[RELEASE BLITZ/REVIEW] When It’s Real by Erin Watt (Jen Frederick/Elle Kennedy)

Posted June 2, 2017 by Jen in Reviews / 0 Comments

Source: Advance Reader Copy
four-stars

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?

 

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Jen’s Review

I loved The Royals Series, and I have been waiting to see what some other story from Jen and Elle would be like.  When It’s Real is a just a simple, straight forward hate to love story.  Though the characters involved are far from simple.  Oakley Ford rose to fame as a teen sensations in the music world.  At nineteen, he’s lived a dozen lifetimes. Nothing is off limits, girls, parties, booze, drugs.  It’s all come to a head and his image is in desperate need of some repair.  His management team is worried he’s going to becomes just another washed up teen singer.  All Oakley wants to do is rehab his sound and work with one the biggest record producers in town.  The catch…the producer isn’t going to even bat an eyelash at him, until he changes his partying ways and makes some serious changes in his life.

Vaughn Bennett, lost her parents in a car accident her senior year of high school. Leaving her and her older sister to raise their twin brother’s on their own. The struggle to make ends meet, and pay the bills is beyond real.  When an offer comes in from Oakley’s management team to be his fake girlfriend, she can’t say no.  Even though there are so many reasons why she shouldn’t.

It’s a rough start for Oakley and Vaughn.  To her, he’s stuck on himself, and who he is.  To him, she’s got a boyfriend, and won’t let him into her world because it’s just a job to her. The lines are blurred, when they develope an easy friendship. Needless to say, neither one of them can handle it when feelings start to become real.   The realness of it doesn’t come easy for Oakley and Vaughn.  His PR Teams constant meddling, fake friends trying to expose their relationship for what it is, crazy fangirls pushing their buttons, and Oakley’s own paranoia create a less than stress free environment.

If you have read my past reviews, you know I LOVE a good character growth arch.  When It’s Real was no exception. Oakley needs to grow up period.  He so used to getting what he wants when he wants it.  Everyone kissing his bum, telling him he is  fabulous.  So, when Vaughn enters his life, it’s like a wake up call and a breath of fresh air all at once.  Vaughn is so busy trying to make her parents memory stay a live, by making choices for herself that aren’t true to who she is.  Oakley gradually wakes her up to the idea that maybe the choices she’s made to be  teacher isn’t the only option for her.  He broadens her perspective, and makes her realize that her parents memory will live on, and that she needs to start living for herself.

It was really refreshing to read a book like this, that doesn’t over sexualize these young characters.  It was part of the story, but not the focus of the story.  Honestly, as I was reading, I kind of forgot that this was YA book.  The story was captivating, and really gave you a birds eye view of what it could potentially be like to be a “normal” in a relationship with someone famous.  I liked this book.  It is a sweet, push and pull story.  I do have to say the twist at the end, was unexpected.  I love it when a book can blow your mind like that.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review…

 About The Author

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. ( Jen Frederick & Elle Kennedy)

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