WOOH boy do I love and hate this book at the same time. I gave When It’s Real a 4/5 on Goodreads but I’d say it’s more of a 3.5 leaning towards 4. However, if I were to seperate it in halves, the first half would get a 2/5 and the second half would get a 5/5.
I love the concept of the plot and my expectations for it were met in the second half of the novel. Based on the rating I gave to the first half, you can probably tell that I have some issues with the begining. Those issues are mainly with the characters, mostly the male characters.
Let’s start with the most trash character I’ve read about in quite a while, W. This is the most steriotypical fuckboy character ever. The reader is obviously supposed to hate this fool and mission accomplished. The problem I have with this is that since W is such a garbage human that it’s like his trash personality is trying to make up for Oakley being a big bag of dicks in the begining.
I know this is supposed to be a “the main characters meet and the girl breaks the asshole out of his shell kind of thing” but it seemed like Oakley went a little beyond asshole in the first half of the book. He was so narssasistic and entitled that I honestly almost stopped reading at one point. I couldn’t stand that he felt like Vaugh should be oh so thankful that she was his pretend girlfriend because he had so many people lining up to get at him. It felt gross and slimely. Then we have the shift in his character where he’s suddenly this great guy. I’ll admit, it was kind of jarring because it felt pretty sudden but I’m glad it happened. As soon as the “nice guy Oak” switch was flipped, I was INVESTED.
Once that second half of the book hit, I couldn’t put it down. All the cute “shippy” moments make up for how much I didn’t like the beggining and I would probably read it again just for the second half.
I also think this is kind of an important book if you’re one to get obssesed with celeberties and their lives. I think this is typically more of a young teen thing and they definitely aren’t the market for When It’s Real, but still. I think the most important message of this book is that celeberties need to be seen as real people and shouldn’t be put on some pedestal that is way to high.
I did really like this book overall and want to read more by Erin Watt now. I own Paper Princess and I know people love that series so I’m more excited then ever to read it!