4 starsfake relationship/engagementFamousRock Star RomanceYoung Adult

When It’s Real by Erin Watt

When It's Real Book Cover When It's Real
Erin Watt
Fiction, Young Adult
May 30th 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?

Megan’s Review

“This is as real and as awful and as wonderful as it gets. I’d hold her forever if she’d let me.”

After reading and devouring The Royals series by Erin Watt (aka the dynamic duo Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick), I just couldn’t wait to read their next story. I was wondering what sort of world they would create for us this time and I tell you what, I was not disappointed (not that I could say I was surprised). I know this book has received mixed reviews, especially with respect to lack of originality, but that didn’t bother me at all. In the end, if a book is well written and has an enjoyable storyline that keeps me entertained, then there is nothing wrong with familiar territory. I am a big fan of the famous guy/ordinary girl/fake girlfriend trope, so for me, this story was right up my ally.

Oakley Ford is a well renowned pop star who has shot to fame at the age of fourteen. He has had immense success, including a double platinum album and his latest self- titled album “Ford”, went diamond. At the ripe old age of nineteen he is at a cross roads in his career; he is close to burning out. He appears to have it all to the outside world, but looks can be deceiving. His life is spiralling out of control and his PR team have to step in to do damage control.

Vaughn Bennett has taken on more than any seventeen year old should have to. She has definitely been dealt a dud hand. After grieving the loss of her parents, she turns her focus to her remaining family; she just wants to get by. With the help of her older sister Paisley, they struggle to make life for better for their younger twin brothers. When an opportunity arises for Vaughn to act as Oak’s girlfriend, she feels she has no other option but to accept the opportunity.

“You’re the one person in my life who wants nothing but me and it’s terrifying and awesome at the same time. Don’t ever leave me.”

Oak’s public image is going downhill faster than then a teenage girl can scream ‘Oakley Ford!’ In order to help to address the slide, Vaughn is hired to be his girlfriend and with the money she makes, she’ll be able to secure a future for her family and perhaps even be able to put her twin brothers through college. The celebrity life is definitely not Vaughn’s scene at all, but she is willing to put up with the paparazzi, the over the top Hollywood parties and having her every move watched, all for the benefit of her family. She is a noble creature.

I really loved the character development between Oak and Vaughn; in fact I actually found it more relatable than I thought I would which is a credit to the authors. Oak was a major douche at the beginning, but I really enjoyed reading the transition of his character into somebody more likeable and loveable. Vaughn was the perfect ‘normal’ girl to help boost Oak’s public image. She appears quite conscientious and timid. You really could label her the perfect ‘girl next-door’, but she certainly can hold her own.

I would most definitely recommend this story to anyone who wants to read a sweet, easy, light read with little angst and who also love their celebrity/normal girl/ fake girlfriend trope. I’m sure this one will hit the spot.