Runs around the streets chucking this book at every human in sight* *is crying* JUST READ IT!!!!! I’m just. Words? Nah this review is going to be strictly me gushing incoherently. This book needs some attention RIGHT NOW because I’m not seeing anYONE TALKING ABOUT IT AND ITS PERFECT. I swear to god the next time someone says something like “being gay is unnatural and the people saying they’re gay are just looking for attention” I’m going to chuck this book at their head. I live in Missouri (just as the characters in this book do) and it hurts that I hear people say the shit that some of the shitty people in this book do. It’s 2019!!! This book takes place in 1973!!! And I still live my life surrounded by people who hate the lgbt community!!! I don’t really live near a big city but that is still NOT ok! Sorry this review became me ranting about homophobia! Anyways! Read this book! (ALSO THAT COVER!!! SO! PRETTY!)

  9. 5 out of 5

    andrea 🥀✨

    not a fan of david bowie but i mean this is a queer book that takes place in the 70s,,, how could i say no???

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stacy Fetters

    "The things that scare you the most are the things that bring you closer to who you’re meant to be." Ziggy Stardust is someone that I admire. He didn't care what anyone thought and did whatever he wanted to do. (This is why he's tattooed on my body) So when I saw the title of this book and saw the cover, I knew that I needed to read this. And I'm so glad that I did because it was beautiful and heartbreaking and it completely destroyed me. Omg!! My heart!! 😭😭

  11. 5 out of 5

    ♡ Dakota ♡ (Sarcasm is my middle name)

    This is going to hurt isn’t it?

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amelia Valentine

    1. a cover this beautiful should not be allowed as it just makes me want it more and rIGHT NOW 2. gay romance? yES pleaSE 3. the 70s? oh dear lord

  13. 4 out of 5

    Maria (Big City Bookworm)

    a Actual Rating: 4.5 stars! This was tough to read at times due to some pretty heavy subject matter, but it was such a well written and beautiful book. I highly recommend! Note: I am currently on a hiatus from reviewing. I need a bit of a break from the pressures of reading, so I'm just going with the flow this year. I'll obviously still be reading, but at my own pace and when I feel like it. Thank you for understanding!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This was really quite heavy. Jonathan is a 17 year old gay boy in 1973 St. Louis, undergoing shock treatments to help him overcome his homosexuality. Plus, he's getting bullied by the straights at school and his dad is a sad drunk who treats Jonathan like shit. That's a lot. Also, my straight dad was also 17 in 1973 and it was weird for me to imagine him in high school and hoping he wasn't one of the "apes" who tortured kids like Jonathan. But yeah, Brandon does a great job of historical world b This was really quite heavy. Jonathan is a 17 year old gay boy in 1973 St. Louis, undergoing shock treatments to help him overcome his homosexuality. Plus, he's getting bullied by the straights at school and his dad is a sad drunk who treats Jonathan like shit. That's a lot. Also, my straight dad was also 17 in 1973 and it was weird for me to imagine him in high school and hoping he wasn't one of the "apes" who tortured kids like Jonathan. But yeah, Brandon does a great job of historical world building. Also, I loved Web and I think his story and his fight for rights as an American Indian are still so prevalent today. And even tho Jonathan fucked up like a white kid, he tried to learn and do better. One thing I didn't really like was the closeted homophobic bully trope. Like there are 2 closeted bullies in this story and it's such an annoying stereotype to me. If the worst homophobes are actually secretly gay themselves, it's like a weird scapegoat for straight ppl to never be accountable for their own bigotry and bullying behaviors. 'Welp, it wasn't one of ours so we're good.' Like, are there closeted bullies? Of course, but it's over played and b.o.r.i.n.g. and lazy. I don't think the presence of this trope really diminished my experience enjoying this book, just was on my soap box. *tips hat* Anyway, if you like sweet and sad and atmospheric gay boy books, check this out!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    "I think everyone needs a secret place in the world, a place you can count on to keep your dreams safe." Wow. I loved this book more than I anticipated and I am over the moon with feelings for it! An absolute stunner. 🌠🌙🚀 Feeling the 4.5- 5 ⭐ love for it. The diversity, the history, the inclusivity of native american culture. I just loved so much of it. I can't wait to see what others think of it once released! It's heart breaking and hopeful and just overall a powerful story that ca "I think everyone needs a secret place in the world, a place you can count on to keep your dreams safe." Wow. I loved this book more than I anticipated and I am over the moon with feelings for it! An absolute stunner. 🌠🌙🚀 Feeling the 4.5- 5 ⭐ love for it. The diversity, the history, the inclusivity of native american culture. I just loved so much of it. I can't wait to see what others think of it once released! It's heart breaking and hopeful and just overall a powerful story that can really reflect and be a parallel to current times in some ways as well. It does however contain quite a few things that some readers might prefer trigger warnings before going in reading. I'm also mad at myself for putting off reading it for so long. But binging it in a day was entirely worth it. I would definitely read this one again. It's just got a certain spark of magic to it that's completely captivating.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sofia

