Geri’s Review: When It’s Real by Erin Watt

WHEN IT’S REAL
Genre: Contemporary YA Romance
Author: Erin Watt
Release Date: May 30, 2017

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?

AMAZON | iBOOKS

When It’s Real by Erin Watt is the perfect, romantic, fluffy summer read.

Oakley Ford is a teen celebrity whose early rise to fame and penchant for trouble has attracted a slew of negative publicity. Desperate to rehab his image before he becomes a washed-up has-been at 19, his management suggested that he dates a normal girl to not only rehab his tarnished image but to also help him land the next producer for his album.

Vaughn Bennett may be a “normal girl” by Hollywood’s standard but her life hasn’t a bed of roses. Orphaned and desperately helping her sister raised her younger siblings made Vaughn’s decision to be Oakley Ford’s fake girlfriend a no-brainer.

Despite a rocky start, Oakley and Vaughn found themselves becoming friends. But paparazzies, jealous exes, Hollywood gossip, nosy publicists and crazy fans are just few of the things that Oakley and Ford had to contend with. They also had to deal with their growing feelings for each other, which makes things a little bit more complicated.

I appreciate how the authors didn’t just focus on the growing romance between Vaughn and Oakley. It also focused on Oakley’s growth from being a spoiled brat musician who had fame way too early in his life to a mature young man whose passion and love for music was unquestionable.

Even though this premise has been done a lot in the past, I still enjoyed this book immensely. I liked that this was different from their other series. Low drama and low angst but still in keeping with the Erin Watt tradition of having smart, capable teenage characters that would appeal even to older readers.

And what makes me even more excited was the fact that I could share this book with my nieces. This is a true YA book, not just because the characters are in their teens but also the way it’s written which means no explicit or overly sexy scenes. So yes, you could recommend this to a younger audience without fear of being accused of corrupting them.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to readers who are looking for smart, romantic YA reads.

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