Series: How to Be 02
Author: TJ Klune
Length: Novel (342 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (12th February 2019)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts
Blurb: Josiah Erickson wants to be a movie star. The problem with that is so does half of Los Angeles. But he’s on his way, what with memorable roles as a TV show background cadaver and a guy in a commercial for herpes medication. All he needs is his big break. And that break may come in the form of a novelist who goes by the enigmatic name of Q-Bert.
Q-Bert, who is ready to make his directorial debut in a film Josy would be perfect for. Q-Bert, who Josy may or may not have a friend-crush on, and potentially something more. Being demisexual can be confusing.
From the City of Angels to the small mountain town of Abby, Oregon, Josy will give his all to make sure his dreams come true—even the ones he never thought possible.
Review: Putting it out there: I love first book in this series, How to Be A Normal Person, is my favourite book that I’ve read in past couple years. I also adore just about everything that TJ writes, or to be more honest, I have different degrees of love for the various titles. I love his quirky characters, all their flaws and eccentricities, as well as the style of writing which makes these characters so damn lovable and accessible to the reader.
While this is the second book in the How To Be series, it is not vital to have read How To Be A Normal Person first. It would give readers new to the world or to TJ’s writing an introduction to all the vital and quirky secondary characters in this book, like Lottie, The We Three Queens, Xander and Serge, and of course the stars of book one who are also there, Casey and Gus. My love for Gustavo Tiberius, aka Gus or Grumpy Gus, is massive and probably because I identify strongly with some of his quirks. I also love Casey, Gus’s asexual hipster best-selling author boyfriend, but not-so-secretly, my heart belongs to Gus. We also met Josiah for the first time in book one when he made the trip from LA to Abby, Oregon to visit Casey while Gus and Casey were becoming the beautiful (and often hilarious) couple that they are.
Annnnnnnd I got way off track. Sorry, not sorry.
How to Be A Movie Star is the story of Josiah Erickson (Josy), he moved from small town Ohio to the bright lights of LA to, you guessed, become a movie star. More accurate would be to say that Josy loves the stage and transforming to become someone else for the entertainment of others. He loves his craft and while fame and stardom would be great, he is happy and puts all his passion into every role he gets or auditions for. Josy is all sweetness and innocence, with perhaps a little bit of naivety and enjoys the high he gets from marijuana (I’m only saying this because this leads to some pretty hilarious scenes). He identifies as demisexual and so he finds himself quite confused in that he can’t always read romantic situations properly because he needs that strong emotional connection before forming that romantic/sexual bond with a perspective partner. He is a sweetheart and within the first few chapters I fell in love with his curiosity and positivity. One of my favourite things about Josy is that he just decides that someone must be his best friend (as someone who is both shy and introverted I kind of envy this ability at times though can’t imagine anything more horrid at the same time – this is where I identify with Gus). Josy did this with his friends Casey, Xander and Serge, and then he did so with Gus. And gruff, grumpy Gus may act like he hates, but he really loves it, especially when Josy goes to Gus because he needs help with some important decision.
It is one of these times where Gus “needs” to help Josy with a decision, not really but Josy tends to over think things and possibly have a penchant for drama from time to time, that leads us into Josy’s story. Josy loves radio competitions and often rings and wins things (alright, that is something that Josy and I have in common). One such competition was a poetry slam, or so Josy thinks, and he needs one of his friends to go along with him. However, Josy is shocked when he finds out that it wasn’t a poetry slam he won tickets to (maybe read the fine print before entering!).
This is where Josy meets quiet author who goes by the name of Q-Bert.
But life as Q-Bert is a small part of Quincy Moore. He is also an aspiring screen writer and with the help of his grandfather, who is basically Hollywood Royalty, Quincy is making the terrifying step to have his directorial debut. Quincy also deals with sometimes crippling depression and anxiety, but he also uses this to be a voice of hope for many that live with the sinister thoughts by writing a blog that is popular among his readers. Quincy is showing that it is alright to be different and that life may be hard but it is worth the fight. This is a theme that is central to many of TJ Klune’s stories, but it is the most important theme in both books of this series.
Josy being awkward and naïve and unable to read signals, bungles his first attempt at getting to know Quincy. But Josy needs to make right on that because he knows that he has to be friends with Quincy because he feels that is right. And so when the opportunity arises, Josy is swept into his first major film acting role, and is ready to give Quincy and his movie his all to become friends, hopefully more, and maybe at the end he could even become a movie star. His connections that bring him back to Abby, Oregon means that he has a whole host of friends that want to help Josy make his dreams come true. Quincy is in for a ride but he soon finds out, as he gets to know those closest to Josy, that this wild ride is probably one of the most important things in his life.
I had high expectations for this story, and I was not let down. This was the sequel that so many Klunatics wanted but were told by TJ that we wouldn’t get. But then his awesome brain gave him no choice but to write Josy’s story. I’m saying that because I really do hope we get to hear more about the people in Abby, Oregon – even if it was just for a novella to catch up, instead of a full length novel for Xander or Serge. I have my dreams, but you know what? I really don’t care what happens because as it is I love Normal Person and Movie Star, and just like Normal Person, I know that I will be rereading Movie Star multiple times.