3 stars · Viki's review

Viki’ review: When it’s real by Erin Watt

 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?

Title: When it’s real
Author: Erin Watt
Published: May 30th 2017 by Harlequin Teen
Genres: contemporary romance, new adult, young adult

My thoughts:

For some reason I was looking forward to this book in an unusually high enthusiasm, at least for me when it’s concerning a YA contemporary. I know that practically the characters can be put into the NA category but as I later going to detail the reasons I didn’t.
I loved the cover it’s simple but esthetically pleasing. Also the synopsis is really intriguing and even so my previous experiences with the writing duo books presented a different opinion than the masses I decided to read this book.

So the writing style is great, I didn’t have any problem with it before either. It’s clean and easy to read.  The story flows fluidly and quite dynamic. However the plot felt a bit flat and one-dimensional for me. At least at the first ¾ of the story.  Honestly I could part the book into two parts the first ¾ and the last 70 or so pages. The later I enjoyed immensely I even loved it but the first I struggled with a lot. And the sad thing is that if I didn’t have the strange habit of not DNF-ing a book even if I hate it then I probably wouldn’t have finished this one. Lucky for me I did it. Also I would probably rate it lower but since most of my problems with the story stemmed from a reason that’s not entirely the book fault rather my impatience with the YA genre I didn’t. Because it’s a really great YA story it’s just that it’s harder and harder for me to tolerate the stupid teenage angst and drama they usually represent.

So other than my opinion about the beginning of the storyline I had some problems with the characters too.
Vaughn is really sassy, strong and smart also independent. I liked how she is willing to sacrifice things in order to help her family and her little jabs to Oakley were just to die for. However she is also directionless and good at faking so the role is kinda perfect for her. What I didn’t like about her was that she went into with the whole arrangement with a certain amount of prejudice and in the beginning pof her relationship with Oak she only saw the bad things about him. Yes, she did it deliberately to protect herself but still. She not only went into this deal with prejudice but without really considering the details and the consequences which caused a lot of bad decisions on her part.
As for Oakley, he started on a bad note with me. He represented a conceited, full of himself and spoiled brat and even so I could see the drawbacks in his life it took me for a while to like him. He showed his vulnerable side quite a while in the book every time I reached the point that I going to like him, he did something stupid that changed my mind. When things didn’t go his way he acted out and hurt the ones around him. However at the end I loved him, the boy he transformed into thanks to Vaughn.
I liked them together they were cute and funny but also really childish at moments.  They really didn’t act their age most of the time and it bothered me a bit.

This is a light and quick read, and perfect for YA contemporary fans. Since I’m not one of them it wasn’t perfect for me but for the last 70 or so pages I glad I read the book.



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