Fifteen Minutes introduces us to Zack Dylan, the aforementioned kid, a Christian country boy whose heart is in the right place. His family's farm is at risk of being foreclosed, his sister is ill, and all he wants is to make things better. So with that in mind, he bids his girlfriend and family goodbye to compete on the reality talent show Fifteen Minutes. He figures he'll audition before the judges and get sent home that same day.
He figures wrong.
Instantly, he becomes the hottest thing to hit the show in ten years. The judges love him, fangirls are wild for his looks and voice (he's described as resembling a young Elvis), everybody is talking about him, and one contestant in particular seems to be determined to snag his attention. He is constantly pressured by the show's producers to tone down his faith and show his "bad side". Meanwhile, his girlfriend back home, Reese Weatherly, is considering a job offer which may takes her to the other side of the world for a year or more.
Furthermore, readers get a backstage view of two of the judges and their messed up lives. The moment Chandra Olson sees Zack audition, all she wants to do is send him home. A former contestant, she has learned the hard way what the cost of fame is. Kelly Morgan, on the other hand, is living on the edge and loving it (or so she tells herself), until an unexpected turn of events leaves her questioning the choices she's made in life and what really matters most.
I enjoyed this novel very much. Karen has a knack for telling stories that feel like our own. It amazes me how she can tell such a compelling tale that focuses more on the character's external and internal dialogue than outer details. Yet every character she creates is memorable, and every one she develops is compassionable. The character I most connected with was Kelly Morgan, the former "teen" star and PK. I really wanted her to "come home", as the story indicated God was leading her. I also pitied Zack as he went through the refiner's fire that was his brush with fame. And I couldn't bring myself to hate Zoey Davis, Zack's "love interest", even though she tried so hard to win his affections away from Reese.
It's so much more than just a tear-jerking read, however. Fifteen Minutes brings to mind Matthew 16:26: "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?" (ESV). It's crucial to consider the cost of our actions before we take them. We may think that if we compromise a little here, give in a little there, it's no big deal. God will forgive me; I can stop myself from going any further. YOLO, right?
Wrong. Even if we sell out once, it becomes easier to justify the next time. And the next. Pretty soon, we're in so deep we don't know how to get out.
The good news is that with God's help, all things are possible. If you're there right now, just pray and ask him to help you. He is always listening and will answer, because He loves you!
*****A word of explanation - I intend to post reviews on books I borrow from the Mississauga Library System, as well as Christian fiction I may receive in the mail. I also hope to do giveaways and interviews possibly someday.*****