Ziggy, Stardust and Me

Putnam. Aug. 2019. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525517641.
Gr 8 Up–In 1973, Jonathan Collins is trying desperately to change who he is: anxious, asthmatic, and gay. Homosexuality is still officially a mental illness, and Jonathan is committed to the treatments that will “cure” him. His only support systems are his best friend Starla and an elaborate fantasy world where he gets advice from his dead relatives and David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust. Jonathan’s tenuous grip on the idealized life he craves is weakened further when Web shows up just weeks before Jonathan’s last round of treatments. Web is a total fox and isn’t ashamed to be gay, and he makes Jonathan wonder if he hasn’t been wrong this whole time. 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, and despite Starla’s brief appearance, she’s a standout.
VERDICT Give this one to budding activists, music fans, historical fiction readers, and romantics. A highly recommended purchase

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