Fifteen Minutes: A Novel

by Karen Kingsbury

Hardcover, 2013



Call number



Howard Books (2013), Edition: First Edition first Printing, 384 pages


Just as Zack Dylan on the verge of winning it all on the popular TV show Fifteen Minutes, his choices lead him to the brink of personal disaster. Meanwhile, a former Fifteen Minutes winner is searching for meaning amidst her own private losses. Can she warn Zack about the real price of fame? Or will Zack lose everything he loves for his fifteen minutes of glory?


Original language


Physical description

384 p.; 8.38 inches


1451647050 / 9781451647051

User reviews

LibraryThing member Isisunit
I'd like to thank Howard Books for granting me the chance to read this book in exchange or an honest review. The fact that I received the book for free in no way influenced my review.

Jacket blurb:

Zack Dylan made a promise to God and his college sweetheart as he left his family’s horse farm in
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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?

Normally I don't read Christian books, as I tend to find them too preachy and almost judgmental of me as a reader. My faith falls in a different sphere, but I try to keep an open mind. That being said, I did struggle with the very heavy-handed religious theme here. I understand that a crisis of faith is what drives the story, but I didn't need people praying every other sentence.

Once I was able to move past the religion, I found that I really liked the characters. Zack is a sweet young man who seems to have it all and he knows it. The close-knit & loving family, the family farm as a legacy for he and his brother, and the girl of his dreams. That once in a lifetime girl, the one you marry to help do everything you can to make her want to share her life with you. And of course, Zack has God. And God gave him the gift of being an astounding singer, so Zack decides that God means for him to use this gift to help bring glory to Him, and in the process maybe win the nationally syndicated TV show/singing contest, Fifteen Minutes. (The show is very clearly based upon American Idol, with pretty much only the name being changed - even the main judge was a foreigner with a viciously sarcastic wit he uses to decimate the contestants.)

The problem is, Zack had no clue about fame, and quickly got sucked right into the machine, losing sight of all his values. Those same values that made the fans love him so much. And though he makes mistakes, he is lucky enough to have two powerful people from the show on his side. Chandra Olson is a former winner of one of the first episodes of Fifteen Minutes. The other is a former TV series star, Kelly Morgan, America's Sweetheart.

Though the two women seem to have nothing in common on the surface, Chandra busy resenting every moment of her fame and celebrity, Kelly does everything in her power to stay at the top of the game, they actually share more in common than they know. Despite the outward differences, the two women are very similar, and both instrumental in getting Zack to see the danger he's in.

In fact, all the women are strong, including Zack's girlfriend Reese. She watches Zack slowly change right before her eyes on TV, and rather than wallow in self-pity she charts her own course in life, trusting that God has a purpose for her. All of the characters have a strong belief in their faith, though they may lose sight of it on occasion. And knowing that it is a Christian book I can understand why everything good is attributed to God, but for me it felt kind of like an easy out for the author. Rather than soul searching and finding their own truth, they turn to God for all their answers. And as I said at the beginning of the book, that is a stretch for me. One that would have gone down much easier if only one or two of the characters were so intensely religious.

Interestingly enough, the parts of the book that felt most authentic to me were the scenes with Zack throughout his Fifteen Minutes ride. The overwhelming awe, the anticipation, the absolute high after a performance, the immediate group bonding, the utter exhaustion, the excitement about the journey . . . Even his confused feelings about a female competitor who seems driven to make Zack her own. Plus, the way the whole celebrity machine of Fifteen Minutes works is frighteningly entertaining and heartbreaking at the same time.

Though Karen Kingsbury is a hugely popular writer, I must say that this book did not seem to be for me. For me her book felt all about cramming God down the reader's throat. Plus, not allowing her characters enough credit for the things they do - they only get the credit when they slip in their faith, God gets the credit for restoring them to the righteous path, simply doesn't resonate with me as a reader. I give this book 2.5 stars.
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LibraryThing member kitchenwitch04
Zach Dylan has many loves in his life: his faith, his family, his girlfriend Reese, horses, and country music. And when his family faces a financial crisis which threatens the loss of their beloved horse farm, Zach takes it upon himself to use his God-given talent for singing to try to help them
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Zach has a strong Christian upbringing. He is sure that no matter what he faces in life, his faith will not be compromised. But, when he auditions for a talent show called Fifteen Minutes and becomes an overnight sensation, his family and girlfriend are hesitant about his plans as they feel his beliefs will be weakened by his quest for fame. Even though Zach assures them that his values are intact, even he isn't ready for the challenges that he is about to face.

I admit that I like the theme of the book. It is the tale of choices - HARD choices. When you have a dream, how much is too much to sacrifice? This is the question that Zach must ask himself as he struggles to remain true to himself and the people who love him. And although this book didn't keep me turning the pages late into the night or anything, it was an inspirational story that I feel will be enjoyed by fans of Karen Kingsbury and Christian fiction in general.

I received this ebook through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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LibraryThing member khamneithang
How do you handle your faith if it clashes with your ambition, or for that matter, if your ambition clashes with your faith? New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury seems to be posing this big question in her latest offering Fifteen Minutes, which takes a hard look at pop culture and its
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inherent physical and spiritual perils.

