For What It's Worth

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Blog tour review: unscripted joss byrd by lygia day penaflor





UNSCRIPTED JOSS BYRD_cover imageUNSCRIPTED JOSS BYRD by Lygia Day Peñaflor
Roaring Brook Press

ABOUT THE BOOK
In this affecting debut novel, a child actor struggles to find herself on a film set where only one thing matters: getting the money shot.

Joss Byrd is America's most celebrated young actress, and her next project is a hot new Indie film helmed by a renowned, charismatic director. But on the set of The Locals, Joss's life is far from glamorous. Her mother is domineering and relentless, her dyslexia makes it difficult to keep up with the constantly changing script, the boy playing her older brother doesn't seem to reciprocate Joss's crush, and the film's gritty subject matter terrifies her. Yet none of these things appear to matter to Joss's agent, director, or even her mother. Joss is just a cash cow, and no one cares what she has to do for the perfect shot-as long as she gets it somehow.

Author Lygia Day Peñaflor's draws on her firsthand experience as a private academic teacher for young Hollywood stars in this affecting debut novel that explores the many demands made on young actors.

Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Goodreads

Review:

Unscripted Joss Byrd was a book that a publicist I met at Macmillan during ALA was VERY excited about. Once I got home and realized it was about a 12 year old girl (although this title is considered YA) I was a little leary. But no worries. Lygia Day Penaflor wrote a beautiful and engaging story that exposed the seedy underbelly of Hollywood, while also managing a nuanced portrayal of a 100% relatable 12 year old actress who struggles with dyslexia and her complex relationships.

On the surface this does seem to follow a few stereotypes – driven director, a mom that’s looking out more for her interests than Joss’s, crushes on co-stars but it’s done really well.

Despite the movie set backdrop, Unscripted Joss Byrd is surprisingly devoid of over-the-top drama but pulls no punches on Joss’s struggles to find her voice as a child actor who is basically the gravy train for a lot of adults who view her as a paycheck or as a road to an Oscar.

Watching Joss navigate the adults and co-stars and learn how to follow her own instincts to protect herself was a little heartbreaking at times but ultimately made me so happy to see that she had what it took (with a the help from a few friends) to find her own way on her own terms.

After I finished Unscripted Joss Byrd, I read that the author is a private teacher for young Hollywood stars. That expertise shows and gives this story a ton of heart rather than being *salacious just to be edgy*…while still being brutally honest about the industry and how hard it is on its young stars.

Well done! I read this one in just a few hours and still can’t stop thinking about Joss. In fact, I would love to read another story about her next movie making adventure. Don't worry about Joss's age - this is a story that will appeal to everyone. 



Lygia Day Penaflor_Author Photo
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lygia Day Peñaflor attended the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Seminar and received a scholarship to Southampton Writers Conference based on this manuscript. A graduate of Boston University and Columbia Teachers College, she is a private academic teacher for young Hollywood stars. Her students have included the young casts of Gossip Girl and Boardwalk Empire as well as Jay-Z's reboot of Annie. She lives on Long Island.

Website | Twitter

15 comments:

  1. I'm glad that you didn't find the MC's age to work against the book. Sometimes it can make it feel too young. Sounds like a really well done novel, and I love hearing about the author's background working with young actors/actresses. Lend some credibility that makes the book sound even better.

    -Lauren

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    1. That didn't happen at all. I was also afraid of it being overly edgy just for shock value since it's Hollywood but she showed the bad parts in a really authentic to the story way.

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  2. Everything bout this book is just awesome! AND the fact that the author is an acting coach, the title of the book and the cover of it all make sense now. I can tell this was a book that was near and dear to her heart. <3 Thanks for sharing this, Karen! :)

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    1. She has cool photos on her website too. Yeah the cover is perfect once you read it.

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  3. I would be wary of it, too considering the age. But I've always thought that kids in Hollywood grow up faster than the kids in the real world, anyway so I would've probably given it a chance. Thank goodness you did, eh? I'm not surprised that the author was able to capture it so succinctly (consider her day job). :)

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    1. Joss is such a well written character it doesn't matter at all. I completely related to her. She felt 12 yet didn't.

      And the supporting casts are all different ages so that helped as well - getting all those perspectives of the business.

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  4. Fascinating..growing up in the Biz has to be hard. Great review!!

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    1. You see all the horror stories so you know it's true but it's nice seeing Joss reject the control over her and stand up for herself when she was uncomfortable.

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  5. 12 sure sounds MG, so I am glad that was not an issue

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    1. It wasn't at all. Probably because of the topics and the wide range of ages of the characters she interacted with.

      And there's nothing wrong with mid-grade btw lol I was just confused that it was labeled YA - but it works.

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  6. I would have been leery at the character being 12 as well, but glad to know it wasn't a problem. It would be an interesting perspective that she would have and this does sound like an interesting read. Brilly review.

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  7. Whether fact or fiction I'm fascinated by child actors and given this character's dyslexia am especially keen to get my hands on a copy of this.

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  8. She looks like my homegirl! I have to look her up :D

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  9. oh you know I just love it when you read a story where the characters just stick with you

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  10. Those are the best kinds. The ones that stick :)

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