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Published by Harlequin TEEN on May 30th 2017
Genres: Romance, Young Adult
Purchase links: Amazon, iTunes
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Source: NetGalley, Nina Bocci
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?
We received this book/audiobook for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect our opinion of the book or the content of our review.
Lisa’s Review: 4 Stars
When it comes to picking books to read and review, YA isn’t usually my first choice. Y-not you ask? Well, let me just say I am a grown ass woman that’s been married for 15 years and has three kids—one of which is a teenager herself—who finds it hard to relate to many of the characters in YA stories.
When I heard that the Erin Watt colab were coming out with a new book, I couldn’t wait to read it. They turned my world completely upside down with their Royals Series and I was ready to read more of their magic.
When It’s Real is just that. Magic. It’s got all the standard elements that YA tends to have and then some. First we’re introduced to Vaughn—a girl who’s perfectly happy lining her life the way she has for the past year…working hard to help support her orphaned family—an older sister and twin little brothers (yes you heard that right, both parents have passed). And then, without warning, Vaughn is presented with an opportunity that she, nor her family, can refuse.
“This is as real and as awful and as wonderful as it gets.”
Que Oakley ‘Oak’ Ford. Oak is teen celebrity musician. He made it very big very young and is now ready to transition from teen heartthrob to respected musician. He knows who to work with to make it happen but there’s a small problem…the Producer will only work with him if he grows up. How will he accomplish this task? well, he’ll follow his PR advice and FAKE date the girl next door—Vaughn. At least that’s what his management team says.
“Stop being afraid of life. Go out and let love take you on a journey.”
What happens next is a whirlwind of teenage drama, angst, and the type of grown-up love that I enjoy reading no matter what the genre. I don’t know how they manage to do it, but Erin Watt writes in a way that sucks you so far into the story you feel like you’re actually a supporting character. When It’s Real is not only entertaining, it’s also an amazing love story. I highly recommend it.
Paola’s Review: 4 Stars
When It’s Real is a standalone young adult romance.
Oakley ‘Oak’ Ford is a teen star, very young and famous, and now that he’s getting older and becoming an adult, he wants to be taken seriously, and with his manager guidance he is willing to do almost anything in order to work with the best producer, he is advised to show he had become a responsible grown man that can have a committed relationship with an average Girl, Vaughn.
Vaughn’s not a normal seventeen years old girl, after her parents died years ago, she needs to keep his family functioning and the money that pretend to be Oak’s girl will provide her this help.
Oakley and Vaughn’s journey is adorable, I loved to read their banter and the sexual tension building between them. The characters in this story are well developed, the family side-stories and the media involvement ( because he is in the show business) were inserted to the plot flawlessly.
This tale of enemies-to-friends-to-lovers is one of my favorite kind of romances to read, where a fake relationship turns into something real.