When It’s Real by Erin Watt

❝ I don’t know when that happened, but somewhere along the line Vaughn went from the girl I was forced to have on my arm to the girl I want in my life.❞


Title: When It’s Real
Author: Erin Watt
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Links: GoodreadsAmazon | Barnes & Nobles  

*I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.* 

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads: From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes 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?


Last year Erin Watt made waves with their infamous debut series, The Royals, causing quite a frenzy among readers, myself included. The Royals series was hands-down one of the most addicting and entertaining series I’ve read in years and I knew I would pretty much devour anything by Erin Watt after that…and devour was exactly what I did with this dynamic duo’s upcoming release.

Nineteen-year-old teen heartthrob Oakley Ford has it all: fame, money and adoring fans. But scandalous headlines and a bad boy attitude is about to cost him all of that if he doesn’t clean up his act soon. Oakley’s team believes that the best way to revamp his image is to hire a fake girlfriend, hoping that this type of commitment would show the world that he can be taken seriously. Hired to play the role of Oakley’s new girlfriend is Vaughn Bennett, your typical girl next door whose life is about to go from ordinary to extraordinary. But when this fake relationship turns into something more, these two will realize that the world may not be the only ones they’ve got fooled.


When It’s Real is a rock star romance with a fake relationship trope and while it may not have been as scandalous as The Royals series, it still had Erin Watt’s signature charm and I couldn’t help but love this cute and fluffy romance. I admit that fake relationship trope may not be my favorite, mainly because these types of romances all have the same outcome, but I’m a sucker for rock star romances and anything that has to do with celebrities falling in love with the average Joe so I was excited to see things played out for these two. Vaughn has such a fiery spirit and I fell in love with her character immediately. She’s caring, creative, hardworking and loves her family dearly. Although she was not originally on board with the fake girlfriend plan, Vaughn was willing to put aside her hesitations if it meant ridding her family of their financial burden. And what would this romance be without its lovable asshole? Because let’s be honest Oakley was a bit of an ass at the beginning of this story. It took me some time to warm up to him, but as the story goes on, we see why Oakley is the way that he is. He’s spent majority of his life in the spotlight and he’s weary about whether people want to get to know him for him or just for his connections. But deep down he’s a good guy, with good intentions who just wants to share his passion with the world. The romance is a slow-burn at its finest and THERE WAS SO MUCH ANGST! I was living for the banter and would die with laughter every time these two would go at it.

Family seems to be trending theme in these author’s books and I absolutely adored the Bennett family! Vaughn and her older sister, Paisley, have a close relationship since it’s just them two alone raising their twin brothers. I liked the fact that they have this open communication and Paisley always looked out for her younger sister. Oakley doesn’t have the best relationship with his parents, but throughout this book he makes an effort to have a better relationship with his mother and while it may not be perfect, the fact that they are trying to mend fences is a start.


When It’s Real is fun and addicting rock star romance that should be on everyone’s summer TBR. Erin Watt has proven that they can write both scandalous and sweet romances and I can’t wait to read more books by this duo in the future!


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I'm Ari, a local NYC bibliophile and a forever daydreamer. You can usually find me with my nose buried in a book and my head up in the clouds. I am also a coffee addict and a chocolate connoisseur. I fell in love with the romance genre about three years ago and I haven't been able to stop reading about happily-ever-afters, which is ironic because I'm a bit of a cynical romantic in real life, haha. I hope you all enjoy my blog and fangirling with me about all the smutty reads!

4 thoughts on “When It’s Real by Erin Watt

  1. Woo! I’m so happy you liked this one as much as I did, Ari. I loved the way the romance developed too. And of course the ship and OTP was great. I love how much they focus on family too in their books. It makes them even better for me, and Vaughn’s family was so precious.
    Lovely review, Ari! 🙂


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