    queer historical fiction in david bowie's honor is everything i've ever wanted

  17. 5 out of 5

    Aldi

    I wish I could feel more enthusiastic than a lukewarm 2.5 about this one. I wanted to like this book a lot more. It's visually gorgeous (I mean, damn, look at that cover). I quite like the recent trend of queer YA books exploring previous decades as a setting and was intrigued by the 70s background. It features a Native American love interest, a direly underrepresented minority. It deals with important themes of recent history, like the horrors of aversion therapy and the way-too-recent classifi I wish I could feel more enthusiastic than a lukewarm 2.5 about this one. I wanted to like this book a lot more. It's visually gorgeous (I mean, damn, look at that cover). I quite like the recent trend of queer YA books exploring previous decades as a setting and was intrigued by the 70s background. It features a Native American love interest, a direly underrepresented minority. It deals with important themes of recent history, like the horrors of aversion therapy and the way-too-recent classification of homosexuality as a mental illness. It's spangled with all the glitz and sparkle and outrageous psychedelic dreamscapes of the decade it's set in, and loaded with love for its music. It should really be working. It didn't work for me, and that's because of its execution. It's a very dialogue- and visual-effects-heavy book with little actual narration that... [experiment] LOOK, I'm gonna try something. I'm gonna... can I? ohmanohmanohman... I don't know, but... I'll try. I'll try to write part of this review like... the BOOK was written. You dig, my main man? (The 70s slang... was a bit - ouch - well you could tell it was...researched... rather than... experienced.) OH WOW. KABLOOEY! Like the book was... it was... well it did... it had these... ellipses... and ALL CAPS... I mean, ALL OVER THE PLACE. ALL THE TIME. And random lists, like... I think it was trying to: 1) take the reader into the way the protagonist's mind worked 2) BUT 3) it came off as so gimmicky and visually distracting that 4) WHAMBAMTHANKYOUMA'M 5) it actually became annoying. POWPOWBLAM! Got it? No, these comic book noises -BOOM! - are not an exaggeration. The book reads like this. These are quotes. KAPOW! It would also do things like hard returns in the middle of lines, for, like (whambamthankyouma'am) emphasis? Again, gimmicky. And the protagonist... who you reallyreallyreallyreally - yesitdoesunspacedrepetitionwordslikethistoo... allthetime - anyway, who you really want to feel for, because this kid is terrified and in a shit home situation and tortured by electroshock treatments to cure him of the gay - FOREVER FIXED! - talks like, "Okay... okay... okay - I don't know... yeahyeahyeah...heh-heh" ALL THE TIME*, and okayokayokay, some of it you do get because he's always... having to...hide...and it's heart-breaking....BUT... the constant stream of excessively ellipsed dialogue...with little narrative to break it up.... kinda gives you eye AND brain strain after a while. [/experiment] *(He also says things like "Shubbuddudba" and "figglyfops" when he can't verbalise, which... yeah, for most of the book I cared less about whether he gets with the hot boy and more about whether someone can give him ALL THE THERAPY [actual, helpful, non-70s therapy] that he clearly needs because the shocks and/or his shit life have clearly fucked him up for life). Anyway. Somewhere in there was a compelling story but both it and, sadly, the characters, were buried in this weird style full of over-accentuated visual effects that a novel really shouldn't need. About halfway through the book I realised that I really thought it had stumbled into the wrong medium, because between the abbreviated style and the heavy reliance on onomatopoetic effects, not to mention the rich inner world of the protagonist's imagination, this could have made a killer graphic novel. Again I say, look at that cover. Look at those descriptions. There's a magic secret room in a literal closet. David Bowie's eyes all over the walls, winking. Stardust upon stardust dreamscapades. Main character has white hair and one blue and one brown eye (LIKE BOWIE, YOU DIG?). Love interest is a long-haired dreamboat with golden skin that... shimmers? Yes, it shimmers. All the time. (Don't do that in a post-Twilight world, please.) The visuals created are, objectively, awesome. They may sound bonkers but seriously? A graphic novel in that style of art, dialogue-heavy, with all the comic book noises and Ziggy Stardust excursions to dazzling glittery imaginary universes, could have been amazing. As a novel, though, it fell short. It also felt a bit constructed all over. I think the parts that read the most authentic were the ones that the author clearly has experience with, like the exploration of acceptance of queer people in some Native American tribes. Others, though, like the slang and the inclusion of closeted bullies and token black friend (who makes a quick appearance at the start and then practically disappears), not to mention dashing off the pop culture and political events of the time checklist-style - it's one of those book where the research isn't invisible as it should be. The research and the labour that went into the book are clear on the page, and together with the gimmicky style, it unfortunately distracted from what is, in its bones, an emotional coming-of-age story.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Devann

