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When It's Real

When It's Real

4.6 9
by Erin Watt

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Wealth, fame and a real-life romance she never expected—seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett lands it all when she agrees to become a pop star's fake girlfriend in this smart, utterly addictive novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt

Under ordinary circumstances, Oakley Ford and


Wealth, fame and a real-life romance she never expected—seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett lands it all when she agrees to become a pop star's fake girlfriend in this smart, utterly addictive novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt

Under ordinary circumstances, Oakley Ford and Vaughn Bennett would never even cross paths.

There's nothing ordinary about Oakley. This bad-boy pop star's got Grammy awards, millions of fangirls and a reputation as a restless, too-charming troublemaker. But with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley needs to show the world he's settling down—and who better to help him than Vaughn, a part-time waitress trying to help her family get by? The very definition of ordinary.

Posing as his girlfriend, Vaughn will overhaul Oakley's image from troublemaker to serious artist. In return for enough money to put her brothers through college, she can endure outlandish Hollywood parties and carefully orchestrated Twitter exchanges. She'll fool the paparazzi and the groupies. She might even start fooling herself a little.

Because when ordinary rules no longer apply, there's no telling what your heart will do…

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—A rollicking story that will consume readers right up to the last moment. When pop star Oakley Ford needs to change his bad boy image, he hires ordinary girl Vaughn Bennett to date him for a year. It sounds like the perfect solution to orphaned Vaughn's money troubles, except that she has a boyfriend. It's true that Vaughn was once a fan of Oakley's music, but since her parents died, she's been busy working and taking care of her brothers. When Oakley shows up two hours late to their first meeting and calls Vaughn "baby," Vaughn lets him know that she's less than impressed. Oakley can't believe that this girl isn't falling all over him like the rest of the people in his life. Narration alternates between Oakley and Vaughn, and tweets from Oakley's obsessed fans are embedded throughout. Skillful character development makes this technique effective, and the result is a fast-paced, "he said, she said" page-turner. The pseudonym Erin Watt is a partnership between romance authors Jen Frederick and Elle Kennedy, who previously coauthored "The Royals" series. Sexual content is realistic given the age of the main characters. VERDICT Recommended for libraries serving older teens who enjoy romantic comedies.—Carly Wiggins Searcy, McNeese State University, LA
Kirkus Reviews
The pseudonymous writing duo of the Royals trilogy introduces engaging new characters in a modern version of "Beauty and the Beast."He is Oakley Ford, bad-boy white pop star who hit success at 16 and is burning out by 19, with a tarnished reputation and nothing going his way. She is Vaughn Bennett, 17, smart, white, and a very normal girl, dealing with grief over the loss of her parents and struggling to find her life's passion. Taking a year off before heading to college and working as a waitress to help her siblings make ends meet, she's offered a golden opportunity: pretend to be Oakley's girlfriend for a year to help improve his image. Although worried her boyfriend won't approve, Vaughn takes the job and falls into a whirlwind of paparazzi and scripted social media that just isn't her at all. Add to that Oak's disdain and frustration, and she wants out…until she sees his other side. As she begins to help him over his creative block, can these two disparate souls turn the scripted romance into something real? Full of glitz and glamour, with just enough "normal" thrown in, this story speeds readers along through the bumps and bruises of this budding relationship. Oakley's and Vaughn's alternating voices flow smoothly, and if there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever about the end of the journey, getting there is undeniable fun. A quintessential beach read. (Fiction. 14-18)

Product Details

Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.60(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet 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.

Caitlin Kelly, audiobook narrator, is a seasoned voice-over artist with experience in Japan and the United States.

