Title: When It’s Real
Author: Erin Watt
Genre: YA Standalone
Release Date: 30th May, 2017
PR: Nina Bocci
Publisher: Harlequin Books S.A.
From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt come 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?
★ ★ ★ ★
Reviewed by Rachel & Sharon Thérèse
“I want wild.”
“Then you’ll get it.”
The title couldn’t have been more apt and if you like sparkly star-shaped reads as the outstanding cover implies, don’t think twice about one-clicking this young adult novel. Jen Fredrick and Elle Kennedy teamed up to write the highly successful series, The Royals under the pseudonym, Erin Watt. Now Erin’s back in full force with her first standalone aimed at teens who love to swoon over bad boy rock stars. We have to admit that it took some getting into, but was it worth insisting? Yes, no doubt about it! In fact, we’d even go as far as saying our teenagers are going to love it and don’t panic, the beautifully written steaminess is what they’d expect and want at this age. Although the storyline isn’t new, the author’s managed to spin a tale and make her variation of rich boy, poor girl truly original.
“I can’t believe my girlfriend is such a prude.”
‘I can’t believe my boyfriend is such a douche!’
The message brought home is loud and clear. Life isn’t fair and at times in all its unfairness, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. The heroine needs a bit of cajoling to take part in a project of sorts which would benefit everyone close to her. All said and done, she thought her life was more or less on the right path after suffering a loss and who needs to complicate it any further! Also, she’d be doing the male protagonist, Oakley Ford, a huge favour. Not that we thought he deserved it, yet other folks in his entourage had this crazy idea that it was necessary to help his image. Now then, it’s not often that we say how irate we get with a character but honestly, Oakley brought out the worst in us with such an ease, it was ridiculous. In fact, later on in the read we wouldn’t even give ourselves credit—we actually started liking the guy and we didn’t want to! He’s by no means easy to get on with. His personality traits have been developed so damn well we wondered if the author has had first-hand experience with lads of this age. Man, maybe not an egocentric rock star but we certainly thought Watt had hit his quirks on the nail. What we did like a lot was the contrast between the gal who’d eventually make the spoilt boy see that not everything revolves around him. Neither of them like each other or keen on the idea of spending time together, but it is what it is and they’re going to have to make the most of it.
“Okay, Mr. I-Name-All-My-Albums-After-Me Ford.”
We’d put Vaughn in the girl next door category. We couldn’t find fault with this unpretentious lass who’s between a rock and a hard place. She’s got simple tastes to go with her simple life now full of complications. Her way of handling moral issues, worrying about what she was doing and what people thought of her, everything she did and everything about her we found just so plain sweet that she warmed our hearts. She made us smile and cry a few tears and her reaction to the first kisses! Yep, she kissed the boy! Or rather he kissed her. To say we enjoyed watching their relationship flower would be an understatement.
“It was not just a kiss. You’re supposed to be the good girl. Not the girl gone bad!”
What has to be mentioned is how well the banter comes across. Flowing nonstop, it brought home to one of us how out of touch she is with teen slang. And the tweets! The formatting is the best we’ve ever seen in a book; it’s easy to follow and made us realise just how much the internet and its contents affect young people. The insight we were given in the music business was a real treat, too. It’s clear to see that the author has done her homework in that respect. Oakley and Vaughn’s story is told in past tense from a HIM and HER perspective which helped us readers engage in their thoughts, their doubts and their triumphs. It’s most certainly worthy of reading. Bravo Ms Watt!
“I’m never going to believe another thing I see on the internet,”
THE ROYALS SERIES
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Authors Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick writing as Erin Watt
A New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.
Elle writes romantic suspense and erotic contemporary romance for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!
Jen Frederick is the USA Today bestselling author of Unspoken, part of the Woodlands series, and Sacked, part of the Gridiron series. She is also the author of the Charlotte Chronicles and has had several books on the Kindle Top 100 list. She lives in the Midwest with a husband who keeps track of life’s details while she’s writing, a daughter who understands when Mom disappears into her office for hours at a time, and a rambunctious dog who does neither. Email her at email@example.com.