Published by Harlequin Teen on May 30th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Music, New Adult, Romance, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook, eBook, Hardcover
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I voluntarily reviewed an advance review copy of this book I received for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my open and honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend.
Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley's team decides it's time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he's settled down.
Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of "normal." Under ordinary circumstances she'd never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn't have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley's team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley's a shallow, self-centered jerk? It's not like they're going to fall for each other in real life…right?
When It’s Real by Erin Watt is a new YA contemporary novel by writing duo, Jen Frederick and Elle Kennedy, about famous teen rock-star, Oakley Ford, who is in need of an image makeover because he’s become known more for his bad-boy antics instead of his music. After not having written a new song or released a new album in two years, Oakley needs help and he wants the assistance of renowned producer, Donovan King. However, King won’t give Oakley the time of day unless he cleans up and shows he’s serious about making music. And what better way to do that, at least in the eyes of his manager and PR team, than getting a steady, wholesome, and non-scandal producing girlfriend. Now where to find one?
Seventeen-year-old, Vaughn Bennett finished high school early and is spending the year off to take care of her younger twin brothers. Working to help her older sister, Paisley, pay for their living expenses after their parents passed away, money has been tight. So when Paisley comes to her with an outrageous and out of the blue job opportunity that could mean the end the to their financial worries, it is hard for Vaughn to say no, even if the new job means pretending to be the fake girlfriend to the pretentious and total jerk, Oakley Ford.
From their first meeting, Oakley and Vaughan start things off on the wrong foot, but as they are placed in more situations together where it is them versus everyone else they begin to move past what their first impressions of each other were.
What I really enjoyed about When It’s Real was that the relationship between Oakley and Vaughn is gradual. It doesn’t happen right away, where they are automatically falling into each other’s arms or that they completely understand one another from the moment they open their mouths during their first meeting. Instead it happens over time as they talk more and begin to share more about themselves. What starts off as a fake relationship definitely begins to feel real, and you can see that in how Ms. Watt has written the scenes between Oakley and Vaughn.
It makes the moments between Oakley and Vaughn that more sweeter. The ending…would have loved a longer epilogue, but it was still good. I also liked the supporting characters of Paisley and Big D, especially Paisley. She is a great sister and very supportive to Vaughn.
Overall, When It’s Real by Erin Watt is a wonderful YA romance novel filled with two characters that will win you over and have you cheering for them to get their happily ever after. I eagerly recommend and can’t wait to read more by this author team.