Penaflor, Lygia Day. Unscripted Joss Byrd. Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press. 2016. $16.99 214p ISBN 978-1-62672-369-6 ms/hs Conflict E-BN
Joss has been acting since age six. Now at 12, she is an intense actor sought after because of her soulful eyes and Oscar-worthy acting ability. While filming her fourth feature movie, an independent film by a well-known director based on his and his sister’s lives as victims of childhood physical and sexual abuse, Joss is called upon to recreate scenes that are well beyond her maturity level. Enter an impulsive stage mother chasing her own dreams, an on-set tutor who uncovers Joss’s learning disabilities, actors who never break character, including the abusive “father” character, the makeshift living conditions, the camaraderie of the cast and crew, and ultimately Joss, who must determine when if ever she will have some say over her life. Joss reveals the insecurities, the isolation from peers, and other features of the less glamorous aspects of acting, as well as the constant chase for the next big role. Readers will be unable to put this book down, as tension never ceases to throb under the everyday events on the set. Readers will have to determine if Joss loses her soul in order to chase the dream of fame.
Summary: Joss, 12 years old, is a child actor. Filming her fourth feature movie, she is asked to recreate a sexual abuse scene. Enter stage mother, tutors, and intense adult actors, and you have a realistic version of the underside of movie making. Gr. 7-10.
Child Actors-Fiction —Lois McNicol