Title: When It’s Real
Author: Erin Watt
Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, romance, young adult
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?
Source: Public library
How I Found Out About It: Blogging
I know that I have been picking up so many of these types of books lately. Music, which is one of my only other escapes besides books, and contemporary romance, my favourite genre, both tied into one book with the love interest as a pop star is seriously the best. Also, how could you pass up on reading this book after eyeing that gorgeous cover? I know I certainly couldn’t have.
I think you’ll be able to guess that hence my trend of loving these books, When It’s Real just joined the list. I have read many books like this before, but I know I’ll for sure remember this one over some of the others.
This novel basically follows the dual perspectives of teens Oakley (male) and Vaughn (female). Oakley is a pop star whose team simply wants him to be seen in a different light, so they try to help him with that, hiring Vaughn to be a fake girlfriend of his to gain attention. Vaughn is perfectly happy with her own boyfriend and knows that this is merely a scheme for Oakley to be noticed, and she dislikes him when they first meet. Soon enough, though, she realizes that she’s falling for the both of them.
Although I felt very sorry for her, Vaughn’s backstory isn’t unheard of in YA fiction. She’s lost both of her parents and her sister is the only family member she still has. Pushing that aside, I still saw her as a fantastic character whom readers will be able to look up to and adore.
Now it’s Oakley’s turn to be judged! He may have been a popular teen heartthrob, but I found him to be quite humble for what he had going for him- unlike many celebrities who drink regularly and often get arrested, in my opinion he wasn’t the least bit full of himself, and I admired that.
I liked the fast pace of this novel’s plot, but I do think that the page count could have been a tiny bit smaller if the pointless filler scenes were removed. The inconsistently switching POVs got confusing for me at times, but by the end of the book I was easily able to distinguish between the two protagonists. As well, the romance was adorable (love the enemies turned into lovers trope!) even despite the love triangle involving Vaughn, Oakley, and her extremely rude boyfriend named “W.” In the end, I just love the happiness that this book brings. 🙂
Overall, I have to say that I was a big fan of When It’s Real. I’d definitely consider reading some more about the well-crafted characters and simply just having this storyline make me feel gregarious again. Those who enjoy reading about set up relationships, heartthrob pop stars, and enemies turned into lovers would adore this read for sure!