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When It's Real 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
SiobhanDavisAuthor 23 days ago
When It's Real by Erin Watt rocked my world and then some!! A perfect rock star romance with a rich, hot, obnoxious bad boy behaving badly and the cute, normal girl-next-door type who wins his heart. Oak Ford has lost his mojo and his way and his bad boy party lifestyle are finally catching up to him. The solution to his problem? A fake girlfriend, or so his manager and PR company think. Cue Vaughan Bennett, and the start of our love story. I adored this book, savoring every beautiful page from start to finish. There is nothing overly intricate in the plot or the character development but it's the superb execution of same that is the winner here. I loved the musical influences and the twitter feed was hysterically funny. The writing is brilliant as I've come to expect from this author and it flowed perfectly. I kept thinking Justin Bieber as I was reading this book even if the description didn't wholly fit. I loved the snarky banter between our couple at the start and how they gradually opened up to one another. Vaughan was a bit of a sap when it came to W and I wished she had more gumption as it seemed at odds with the rest of her personality. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is the Oakley Ford show. Man, I loved him from the get-go and my heart ached for him. The romance was slow building and real and everything my romance-loving heart desires. This is a bit different from the Royals series. It's not angsty or dramatic and it's definitely less steamy despite the rock star backdrop and all that entails; however, this is trad-pubbed so I imagine the author had to toe a strict line. It doesn't matter anyway, it didn't detract from my enjoyment at all, it's more of an observation. In summary, this was a superb read and one I wouldn't hesitate to recommend. Yes, it's not a new story but it doesn't matter. It's a wonderful read and one that had me hooked throughout. I really look forward to reading more of this author in future. I received a complimentary copy of this book via the author's assistant and I have voluntarily reviewed same. Thank you very much, Erin Watt, you have another showstopper on your hands!
LightningCityBookReview 18 days ago
Erin Watt always hits that sassy and sweet mark with her New Adult Romances. "When It's Real" has main characters that spark in a battle of wills and with high energy adorable chemistry. This books features a delicious mash-up of an enemies to lovers and faux girlfriend trope. Oakley Ford's a nineteen-year-old music superstar. He's already earned a few Platinum and Diamond albums since launching his career during his early teens. Now his reputation is that of an out-of-control womanizing partier. His label and manager want to turn that image around. Frankly, Oakley's tired of the lifestyle. He feels that even people he considers to be his friends are using him for his money and celebrity. Oak's the son of Hollywood royalty and his parents are jealous of his success. His fans feel he's their property and grab him without warning, so he hates being touched, unless he initiates it. Vaughn Bennett's a seventeen-year-old high school graduate deferring college for a year to help her family. Her parents died and she's working to help her sister pay the bills and raise their younger twin brothers. She has a steady boyfriend named "W" who likes getting his way and is pressuring her for sex. Vaughn isn't ready for that commitment even though she loves W fiercely. Vaughn tells people she wants to be a teacher because that was what her parents were. But isn't passionate about anything nor has the drive to follow any path. She's lost and her only lifelines are her family, W, and her friends. Vaughn is a fascinating character; a combination of strength, loyalty, confidence and self-doubt. She can wisely advise others but lacks the confidence for herself. Erin Watt adds so many subtle touches and side stories that truly make "When It's Real" rich and captivating. The side characters are fun, charming, and delightful. Oakley and Vaughn are adorable, feisty, vulnerable, and lovable. The storyline is engaging and captivating while the pace keeps you thoroughly hooked. There's a lot of conflict in the form of antagonism, misunderstanding, doubt, and vulnerability. Add in the interference and machinations from agents and publicists and a successful relationship would be challenging for anyone. Bottomline Vaughn and Oakley are fabulous and "When It's Real" is addictive. To read the entire review please visit: http://wp.me/p4XqxF-1TT This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed
Anonymous 19 days ago
BookWorm221 22 days ago
This book is just as addicting as the Royals! This fantastic writing duo brings us a sweet and heartfelt story about a boy that despite being surrounded by people all the time he always feels alone and a girl that has the weight of the world in her shoulders. Oakley is a famous singer, he is been making a name for himself for a long time but now his bad boy reputation is catching up with him and on top of that his inspiration for writing new lyrics is running low, so his "team" comes up with the brilliant idea of creating a fake relationship with a normal girl, in enters Vaughn who shares the responsibility with her sister of taking care of her little brothers. It all starts very innocently but soon real feelings start to appear and neither of them know what to do with them. I really loved the relationship that Vaughn has with Oakley, I enjoyed