Review: When It’s Real by Erin Watt

Posted May 30, 2017 by Shannon in Blog Tours, Release Blitz, Reviews / 0 Comments

Review: When It’s Real by Erin WattWhen It's Real by Erin Watt
Published by Harlequin TEEN on May 30th 2017
Genres: Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 416

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?

Buy it here: Amazon US | Amazon CAAmazon UK |


Young adult books, especially if they have a romance theme have always been a huge guilty pleasure of mine. These are the types of stories that got me into reading in the first place so whenever given the opportunity, I always jump on reading one. When It’s Real was no exception on my part. When I first heard of this book, I messaged Wil and said simply, ‘I NEED THIS!’. Low and behold, a little while later, it shows up on my kindle because Nina is a fantastic person. I was so excited but also super busy and it was difficult to not just throw everything out the window and buckle down to start reading. This book has been taunting me, just sitting on my kindle. When I finally had a spare few days for a new book, I swear, the sky practically opened up and the Angels started singing.

“There aren’t any cameras here. This isn’t for show. This is as real and as awful and as wonderful as it gets. I’d hold her forever if she’d let me.”

This book had everything I could’ve wanted to include it in my guilty pleasure stash.
– Compelling characters
– Cute and adorable little moments
– Fun banter
– Extremely well written and quickly paced to keep the reader engaged
– An overall enjoyable feel

“Claudia is going to…”He drifts off.
“What?” I ask warily. “Kill me?”
“For once? I don’t think so.” He shakes his head in amazement. “I think she might send you a fruit basket, dude.”

I actually got a little bummed by the time I was done because I simply didn’t want it to end! Oak and Vaughan were so sweet together, but not in a cheesy or purely YA type of way. It’s not all hand holding and blushes. They’re sweet and PG but you know they care for each other as well. Even add in the fact that they disliked each other at the beginning. LOVE IT! Through the small moments the reader gets to see the characters grow closer and more comfortable with each other. It’s during these times when their feelings grow and they become a team of sorts. How they both struggled with that weird in between and whether what they were feeling was real or not. They were in it together. It’s cute, fun and the perfect summer read. What girl hasn’t had a pop star crush? Oakley Ford gives hope to all of our high school fantasies!

“I walk back to the couch and lean down, caging her between my arms. I duck my head so my mouth touches her lips. Everyone in the room probably thinks I’m kissing her.
I’m not. I’m doing something way more important.
“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. I love you. You’re my heart.”


Sure, you could argue that this story isn’t original. The plot is fairly basic, famous singer, normal girl. Sometimes it’s a fake relationship, sometimes it’s not. But wow, Erin Watt makes it work! And even though this isn’t our first time seeing this sort of plot, it still feels fresh and exciting. In no way does this even glimpse at being a recycled or overdone plot line. It’s addicting, exciting and completely un-put-downable!

I’ve always loved a large group of secondary characters, but more than that, I love when they each have a distinct role to play. That’s exactly the case in When It’s Real. The dynamic portrayed between the characters; from Vaughn’s friends to Oak’s PR team, to even the people closer to them like Paisley, Vaughn’s sister and Ty, Oak’s bodyguard. They all played key parts in determining this story’s success.

Even with this being a storyline we have seen before, I really liked the plot twist to make the climax! It was not something I was expecting and I had been running several scenarios through my mind for a while. I didn’t see this one coming but then thought it not only made sense, but was executed in a brilliant manner.

I play the song again.
Vaughn, you’re killing me. I’m literally dying here. There’s blood on the floor. The crime scene techs aren’t gonna be able to figure this one out.

Vaughan may have been a tick childish at times but her earlier performance and Oakley make up for it easily. Overall, a great read! I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend. Now for those who don’t like YA, I’d still say give it a shot. Unless you hate all YA. the. Maybe don’t. Cause I don’t want all of you raining in my little pop star parade. 🙂

“You said that everything in your life was fake, but we’re not fake, Oak. We’re real. We’re so real.”


*An ARC was received in exchange for an honest review.


About Erin Watt

Erin Watt is the brainchild of two bestselling authors linked together through their love of great books and an addiction to writing. They share one creative imagination. Their greatest love (after their families and pets, of course)? Coming up with fun–and sometimes crazy–ideas. Their greatest fear? Breaking up. You can contact them at their shared inbox:

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