Title: When It’s Real
Author: Erin Watt
Standalone Young Adult Contemporary Romance
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?
I don’t read that much YA Contemporary, they don’t managed to grab my attention a lot of the time (age gap maybe? who knows?) But since it was Erin Watt and I love her Royal series I needed to pick this up. And I’m glad I did, It was a refreshing spin of the girlfriend for hire trope, mixing social media and the ups and downs of fame in it. I also liked the fact that it’s a stand alone, I’ve been reading too many series and this is just what I needed.
I really liked the characters, Vaughn our female protagonist was so normal and down to earth, she loved her family and was willing to do anything to support her brothers and help out her older sister. She was funny and sassy and she really helped to ground Oakley (our male protagonist). He was a stereotypical young pop rock star at first, with the huge ego and disregard of anything other than himself (Justin Bieber comes to mind) but once their relationship takes off as a sort of friendship we get to see that he’s actually quite lovable and not an asshole at all.
Their families play such an important part in the grounding and development of each character ( in Vaughn’s case they are her fuel and in Oakley’s case he’s the result of their neglect) that I would have liked to see more interaction with them, good and bad.
“Half the time when you open your mouth, you say something that makes me want to punch you.” Vaughn gives a rueful smile. “But when you sing…you make it really hard to hate you.”
Their relationship was really well paced, they start as enemies of sorts then grow to friends and eventually become a couple. Their banter was hilarious Oakley really got in to her nerves and Vaughn took no crap from him. They made each other grow, I really liked the fact that Oakley was so certain of what he wanted from life while Vaughn didn’t have a clue I thought that is quite a common thing at that age, you don’t have to know everything and have everything planned out.
“Stop being afraid of life. Go out and let love take you on a journey.”
This was a very fast read for me I finished it in a day and like I said Before I enjoyed it a lot, If you’re looking for an easy summer read pick this one up, I’m sure you’ll fly through it.