Zach Dylan is a young man with many loves in his life: his Christian faith, his family, his girlfriend Reese, his farm, his horses, and country music. He's leading a happy life until a financial crisis looms threatening the foreclosure of a family farm. And to add to the family's worry is a sister with Down Syndromes who needs constant medical care. Zack wants to help but there was so little he could do.

When the opportunity to audition for the popular television show Fifteen Minutes came, Zack, a talented singer with the voice and looks of a young Elvis believes that it will solve all his problems. His grandfather tried to dissuade him but in vain. His girlfriend Reese Weatherly initially was apprehensive but believes that Zack stands a good chance of winning and supported him wholeheartedly.

Before leaving home Zack promises Reese nothing would ever change and he will be staying true to her and his faith. Soon Zack became an overnight sensation. During the early days Zack keeps on talking about his family, Reese and his faith but soon he was forced to compromise and the values he cherished so much for so long were sacrificed at the altar of his misplaced priorities. When Fifteen Minutes airs its opening episode that shows Zack and a female contestant Zoey Davis in a dark hallway and kissing - and the media labeling them Romeo and Juliet, a shell-shocked Reese knew it was time to make hard choices.

Chandra Olson and Kelly Morgan are two of the judges in the show. Watching Zack's life spiraling out of control, they are determined not to let him walk the path they had walked, which cost them both dearly. But how will they convince Zack to avoid the traps they fell into? Can Zack reclaim his past, his faith, his family, his values and his Reese or has he gone too far for the damages to be repaired?

Though the ending is a bit of a surprise, it is an appropriate finish to a story that many readers will love to read over and over again. Fifteen Minutes by Karen Kingsbury is a warning that there is a price to be paid for everything while calling on every one to stay true to their values. It is a fascinating contemporary fiction that will leave fans clamoring for more!
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LibraryThing member onionprincess
Pretty predictable read....I love Karen's books, but now they all seem to be the same. Ok for a fast read
LibraryThing member wjbooks
I seen this book a lot through the web the last couple of weeks. I knew I wanted to get my hands on it when I saw it sitting on the New Release stand at the library, I am so glad I did! This book was good. I am so glad I got to read it. Fifteen Minutes was different from my normal reads, but most
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of the books I read come from my inner-self of give that book a shot.
Zack Dylan knows he wants to sing, and save his farm. He heads off to Atlanta to audition of Fifteen Minutes. Constantly Zack is reminding himself, and others that he won’t let the spotlight get to him and that he will shine for God. However, Zack is blinded I guess.
Zack gets warned about a lot of things, but it is like he doesn’t want to hear it, or doesn’t want to see the truth, but yet he prayed for God to show him.
There was a lot to this book that made me want to stop reading it. A lot of things was predictable. The book is like reading about American Idol, or The Voice transcript. Of course, most common sense people would know that TV shows are staged, and they make things happen. I did enjoy the read, but it wasn’t one of the best reads. Would I read it again? Probably not. Would I recommend it to someone? I dunno, I guess it all depended on the person I was talking to. Would I try the author again? Absolutely.

“Well…” His grandpa was quiet. “The situation with AJ isn’t an emergency.” He hesitated. “Whatever God tells you… just do that, son.”
Tension tightened its grip on Zack’s soul. “I’m trying. He keeps moving me on to the next round.”
“Sometimes God’s voice is hard to hear over the world”
“Yes.” The city was louder now. Zack had to yell to be heard. The noise drove home his grandpa’s point. “Thank you. For reminding me.” ~pg. 233
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LibraryThing member judyg54
Karen Kingsbury has a gift of making her stories seem so very real! Although it took me awhile to really get into this story, by the end I couldn't put it down until I finished. It seemed very true to life and made me look differently at all the shows out there like 'American Idol', and the impact
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it can have on the people who are trying to make it in the music industry. Can reality TV and a person's faith in the Lord Jesus Christ truly ever work together??

Zack Dylan and his college sweetheart work on a horse farm in Kentucky. Zack signs up to compete on a popular reality television show 'Fifteen Minutes'. He won't let the fame change him, if he wins, but will use his fame as a platform to share the message of Christ (or so he thinks). Overnight, literally, his fame and popularity will quickly change and all of Zack's great plans if he wins, are slowly taking a back seat to his quest to be the best performer he can be.

Reese Weatherly, a therapeutic horse instructor, loves Zack with all her heart and doesn't feel comfortable with his going on 'Fifteen Minutes', but stands by him none the less and encourages him whenever she can. But the things she starts to see and read about Zack, and his new "girlfriend", cause her to re-evaluate their relationship.

This is not a happy ever after story, but shows an inside look at what fame can do to a person. The judges on this show are also part of this story, of how their lives where affected by fame also. My heart breaks to see how easy it is for people to get caught up in the glitter and forget about their God. A story I would gladly give out to young people today who even think about becoming a "star" for Jesus. Well done Karen Kingsbury!!
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