Unscripted Joss Byrd by Lygia Day Peñaflor
Publication Date: August 23, 2016 by Roaring Book Press
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
[Special thanks to the publisher for the review copy!]
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, and 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.
Upon reading what the book will be about, I had a feeling it’ll be somehow similar to Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle.
Both books gave us a backstage pass – to see (or read about, rather) what it’s like to be in Hollywood.
While Famous in Love focused more on the romantic side of the story – what it’s like to be in love when you have that big of a career, Unscripted Joss Byrd focused more on what it’s like to be someone you’re not. Having to say lines you don’t ever want to say. Having to act in a certain way. Being defined by the script.
It’s one of the hardest things to deal with – authority. Viva, Joss’ mother, is blinded by where Hollywood could take them. It looks like a shared dream at first, but as I get to read more of the story, it appears that only Viva wants it that bad. She reminds me of Nina’s mother in Black Swan. Maybe Viva is a frustrated actress? Maybe she wants Joss to fulfill the dream she wasn’t able to reach? I don’t know. What I can say is that her relationship with Joss is unhealthy.
Terrance is another superior character – he’s obsessed with making the story of his life a film, that he’d keep everything – even the worst parts (which didn’t involve him, btw) just so he can see Chris and Joss as TJ and Norah.
The character I loved the most is Damon. He’s very encouraging. He refuses to obey without reason. He found ways to help Joss, and he succeeded! I’m proud of him, and I’m proud of Joss. For going off-script. For not letting her secret block her view of what’s beyond the horizon.
Unscripted Joss Byrd was a smooth ride. It mirrored parts of myself that often go hidden. It’s always easy to say be true to yourself, but it takes a lot of courage to actually do it.
Joss did it. So can I.
Initial Rating: 4.125/5
Final Rating: 4.5/5
Scripts are guidelines, not rules.
*Inspired by a line from Pirates of the Caribbean, regarding the Pirate Code.