Unscripted Joss Byrd by Lygia Day Peñaflor
Publisher: Roaring Brook
Release Date: August 23, 2016
Summary: Hollywood critics agree. Joss Byrd is “fiercely emotional,” a young actress with “complete conviction,” and a “powerhouse.”
Joss Byrd is America’s most celebrated young actress, but on the set of her latest project, a gritty indie film called The Locals, Joss’s life is far from glamorous. While struggling with her mother’s expectations, a crush on her movie brother, and a secret that could end her career, Joss must pull off a performance worthy of a star. When her renowned, charismatic director demands more than she is ready to deliver, Joss must go off-script to stay true to herself.
My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½
My Thoughts: A heartfelt, coming-of-age contemporary about an up and coming actress who must find herself in all the pressures and struggles of Hollywood.
Joss is a 12-yr. old up and coming actress! She’s had quite a few roles but The Locals is her first big (starring) role!
However, difficulties arise when she struggles with her mothers expectations + to pull off a scene she isn’t sure she can preform.
What really surprised me was Joss’s age, considering this is YA! Regardless, she is a very mature main character with an engaging voice/POV throughout the novel!
I love reading YA books surrounding Hollywood/acting and seeing what happens behind the scenes + getting more background on the movie-making process & receiving tidbits/behind the scenes views at what happens off-screen was absolutely fascinating!
The movie set itself plays such a huge role not only in the novel, but also in Joss’s world/life! Ever since she was little, her mother pushed her into acting and hadn’t stopped since. It was interesting to see how Joss viewed herself (mostly lost/unsure) considering most of her life surrounded cameras, scripts, etc.
There are so many mature themes/topics discussed in this novel and really made it feel so real! Such as Joss’s struggles/triumphs with dyslexia, her mother Viva not being there for her, + her fears/difficulties in a scene that she is unsure if she can handle.
Because its a huge part of Joss’s life, she is essentially supporting herself and her mother, yet doesn’t get her fair share of the pay check (usually spending it without Joss’s permission) considering she does all the work and her mother is constantly being strict with her.
As for the plot, it was wonderful! You follow Joss on her latest project making friends, learning more about herself and what Hollywood really means for her. With a little over 2oo pages, you feel so connected to Joss and her struggles & really see the character come to life.
Additionally there is no romance which I loved & was refreshing to see! The characters/connections Joss has with her mother, cast/friends + crew is the highlight of this novel!
There is a beautiful friendship that develops between Joss & Chris (her on-screen brother) and while its clear Joss has feelings for him + is hesitant to approach him in the beginning, the develop such a beautiful friendship and help each other along the way when they reach difficulties in scenes + issues that arise on set!
I did take away 1/2 a star b/c at moments I did feel the pacing was a little slow + I wish there was more development/moments with Joss&Chris!!
Regardless of those minor issues….
This is a YA Contemporary with so much heart! Character development is at the core of this story and is filled with such engaging characters that will keep you reading, curious to see where Joss’s Hollywood career is headed!
I highly recommend this novel if you’ve read Something Real by Heather Demetrios + are interested in reading a contemporary with a behind the scenes look at the bustles of Hollywood life!