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Book Review: The Fifteenth Minute

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

So we’ve finally reached the end of this series by Sarina Bowen. The first two books I liked a lot. The third I was iffy on. The fourth I disliked and really prayed that the series would redeem itself….

Lianne Chalice just wants to be left alone. Sure, she’s a celebrity, starring in the hit new YA series adaptation, but that doesn’t make her any less human. She spends most of her days, when not in class, online playing games and talking coding.

DJ Trevi is the hot brooding DJ for the college hockey team who doesn’t seem to care two figs for her fame. He’s got problems of his own. but he can’t tell her why.

Will their respective issues tank this relationship before it can even get off the ground?

If the author had any sense or smidge of sympathy/empathy it sure would.

So let’s start with the good.

I liked Lianne. I liked her backstory. I liked her character arc with her attempting to transition from YA princess to respected adult actress. There are a lot of shades of Emma Watson and Natalie Portman in this book. If the author had kept this as the focus… the fact that women are often objectified and are forced to do nude scenes even when not required. This would have been interesting.

As it stands, this arc was relegated to something I really have issues with. Something that is incredibly tone deaf. Something that REALLY doesn’t hold up well in the #MeToo era.

Namely that the hero of the book… DJ… is an accused rapist.

When that was revealed about four chapters in, I almost didn’t finish the book. I have a lot of issues with Rape as Drama. A LOT of them. Especially since we’re supposed to feel sorry for this guy. But it gets worse, and for this, I need a spoiler warning.

DJ maintains his innocence through out the book. He maintains that the sex was consensual. He maintains that he didn’t pressure the girl for sex.

And ultimately… like in the last 75% of the book... it is revealed that he was telling the truth.

Which brings us to the real problem… The whole story is based on the premise of a false allegation of rape.

Something that as far as sexual assaults go… is incredibly rare. Like there are acres of more rapes and assaults that go unreported versus the number of ones that are false. This book sends the wrong message.

And worse… it was done super poorly.

The reason the accuser cried rape? She was Christian and didn’t want to have her family call her a slut. Essentially Christianity was presented as Evil. As wrong. That Christians are rigid and judgmental. And while some are, it is not a global thing. And this is coming from me… a Non-Christian. From someone who as twice lost a job when I came out as Non-Christian. From someone who is repeatedly told “You’re going to Hell” for my beliefs.

The fact that I, as a persecuted Non-Christian, felt super uncomfortable with this rationale says something. This also seems to be a go-to trope for the author. It was the main negative trope in the third book in this series. So there’s that too.

Ultimately I hated this book. I hated everything about it. If the whole “False Rape Allegation” Plot had been thrown out, this story might have been salvageable. But as it stands, this story helps perpetuate the myth that MEN not WOMEN should be believed. That MEN are the persecuted gender. That MEN have the most to lose from a rape/sexual assault accusation.

And all of that is just not true.

I’m literally watching this in my other life in the Anime Community.

And the whole world saw it with Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Gymnastics & Larry Nassar, and now U.S. Figure Skating. Those who come forward have more to lose. That they aren’t believed, their rape kits aren’t tested, etc.

So because this book helps promote Rape Culture and upholds several very harmful stereotypes.

One Star.

But for the series as a whole… Only read the first two books and then stop. You’ll thank me for it.

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