Author: Erin Watt
Publisher: Harlequin Australia, HarlequinTeen Australia
Publication Date: May 30th 2017
Genres: chick-lit, Contemporary, romance, young adult
View Book At Goodreads
Wealth, fame and a real-life romance she never expected—seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett lands it all when she agrees to become a pop star's fake girlfriend in this smart, utterly addictive novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt
Under ordinary circumstances, Oakley Ford and Vaughn Bennett would never even cross paths.
There's nothing ordinary about Oakley. This bad-boy pop star's got Grammy Awards, millions of fangirls and a reputation as a restless, too-charming troublemaker. But with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley needs to show the world he's settling down—and who better to help him than Vaughn, a part-time waitress trying to help her family get by? The very definition of ordinary.
Posing as his girlfriend, Vaughn will overhaul Oakley's image from troublemaker to serious artist. In return for enough money to put her brothers through college, she can endure outlandish Hollywood parties and carefully orchestrated Twitter exchanges. She'll fool the paparazzi and the groupies. She might even start fooling herself a little.
Because when ordinary rules no longer apply, there's no telling what your heart will do…
I received an eARC of When It’s Real from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
I saw this on Netgalley and though to myself that’s an interesting cover. Upon reading the summary on Netgalley I decided to request it because it sounded like a fun book, and everyone needs a fun book.
When It’s Real turned out to be just the sort of contemporary (YA/older teen) romance I like. The romance built nicely, even though it was supposed to be contrived (the main premise of the story) it wound up being very realistic. The rich & famous boy/girl needs a normal girlfriend/boyfriend to fix their image trope has been used a lot, but the writing duo behind Erin Watt have done it really well in this novel.
Oakley seems like kind of a jerk to start with, but as you get to know him, he does grow on you.He actually reminds me a little bit of my brother (although my brother doesn’t really have any musical talent) in the way that as he gets to know you he opens up more and shows more of his actual self. At the end of the day there is an insecure little boy, due to his crazy childhood, that lurks beneath the (almost) grown man he actually is.
Vaughn is a sweetheart without it being grating. She has just enough sass and stubbornness to make her realistic. You enjoy her little quirks and her ever-changing feelings, and I think a lot of us can empathise with her not-knowing what she wants to do at the end of high school and should she do what her parents did and be a teacher, should she do something else altogether.
The plot moves quite quickly and changes from Oakley’s perspective to Vaughn’s and back again, which whilst can be annoying sometimes, I found worked quite well with When It’s Real. I quite liked the twitter exchanges at the beginning of each chapter, even though they sometimes weren’t quite so nice. It tied in a key element of the boy-meets-girl meet-cute that is thought up by Oakley’s publicist.
I would have liked to see the meeting Oakley had with his manager and publicist after the almost cliff-hanger ending simply because it would have been very interesting. But I was glad When It’s Real ended and not left on a cliffhanger.
In all, When It’s Real is a fun, beach-worthy read. There’s nothing smarmy or weird about the relationship between Vaughn and Oakley, and the rest of the characters (even W the big fat jerk) help to make an enjoyable story.