Unscripted Joss Byrd by Lygia Day Peñaflor (Book Review)


Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Page Count
: 224

If you know me, you know that I studied film in university. I’ve been working in TV for a bit and generally love to just hang around set, go to movie premieres and such. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that I was really, really excited about this book. I am so happy that it really portrays life on set the way I remember it and I haven’t even been on a real Hollywood-esque set. That was the most important part to me, because it’s something I can just really connect to.

However, as for the rest of the book, it was quite different from what I thought it would be. This is in no way a bad thing, I just wasn’t fully prepared for how emotionally intense it would get. Joss is quite young (12 years old if I am not mistaken) and somehow Lygia managed to make her sound wise beyond her years, yet exactly her age at the same time. Am I making sense? Because honestly, I was often not sure if this book was Middle Grade or Young Adult or simply a mix of both. Sometimes the lines just really blur and you can’t define something like that clearly. Everybody was just expecting Joss to act very adult, so she did, even though she was still a kid at heart. It made me so sad to see what all Joss sometimes had to deal with without any support from the so-called “real” adults. Especially her mother, Viva, drove me nuts. A parent’s job is it to protect their child, put their needs first, but I don’t think that Viva was capable of that. She was way too much of a mess to really be there for her daughter the way she should have been.

I am not saying that all adults were bad in this book (my heart goes out to Damon and Norah), but there was a real lack of role models. And I think that’s also why it isn’t a 5-star-read for me entirely. While I definitely enjoyed the themes of the book, Joss handling everything that was thrown her way and to explore the different relationships, I wish there would have been some sort of lesson or betterment in the end from certain people. I guess I am an idealist in that department, but I really wanted there to be a change in some of the adults, but that is not really what I got.

Weirdly, I think I could see this turning into a series and seeing Joss grow up with each movie she does, because despite what certain people in the industry say, I don’t think that all child actors are doomed. I would definitely like to see her again when she’s older and to find out if she’s living a good life or not.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! A wonderful piece about a child actress and various struggles she already faces at a young age.


Have you read Unscripted Joss Byrd? Would you like to? I just love myself some film industry books!

18 thoughts on “Unscripted Joss Byrd by Lygia Day Peñaflor (Book Review)

  1. Great review! I’ve always been interested about these kind of behind the scenes stories, and always dream of being a little mouse being able to see what really happens on set, and how these child stars really grow up and everything. This makes me seem a bit crazy? ANYWAY haha I’m glad you enjoyed this book,and I will probably add it to my TBR. Not immediate one, you know how crazy it is right now hahaha, but for later on for sure 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think is makes you seem crazy at all. Whenever I was on set, I was either just visiting and observing or once I was an extra. So, I get that need to take a peek behind the scenes. It’s what’s making this business so attractive for me 🙂 I really miss that part sometimes (and the movie premieres. Those definitely as well!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh this sounds like a good read. Especially for those people who seem to think that child actors have it all great from day one and that’s why they get messed up.

    Liked by 1 person

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