    This is definitely not something I would normally read, but I'm glad that I did. I generally try to stay away from sad LGBT books and books featuring conversion therapy in particular, with the idea that the real world is awful enough and I'd rather read something happy or at least set in a happier world in my free time. This book wasn't anywhere near as sad I was expecting consider the setting and subject material, but I do think I was more 'on edge' than usual while reading because I was always This is definitely not something I would normally read, but I'm glad that I did. I generally try to stay away from sad LGBT books and books featuring conversion therapy in particular, with the idea that the real world is awful enough and I'd rather read something happy or at least set in a happier world in my free time. This book wasn't anywhere near as sad I was expecting consider the setting and subject material, but I do think I was more 'on edge' than usual while reading because I was always just waiting for horrible things to happen and that might have made it a bit harder for me to immerse myself sometimes. Still, I love both the main characters and the intersectionality of the whole thing and at the end it was actually a really cute and sweet book, even though there were definitely sad bits too. Also 'Ziggy on the cross' is probably one of my new favorite phrases so there's that.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kira Thebookbella

    For my in-depth video review visit: ZIGGY STARDUST AND ME YOUTUBE REVIEW "The things that scare you the most are the things that bring you closer to who you're meant to be." TW: Bullying, Attempted Rape, Racism, Homophobia This is a Young Adult, Historical Fiction book about Johnathon, a 17 year old high school senior in 1973 St. Louis, Missouri. The reality of his life is that he is going to therapy for his "condition" and he lives at home with an abusive alcoholic father who is an ex-/> For my in-depth video review visit: ZIGGY STARDUST AND ME YOUTUBE REVIEW "The things that scare you the most are the things that bring you closer to who you're meant to be." TW: Bullying, Attempted Rape, Racism, Homophobia This is a Young Adult, Historical Fiction book about Johnathon, a 17 year old high school senior in 1973 St. Louis, Missouri. The reality of his life is that he is going to therapy for his "condition" and he lives at home with an abusive alcoholic father who is an ex-soldier that fought in the Vietnamese war. Jonathon uses music and his imagination for his escape in a time of brutal, and necessary social change. Jonathon isn't a popular kid at school, in fact he is bullied a lot and made fun of. He would be considered unpopular save for his best friend Starla (half black and half british), who is supportive of Johnathon in literally every way imaginable. Being in denial of his true self, Jonathan starts to get close to the new kid at school named Web (Lakota indian). As Jonathon gets closer to Web and begins to develop romantic feelings for him, Jonathon must come to terms with who he really is even if society believes him to be ill. In 1973, the APA still believed being apart of the LGBTQ+ was a mental illness. So they treated people with aversion therapy and counseling in an attempt to "rehabilitate" them into being cured of what was considered a psychological ailment. Being apart of the LGBTQ+ community was also heavily socialized as being wrong as well. In this book, being LGBTQ+ got lumped in with pedophilia and was also treated as contagious disease. There was a lot of many hard to stomach concepts in this that made Jonathon a victim of the times he was growing up in. All of the main characters in this book are fighting for the right to be themselves. Starla is half black & half British female who goes to women's rights protests. Web is a Lakota Indian who's people are fighting to get their land back. Jonathon is raging in an internal battle to be gay. All the main characters are dealing with some sort of conflict that is a marker for all the social change that was present in 1973. The harshness of the racist and homophobic ideas of the time created a lot of anxiety with an intense need for escapism. "Your imagination is your safe space, an escape pod to another dimension where you're free to be." Many parts of this book exists in interludes of Jonathon's imagination and the surreal reality that he frequently escapes to. Ziggy Stardust (AKA David Bowie) was a main portion of his escape. Ziggy told stories through his music and stage performances that was escapism in a whole different platform. As Jonathon got ever closer to who he was as a person, he also started developing feelings for Web that he punished himself over. Web's complete acceptance of Jonathon allowed Jonathon to open up to to the possibility that he wasn't mentally ill. This relationship was pure and healing for Jonathon in a way that allowed Jonathon to be ever more present in the real world. Jonathon's day dreaming and escapist behavior became less and less as the book progressed. This book had a ton of harsh themes and hard to stomach ideologies, but I also feel this book is necessary in learning what the LGBTQ+ community has had to overcome in order to be who they are and love who they wish. In spite of the harsh realities of this book, the writing in this lulled me into a safe escape and I adored this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jouska

