when its real


PUBLISHER: Harlequin Teen


DATE PUBLISHED: 30th May 2017


PAGES: 416







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?






This book is the epitome of the contemporary romance genre in a YA setting, punctuated by stunning characters and an engaging plot. This book is so addicting it was read in one sitting.

The plot follows the fake romance trope, but takes a different spin on it. After ruining his image and facing the potential of being dropped by his label Oakley’s PR company explain that he needs to clean up his image. To do this they recommend a fake relationship with an ordinary girl all orchestrated by them. Enter Vaughn.

The main body of the novel is based around Oakley and Vaughn and how they coordinate this fake relationship to refresh Oakley’s image. Vaughn was a character that was easy to like, she was represented as a pretty and down-to-earth teenager who has has a hard time lately but is strong and independent. Oakley began the novel being almost a Rockstar stereotype, through his relationship with Vaughn, his backstory and his development he finished the book as a heartthrob. These two are definitely going to make people ship them together for a long time to come.

There are of course “super sweet” date moments scattered through the book, highlighted with moments of honesty and depth between Oakley and Vaughn. There are complications and moments of complete lack of judgement but that is what makes up conflict and angst. These two have their ups and downs and slowly through their fake relationship something more develops.

The side characters in this book were remarkably strong too. The book incorporated them into the story making the protagonists come to life. The Bennett family consists of Vaughn and her older sister Paisley and 12yo twin brothers Shane and Spencer. The Bennett family is tight knit and loving. They are a fantastic element of this story. Ty is one of Oakley’s bodyguards and he plays a part in this story. Kat is Oakley’s estranged mother who is slowly reintroduced into Oakley’s life through Vaughn. The eclectic cast of engaging characters brought depth to this novel and engaged the reader in the overall story arc.

Twitter, public relations and fans play a huge part in the book. Living in a world of social media it was easy to see the importance of social media and sometimes the impact of things being said via the security of a computer screen. This book is about a Rock Star, so there is going to be fans. I enjoyed that there was a variety of fans, not only on Twitter but in real life displayed in this book. While, unfortunately there are those who place a lot of importance in a celebrity to the point they don’t filter what they say or do there was also a representation of respectfully being a fan. While enjoying a person and what they do, the fans do not attack or demean others based on the celebrity.

A trope done right. Whether read for the romantic elements, the family connections, or the guilty pleasure this book was a treat.




Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Galley of this book, provided to me by Netgalley and Harlequin Australia in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts contained within this review are my own opinion of this book.


Keep Calm and Read On,


3 thoughts on “REVIEW: WHEN IT’S REAL

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