Thursday, June 1, 2017

When It's Real by Erin Watt

When It's Real by Erin Watt
Release Date -  May 30, 2017
Publisher Website - HarlequinTeen
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  416 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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?
It is no secret that I loved Erin Watt's Royals series. I was excited when I heard that they would be releasing another young adult novel about a teen pretending to date a pop star and what happens when they may not be faking it any longer. While this novel could not be more different than the Royals series in tone, it is the from 'hate-to-love' pop star romance of your dreams. Erin Watt offers up a fun read that hits all the right notes.

Erin Watt proved they can switch comfortably between genres with this novel. They can do twisted and dark (like the Royals series) and more rom-com fare with equal ease. It makes me eager for what else this author might branch out into in the future.

When we first meet Oakley he is egotistical, spoiled, and used to getting his own way. He is also incredibly driven and wants nothing more than to be taking seriously as an artist again. The Vaughn we first meet is used to dealing with some of life's hardest punches. She grew up quickly because she had to. Her story is filled with heartbreak and plenty of time spent worrying. The journey these characters take in this novel is woven into the romance in a believable way. It, surprisingly, makes the celebrity aspect of the novel feel more plausible and realistic. The more we get to know each of them, the more real the story becomes.

I love story in which the relationship goes from hate to love. Vaughn and Oakley don't exactly have the best first meeting, and it is most definitely not a love at first sight scenario between them. They each have preconceived ideas about the other, and those expectations ensure that this is a slower build romance. The pretend dating aspect of the plot ensures you get to the kissing and swoon worthy scenes quicker than this type of slow build would allow. It is the best of both worlds, and it really works in this instance. They bring out something in each other, and each of them grow as a result. Oakley's transformation is especially noticeable as he becomes more grounded. Vaughn's is less easy to spot, but is just as present. Oakley influences her to let go of some of the worries that plague her, and do something for herself occasionally.

I predict younger teens will especially love this novel. It's a little tamer than the Royals series, and the romance is the stuff of daydreams. It is perfect for anyone looking for a lighter summer read for a lazy day by the pool. It has romance, drama, and more. If you're looking for something fun, but with a little heart this is the book for you.

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