    *3.5 Ziggy, Stardust & Me took me a hot second to get used to. The style takes full advantage of the first-person perspective, with a beautiful, melodic rhythm, but also tends to exaggerate with its poetry and imagery. By claiming too much attention, it chipped away the emotional impact of some scenes. While I cannot speak for the accuracy of the historical language, I can see that the book could have benefitted from less abstract and more showing. At the same time, I would be str *3.5 Ziggy, Stardust & Me took me a hot second to get used to. The style takes full advantage of the first-person perspective, with a beautiful, melodic rhythm, but also tends to exaggerate with its poetry and imagery. By claiming too much attention, it chipped away the emotional impact of some scenes. While I cannot speak for the accuracy of the historical language, I can see that the book could have benefitted from less abstract and more showing. At the same time, I would be straight-out lying if I were to say I didn’t cry. Overall, I think the weight of this story overcomes the jolting writing style. Be advised, this novel deals with heavy themes such as homophobia, racism, bullying, alcoholism & conversion therapy. Yes, in the time period in which ZS&M is set, homosexuality is considered a mental illness that needs to be either cured or jailed. Jonathan is a shy teenager that, because of his father, believes in this mentality. He’s instantly lovable, kind and sweet and full of imagination. He’s also broken, in his mind, and wants to be ‘fixed’ for the sake of his family, not understanding that what’s shattering him is the treatment itself. That, until he meets Web. I absolutely loved their story and the soft way it evolved, contrasting the harshness of their world. Their chemistry was spot-on; their dialogues vivacious; their almost-kisses a literal jolt to the heart. Oh, the big smiles I had when reading their pockets of happiness. But their story has also great sadness and anger, for reasons of their own, first of all (Jonathan and his dad & Scotty, Webster and society in general), and then for the ‘anomaly’ of their relationship. While, again, I cannot speak for the authenticity of Webster’s portrayal as a two-spirited Native American, I found it awesome that his community accepted homosexuality and welcomed Jonathan when he most needed to. Bitter, then, was Jonathan’s crumbling relationship with his alcoholic, chain-smoker dad, who, even though at the end learned to be better, still cannot accept his son. (view spoiler)[So his son walks away. (hide spoiler)] I loved, loved Jonathan’s extraordinary, inspiring growth; it felt like taking a full breath after a fit of cough. His strength emerges little by little, until he stands taller and confronts his demons with blazing determination. I'm not completely satisfied with it, especially with the abrupt ending, but I still recommend this wonderful novel! I read in another review that Ziggy, Stardust & Me would have made a stronger story in comic book format, and while I agree with it, I can also say that it makes its points brilliantly nevertheless, and that it really gifted me some powerful, inspiring moments. I really hope this book will reach other hearts.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tzipora

    HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! READ THIS BEAUTIFUL, AMAZING BOOK! Oof. I am still in a book haze with tears in my eyes and I don’t know if any review can do this book justice. I’m going to take some time to think on it but I just want to give copies of this book to everyone I know and hug the author and his characters. And I want a sequel. Immediately. One of the absolute best books I’ve ever read. And one I’ll hold close to my heart forever. Go get a copy of this book. Now.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anna 'Bookbuyer'

