Book Reviews

How to Be a Movie Star (How to Be 2) by TJ Klune at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Demisexual / Contemporary / Artists/Actors/Musicians/Authors / Romance
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 11-March-2019

Book 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.


Book Review

I imagine my surprise when I discovered that TJ Klune was writing a sequel to ‘How to Be a Normal Person’ didn’t come close to the author’s surprise when he realized he was going to. He always said that this wasn’t going to be a series but I guess Gustavo, Casey and his friends, and all the fabulous secondary characters of Abby, Oregon, were just too much to resist. I certainly didn’t want to miss out on Josiah (Josy’s) story and with a main character who goes by the name of Q-Bert and writes monster porn, I figured I was guaranteed the ride of my life. Pretty much how I feel after reading any of this author’s works.

I’ll admit to being confused about what exactly monster porn is – luckily for me so was Josy – but I’ve got to give credit to someone who can write a love story titled ‘Getting Poetry Slammed in My Butthole by Sasquatch’. I learned things after hearing Q-Bert recite some of his work that, frankly, I almost wish I hadn’t heard of, i.e. “With my member I shall split you in half, since it’s almost as long as the neck of a giraffe.” Whew. See what I mean? It really messed with my head when I realized I was starting to singsong the words in my brain like I used to do with Dr. Seuss when I was a little girl.

Oops sorry, I got ahead of myself. It seems that Josy has a knack for radio trivia and is very often the winner on call-in shows. Since Josy is frequently stoned he doesn’t totally comprehend what the tickets that he won are for, which is why he and Xandergo to the library expecting a “poetry slam” and assuming they’d be sitting around listening to boring poetry. I should point out that Josy believes it’s bad luck if he doesn’t actually attend the events he wins tickets for no matter what they are. Regardless, this time Josy gets very lucky when he meets Q-Bert, mysterious author of monster porn and sufferer of social anxiety disorder.

“My life is forever altered,” Josy announced grandly. “Because of a rhyming filthy Sasquatch read by a man named Q-Bert.”
Xander eyed him strangely.”

My review so far has talked about the humorous part of this book and there is much to laugh about as the author has a quirky voice when it comes to this series. But there is a more serious side and I’m so grateful to TJ for having this topic weave so wonderfully through all the lighthearted portions. Q-Bert, or Quincy as I discover, struggles with significant depression along with his social anxiety disorder. He addresses it very frankly and thoughtfully on his Instagram and his blog. I have difficulty with depression and what I read was so familiar to me it brought tears to my eyes more than once. Josy, on the other hand, can best be described as several characters in the book do – he is pure sunshine. He believes in himself and doesn’t ever appear to be knocked down by the many things in life which can do that. He’s tough for me to describe because I just wanted to wrap him up and bring him home with me – he’s adorable, sweet, kind, loving, generous, forgetful, often stoned, insanely oblivious to so many things, and he has an innocence I don’t believe I’ve ever seen before. I fell head over heels for both of them.

“Look, man. It’s not a big deal. I know I’m not the smartest person in the world. I say dumb shit all the time. I’m a stoner, and I like socks with cows on them, and for reasons no one really knows, I’m pretty great at radio trivia. People look at me and see the beard and the clothes and say, ‘Hey look, it’s one of those hipster dudes.’ And maybe that’s true…… But you know what? I don’t care what those people think. I do the things I do because they make me happy. I am who I am because this is the person I want to be. It took me a long time to get this way….”

I always have trouble writing a review of this author’s work because I find it practically impossible to really express how the book made me feel and what I loved about it. I adored being back in Abby with Gustavo (“Oh my god. What the hell.”) and Casey, Lottie, the We Three Queens, and just the feel of this small town in the mountains. Serge and Xander are back as well and catching up with them was great. Getting to know Josy and Quincy was the very best, though. I really enjoyed learning about demisexuality and what that truly means. Receiving validation through the author’s words that it’s okay to have bad days and it’s okay to struggle – well, I have no words for how that made me feel. But watching Josy and Quincy fall in love tops the list of everything I love about ‘How to Be a Movie Star’. It was surreal (sometimes) and glorious (more often than not). Sublime might just be the best word to describe it.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 342 pages/120540 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 12-February-2019
Price $6.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback, $17.99 bundle
Buy Link