Review: When It’s Real

Book Title: When It’s Real
Author: Erin Watt
Series: None
Genres: YA/NA, Contemporary, Romance

Date Read: 05/13/17
Pub Date: 05/30/17



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 consistently struggle with writing reviews for contemporaries, whether they are adult or young adult. Over the years they have grown predictable and there isn’t much to talk about regarding the plot as they tend to be more character focused. Needless to say, I’m wary in picking up contemporaries anymore because they just seem to fall into the realm of “nice but not memorable”. When I first saw the cover and description of When It’s Real, I’ll admit I was skeptical but gave it a second glance as the author duo is so popular from their successful Royals series. I kept going back and checking out the cover and description which made me realize I had to read it. This sat on my light and fluffy shelf for a couple of months, because I so wanted to love this but I also had to wait for the mood to strike me. I’m really glad I waited, because I picked this up at an opportune time and it heightened my experience like no other.

I’ll admit I have yet to pick up Paper Princess but might have to move it up my list after having such a positive experience with WIR. I’ve heard that the Royals books are darker romance and have been found very controversial amongst various readers (that alone makes me want to read them!), so I was surprised when they released such an upbeat story. Sure, there are some serious themes and darker moments to the story, but I found WIR to be the perfect book for the reader who likes an overall feel good, happily ever after type of story. I don’t want to touch on the plot too much, but I was highly intrigued by Oakley and Vaughn from the beginning; in fact, I was so distracted by their drama that I read the entire almost 400 pages in a single sitting. This is what happens when you have really thick hair that is high maintenance. 

Overall, this was such a fun read. I’d call it a guilty pleasure, but I don’t think I should have to justify if a read is worthy based on how pretentious it’s deemed to be by high brow readers. I love cheesy, heartfelt love stories that are messy; if you are a fan of Colleen Hoover, you will likely love this as it has a YA CoHo feel too it. Perfect to snag for summer poolside days or a week at the beach; if you enjoy a love story that takes a new spin on a classic tale, I highly recommend picking up a copy of When It’s Real to add to your summer shelves. You can do like I did and ogle the beautiful cover until you’re ready to read it. 🙂

*Many thanks to Harlequin Teen for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to post my honest thoughts here on the blog. 


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.

12 thoughts on “Review: When It’s Real”

  1. All the high fives for not succumbing to the “guilty pleasure” thing. Definitely one of my pet peeves when people book shame others. I really want to read this book, especially after reading your lovely review! I’m so glad you found the right moment to read it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am also weary with the conetmps that come my way & I def have to be in the mood. I hadn’t realized that this is by the same author of Paper Princess. Recently I snagged a Kindle deal for book 1 & I’ve been saving it for the summer. If the writing style is a good fit then I’ll probably check out all of her books. This one does seem like the perfect beach read, wonderful review Chelsea! happy reading ❤ 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. haha that’s how I cathegorized their Royal series… one hell of a guilty pleasure!! As addictive as they were, they sure enraged me because the romance…. was definitely not a healthy one, but I do think you should check them out! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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