ARC Review: When It’s Real by Erin Watt

When I heard the two authors behind Erin Watt were coming out with a new book, it was an instant pick-up for me. I loved the Royal boys in their other series. While this one lacked a bit of a punch, When It’s Real is still a delightful book with a musician hero and the “normal” girl who upends his world.

30731416Oakley Ford is in a rut. His fans have been clamoring for new music from him, but nothing’s vibing with him. He thinks working with a big-name producer is just what he needs, but the guy in question won’t give Oak the time of day. It leads to him agreeing to a PR stunt—a fake relationship with a “normal” girl. One who can’t stand him.

Vaughn has taken on the role of parent alongside her older sister after their parents died. She’s taken a year off from school trying to figure out her next move and saving money for her twin brothers’ futures. The chance of a lifetime comes when she’s asked to pretend to date musician, Oakley Ford. The money’s too good to pass up, but what happens when everything starts to feel all too real?

I haven’t read many books where the main character is a famous singer, but I liked how this one was done. Successful but struggling popstar has to pay a girl to date him and try to get his mojo back. It’s an interesting premise, and even though I’m not the biggest fan of the fake relationship plot, I love seeing how walls (and assumptions) crumble. And boy, were there a lot of walls for them both!

It isn’t an easy beginning for these two. Even though Oak is Vaughn’s employer, she thinks he’s conceited and doesn’t care about anyone but himself. But there’s a sadness and loneliness that she sees every now and then that has her digging a little deeper. Oak, for his part, can’t remember the last time he had anyone be real with him. The exception to that is the girl who’s supposed to pretend to like him. He’s a little reluctant to let anyone close, but Vaughn is Vaughn. Abrupt, but sweet too.

There was a good amount of plot that kept me flipping the pages, and these two had some good chemistry! There was quite a bit of unnecessary drama for me, however. Vaughn has a college boyfriend even before she agrees to fake date Oakley. I wish she hadn’t because it ended up being more of a distraction. Then Vaughn’s real boyfriend stays lingering in the background, causing extra chaos that muddies the waters. Honestly, I thought the book would have been better spent with Vaughn finding herself and Oak’s career.

Overall, When It’s Real had it’s swoony moments, it’s lighthearted, humorous ones, and the drama I expect in an Erin Watt book. I recommend it for their current fans as well as new ones looking for a sweet young adult romance.

4 stars!

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