getting to know them and I enjoyed reading about them getting to know each other, this is one of my favorite tropes ever so I was super happy but also presently surprised at all the ways that Erin Watt takes that trope and makes it into something so much more. We see different family dynamics, we see how being supported by the ones you love the most can make or break you at times and also we see how hard it is sometimes to live in the now and take each and every opportunity that comes your way and how hard work really pays off. I just felt so happy and giddy when I was reading this book, it was hard for me to stop reading and I just wanted them to be okay, by the end of the book I was freaking out thinking maybe things weren't going to go the way I wanted them but I shouldn't have worried because Erin Watt sure knows how to write an ending as impactful as the entire book. I'm not sure if this is a standalone but I wouldn't be against reading more form these two characters or from the people that are close to them.
Anonymous 23 days ago
It was everything I wanted it to be, and so much more. I couldn't put it down.
LexyH 23 days ago
**4.5 Stars ** Oh how I love everything Erin Watt gives to us readers, the dynamic duo that makes up Erin Watt has a gift and oh did they deliver. When It's Real is no different. Oakley and Vaughan are two of my favorite characters of 2017. Don't expect this story to be anything like The Royals because it's so different, which I think is why I loved it even more. There is just something about Vaughan and Oakley that you love from the first page. I seriously couldn't get over how awesome this book was and how much I loved it. The slow burn romance between these two is something I so needed when I read this and it was perfect. At first you can't get over how spoiled Oakley is and how much of a jerk he is. But when you start seeing the many layers being pulled back, you start to see why he is the way he is and you hurt for him. He might be a rock star but his life seems empty. So when his PR team throws someone normal like Vaughan at him to be his fake girlfriend for year, you kind of hurt for them both. Vaughan hasn't had an easy life recently either, but when this opportunity comes up, she does it for the money. But, does she keep doing it for the money or does she end up really having feelings for him? I LOVED Oakley and Vaughan. I seriously can't say that enough. Their story was unique to them. It shows them each grow up in different ways. Vaughan has to learn to trust the playboy and Oakley has to learn to think more of himself. Erin Watt gave us this story of a normal girl falling in love with a rockstar guy. But in the end, Vaughan gave Oakley the chance to do "normal" things as well. Which made their story even better.
Timitra 24 days ago
When It's Real was over the top goodness that kept me highly entertained throughout. It was also annoying at times when I didn't agree with the characters choices and things they said but for the most part I loved these characters and the growth they experienced on their journey. I'd definitely recommend it because it kept my attention even during those moments when I wasn't loving what was happening yet I couldn't help but continue to read. Kudos to the authors for such an enjoyable read. ARC provided by publisher through Net Galley in exchange for a honest review
Momscookingthebooks 24 days ago
I will warn those that were fans of the darker Royal’s series (Paper Princess etc.) that this book is nothing like it and for that I was happy. I loved The Royal’s series don’t get me wrong, but I love it when the author’s switch it up and give us something fresh and new. That is exactly what I got with When It’s Real! I truly enjoyed every chapter and I couldn’t put it down. This book gave me a rock star romance, slow burn, frenemies to lovers, and bad boy rocker to girl next door romance all rolled into one! The character development throughout the story was fantastic and I really loved both Oakley and Vaughn. There is a lot that goes on between these two and the supporting cast. As a reader, I enjoyed the journey of witnessing their individual transformations as well as their transformation as a couple. I don’t want to give anything away, so you will have to read this sweet, sexy, fun and engaging read!
tradermare 24 days ago
4.5 stars Oakley Ford needs a new image if he wants to work with the producer that could take him to a new level. When his handlers see a picture of Vaughn Bennett, she seems like the perfect girl to clean up his bad boy reputation. Money is a powerful motivator and Vaughn decides to go along with the plan. She becomes almost as managed as Oakley, plus she has to actually spend time with the rockstar's humongous ego. Things start out a bit rocky between Vaughn and Oakley, but as they get to know each other, things change between them. There aren't many twists in this story, but it didn't matter. It was the gradual development of the relationship between Vaughn and Oakley that had me loving both of these characters, which was a feat in itself, since Oakley reminded me of an actual pop star I'm not fond of. But by the end of When It's Real, I really had a good old fashioned crush on Oakley myself. When everything falls to pieces for Oak and Vaughn, I felt it. My only complaint was that the ending was a bit abrupt, but I loved it and what it represented regarding this two young adults. When It's Real is a very sweet new adult title with a very cute and satisfying (fr)enemies-to-lovers romance that kept my interest. It left me with a smile on my face, and that is a very good thing.