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. So this was pretty damn close to a freaking 5 star except for a few things I didn’t like. I was not a fan of the setting. Except for the amazing plot I would have never read this as I don’t like books set in the 20th century. So happy I was able to overcome my prejudice and read this anyway. I hate how fast the ending was wrapped up. Also call me crazy but I was a bit disappointed it was hea. I mean a lot actual people in the seventies very likely didn’t have that hea. Things I loved. So this was pretty damn close to a freaking 5 star except for a few things I didn’t like. I was not a fan of the setting. Except for the amazing plot I would have never read this as I don’t like books set in the 20th century. So happy I was able to overcome my prejudice and read this anyway. I hate how fast the ending was wrapped up. Also call me crazy but I was a bit disappointed it was hea. I mean a lot actual people in the seventies very likely didn’t have that hea. Things I loved. Jonathan. I literally cried at times while he struggled. I can’t believe the things he went through. I really hate his dad as he doesn’t seem to truly care for him. I love Web!!! I especially love that he was much more confident and that his family was so excepting. I love Starla! She is an amazing friend and I love her. If for some reason Jonathan has to stay in the closet I would want her to be his cover. Such a cute couple! I love the teacher. I can’t remember his name. The one that let Web’s family stay. I love that one cop. I’m so glad he put Hal in prison!!!! I hope the rednecks beat his ass when he’s out. I don’t know how to feel about Scot. Lots of mixed feelings there. Also very conflicted about his psychiatrist.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brie ♡••

    Read for O. W. L. S Readaton This was so heartwarming, unexpected and so so soft. Frtc

  24. 4 out of 5

    TJ

    This is definitely one of the better debuts I have read this year. The prose were good, the themes were handled with care, and there were a handful of great scenes. I also really liked the interactions with characters who weren’t actually there. That said, I struggled with connecting to the main characters, and thus I didn’t 100% buy into their romance. I found a few scenes hard to follow, and there is a sense of “been there, read this a hundred times already,” but overall this is a solid first This is definitely one of the better debuts I have read this year. The prose were good, the themes were handled with care, and there were a handful of great scenes. I also really liked the interactions with characters who weren’t actually there. That said, I struggled with connecting to the main characters, and thus I didn’t 100% buy into their romance. I found a few scenes hard to follow, and there is a sense of “been there, read this a hundred times already,” but overall this is a solid first novel. While the cover alone would get 5/5, I’d give the whole package 4/5 stars.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rose Angelus

    Wow. This was beautiful.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ivy

    I'm nervous about this book, but I think it could turn out to be something very special, a la Ari & Dante,

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dominic

    Jonathan endeared himself to me almost instantly. I wanted to hug him in a way I wanted to hug Charlie when I read Perks of Being a Wallflower—which is to say the way I want to hug the teenager I once was. I didn't have the challenges at home that Jonathan does, but I felt like a "space oddity" throughout most of my adolescence. I was raised on secrets and Catholicism; yet the wafer just couldn't compare to the freedom I felt when I discovered music. My headphones were the closest thing to magic I'd ever know. Jonathan endeared himself to me almost instantly. I wanted to hug him in a way I wanted to hug Charlie when I read Perks of Being a Wallflower—which is to say the way I want to hug the teenager I once was. I didn't have the challenges at home that Jonathan does, but I felt like a "space oddity" throughout most of my adolescence. I was raised on secrets and Catholicism; yet the wafer just couldn't compare to the freedom I felt when I discovered music. My headphones were the closest thing to magic I'd ever know. Hell, they were magic. Ziggy, Stardust and Me is a historical fiction book about queer identity in the early 70s. But while the protagonist struggles with coming out, the journey he goes on is not a depressing one. Music as a theme of escape and empowerment for queer youth was only one of many that resonated with me. So many phrases from this book, in fact, seem plucked from my consciousness and my notebooks: that #musicismyreligion and #ourdifferenceisoursuperpower and #imaginationismoreimportantthanknowledge and on and on. I'm in the midst of some amazing stories this year (many of the very best are written for young people) about being queer in the world. Fear may have created stitches in our history, but we can tear them out. Fear may keep us in the shadows, but we can learn how to bring our own light. Art can change the world, and it does, again and again. These stories matter. Representation matters. So listen hard. Speak out. Love yourself. And read this book! It strikes all the right notes.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Anabell

    I kept putting off reading this book, and can’t believe I did. This book deserves more hype. This was so much better than I thought it was going to be and is now one of my favorites. It kinda reminded me of Aristotle & Dante.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Sometimes I want to throw the entire YA category into the lake but then I find another great piece of writing like this one.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ad Rocks Socks (semi hiatus)

    gay 70’s mc who loves bowie? why is this book not in my hands yet? (there's a starman waiting in the sky he'd like to come and meet us)

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