Published by Harlequin Teen on May 30, 2017
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Self Purchase
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?
I borrowed When It’s Real from Scribd, because I was already a fan of Erin Watt’s book Paper Princess, and I wanted to see what else she had to dish up. I’m so glad I did because it was fabulous! I couldn’t put it down! I had originally borrowed an audio-book of it, but I can be a fast reader when I’m really into a book, and the narrator was not going fast enough for me. I wanted more, more, more! Plus, it was clear early on that there was going to be some moderate swears, and sexual content, and I felt weird listening to that during my work commute.
Oakley has a huge ego, is possessive, occasionally rude, and very often makes impulsive decisions, but even with all that, I still hearted him. I’ve now read a couple books where there’s a male movie star/musician/famous person, who starts a “fake” relationship with a “wholesome” girl to clean up their image. In the other books that I’ve read, the guy appears to be rude, dismissive, cocky, etc., but then deep down it’s all an act. Nope. Not for Oakley. I mean, he’s not a total a-hole, he can be generous, sweet, thoughtful, and kind, but he’s also occasionally all those other things too. I liked that his character was truly flawed, and that at the end of the book, he wasn’t completely cured of his unappealing qualities. He was real and relatable.
Vaughn also had her faults. I loved how she was super sassy and didn’t put up with Oakley’s bullshit. But unfortunately when it came to her boyfriend W, she was very gullible and unwilling to acknowledge how much of a jerk he was. She should have dumped his ass way before Oakley entered the picture. I was so happy when Vaughn started to drift away from W and towards Oakley, because she finally started to realize that she deserved so much better than W.
The pacing for When It’s Real was spot-on, and the constant sass and sexual tension between Vaughn and Oakley had me frantically flipping pages.
This was a borrowed book, and will soon be a purchase of mine. I could definitely see myself reading it again in a year or so.