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?
Normal girl falling in love with someone famous (albeit pop star, movie star, or prince) seems to be a typical YA trope these days. And why not, I mean I’ll admit I enjoy reading these types of books. They’re a guilty pleasure of mine.
That aside though, a lot of them are really bad. I was excited though when I heard that the team behind the Paper Princess series (Erin Watt) was writing a book with this theme since this is the sort of trope that that writing team is made for.
And like I expected, I enjoyed When It’s Real, yes it was watered down from Paper Princess in a lot of ways-this one was way more YA than NA- BUT it still worked.
Only it wasn’t as crack-tastic as Paper Princess. Instead, When It’s Real is more like comfort food. The perfect sort of book to read when you have a crap day.
That being said, it’s not that special of a book. You can pretty much figure out everything that’s going to happen in the book on the synopsis alone.
I did enjoy it though for what it’s worth. While the characters were a bit cliche they were original enough and realistic enough they weren’t totally groan worthy.
Like, Vaughn. Yeah, she had the sad little back story but the authors fleshed her out enough where she didn’t seem like a cliche. Same with Oakley he wasn’t your typical burn out self absorbed rock star.
I did get annoyed because I occasionally think the authors were going for a sort of Justin Bieber feel with the character and if you know me I find Bieber to be grossly unattractive so….that sort of made me not feel Oakley.
But you know what as the story progressed it was pretty sure he was not a Biebs impersonator and for that I’m relieved.
Look, not everyone is going to like this book. If you don’t like this particular trope-girl falling in love with a famous dude- I don’t recommend the book. However, if you like that trope and don’t want something that will knock you off your socks but is solidly written this is a book for you.
Overall Rating: I waffled between solid B and a B+. In the end I settled on B+. For what it’s worth, I think the book did a fairly decent job