Fifteen Minutes by Karen Kingsbury
Reviewed by Melissa J. MacDonald
Fiction Addict Blog Tours
Publisher: Howard Books
Pub Date: October 29, 2013
Karen Kingsbury’s new book asks the question: What Would You Sacrifice For Fame?
(Synopsis from Amazon.com) Zack Dylan made a promise to God and his college sweetheart as he left his family’s horse farm in Kentucky to compete on the popular reality television show Fifteen Minutes: If he makes it, the fame won’t change him.
Overnight, Zack is the nation’s most popular contestant, a country singer with the looks and voice of a young Elvis. As his star rises, Zack is asked to compromise and quiet his beliefs, and also something more. Something Zack could never have imagined. Just as America is falling in love with Zack, just as he’s on the verge of winning it all, his choices lead him to the brink of personal disaster.
At the same time, Reese Weatherly, a therapeutic horse instructor, is no longer sure about her relationship with Zack, or the wedding they had dreamed about. While Zack advances from one round of the competition to the next, an offer comes to Reese—one that will take her to a home halfway around the world.
Then Chandra Olson—reigning diva pop star and one of the Fifteen Minutes judges—intervenes. Chandra has suffered so much public pain and private agony since her days as a Fifteen Minutes contestant. Now she wants just one thing: meaning.
Can Chandra’s private losses help Zack find his way, or will his fifteen minutes of fame cause him to lose the life he once loved? Fifteen Minutes is a story of character, compromise, and the cost of having it all. A story that raises the question: Who are the real winners?
Karen Kingsbury is a celebrated author for good reason, the woman can write! She weaves a story with the right blend of detail, imagery, reality, drama, and love. She's good and Fifteen Minutes is no exception. I'll admit a few years ago I went on a Kingsburg binge and read everything I could get my hands on. Much like any binge I needed a break afterwards. Instead of enjoying the detail and drama I found it overboard so I stepped back until now. Let me say, I am so glad I'm back. Fifteen Minutes is gripping. I read it in 24 hours.
As a character Zach is as flawed as any of us. He starts out loving Jesus and quickly gets caught up in the fame and the roller coaster of it all. His flaws were both relatable and completely annoying. I found myself rolling my eyes and wanting to yell at him for some of the situations he allowed himself to get into .
Reese is the sweetheart of the book. I loved her. Quiet strength and grace. She's a doll, you can understand why Zach's family loves her so much.
The story also dips, in classic Kingsbury form, into other story lines. Two of the judges are brought into the story and their personal struggles are absolutely heartbreaking. They are written as real characters who are trapped in their fame. Their struggles to survive and be themselves was tangible and heart wrenching. Their stories were an added bonus to an already very good book.
The inside peak into reality TV and showdom sickened me. In some ways ignorance was bliss. I had a feeling things were staged, I had guessed it wasn't "real", but seeing it from the other side brought it to full light. It was a good reality check (no pun intended) and I feel like I'm being wiser with my choices of what I watch and how I watch.
The story does not end predictably and is not tied up into a neat little bow, I loved that. That might have been my favorite part. It matched the theme of the book beautifully. Mistakes lead to consequences and those consequences do not always end the way we want them to. I was so glad, as a reader, I was allowed to feel the angst. I was also left with hope, bless Karen Kingsbury's heart.
Both powerful and captivating your going to want to read this one, promise. Now go, go on, get it!
Fifteen Minutes is available to purchase from Amazon.com.
Note: I received this book as part of the Fifteen Minutes blog tour from Fiction Addict. I received no compensation for this review and only received a copy of the book for review purposes. Review copy provided by the publisher.