Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt

The Chapel Wars
by Lindsey Leavitt
Read: March 20 - 22, 2014
Published: May 6, 2014 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: ALA, (Thank you, Bloomsbury!)
Category: YA, contemporary, grief, Las Vegas

Find: Goodreads | Amazon

Acclaimed author Lindsey Leavitt brings her trademark heart, humor, and romance to her hometown--Vegas. 

Sixteen-year-old Holly wants to remember her Grandpa forever, but she’d rather forget what he left her in his will: his wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. Whatever happened to gold watches, savings bonds, or some normal inheritance?

And then there's Grandpa's letter. Not only is she running the business with her recently divorced parents, but she needs to make some serious money--fast. Grandpa also insists Holly reach out to Dax, the grandson of her family's mortal enemy and owner of the cheesy chapel next door. No matter how cute Dax is, Holly needs to stay focused: on her group of guy friends, her disjointed family, work, school and... Dax. No wait, not Dax.

Holly’s chapel represents everything she’s ever loved in her past. Dax might be everything she could ever love in the future. But as for right now, there's a wedding chapel to save.

A quick 5 point breakdown of why I had so much fun reading The Chapel Wars. 

1) Wit. One of the reasons I enjoy Lindsay Leavitt's books so much is that they are always so much fun to read, but they also deal with real topics that teens face. Hilarious + heartfelt as Elizabeth Eulberg says on the cover, and I agree with that completely.  Going with the first point, this book has fantastic dialogue in it that had me laughing out loud. Holly's inner monologue is also quite amusing. And clearly anything goes in Vegas, including pink pants, animal consumes, zombies, kissing pirates and Elvis of course. 

2) Grief. Holly's beloved grandfather has just died unexpectedly when this book begins, leaving her a lot of responsibility and sadness. But though this book includes some heavier themes, it doesn't get bogged down in them. I love the tone of Leavitt's books because she tackles serious issues in a relatable way while not completely dragging down the emotions of the book.

3) Love. The Chapel Wars includes a very sweet romance with the enemy chapel owner next door, which thankfully, managed to stay mostly drama and angst free. This was the most swoony of Leavitt's books, which I enjoyed immensely. Dax and Holly are quite amusing together. But they also bonded over grief, and struggled with how to overcome their family's long held feud. I wish that we'd been able to see Dax work through some of his own issues a little more. But overall, this was a delightful romance. 

4) Family and friends. As with all of Leavitt's stories, Holly's family is a big part of her life, and very present throughout this story. I especially loved the relationship Holly had with her brother James. This book doesn't set out to solve Holly's problems with her family, but Holly comes to terms with them throughout the course of this book, which I think is almost more important. Since family isn't something you can just lose (or fix). I especially loved the ways that the come together to support Holly and the wedding chapel. Holly's group of guy friends was also fun to read about. Especially, her close friendship with Sam, and the smaller sub-plot of Sam's own relationship issues. 

5) Place. I have never been to Las Vegas, and most of what I know is the standard tourist info, so I got really into seeing the city from an insider's perspective. The information about the wedding industry was fascinating, as was seeing the Vegas through Holly's eyes. She spends time showing Dax why she loves living there so much, and though I'm not sure the constant dry heat is for me, I hope I can visit some day. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone


  1. I'm a huge fan of Lindsey Leavitt. Her writing is smart and funny and it always gets to me. I can't wait for this one, and her take on Vegas (I've never been real drive to go).

  2. Lauren, I'm so excited to read this book. I'll be reading it after my next book and I know I'm going to love it. I loved Going Vintage by the author and the reviews for this book have been so good.
    I'm so glad to hear that family and friendship are strong parts of this book. I always appreciate it when authors add themes of family in their books and give them as much importance as the romance. Oh and the romance! It sounds delightful. I was already very excited for this book, but now I'm just thinking if I should ditch my current read and just go for this one already. :)
    Lovely review, Lauren!

  3. Ahhhhh! I NEED THIS BOOK LAUREN! It sounds fantastic, and I'm glad you think it's the swooniest (pretty sure that's not a word) of her books. I also love the wedding industry aspect. I worked in the wedding industry for 10 years, so I think I'll have a blast seeing how Vegas does weddings. Can't wait!

  4. My review is going up later tonight, and I think we agree 100%. The only other Lindsay Leavitt book I've read is Sean Griswold's head, and yes, The Chapel Wars is definitely swoonier (and more mature/older). I enjoyed this so much; can't wait to buy it for myself. :)

  5. Leavitt's books always seem like such a well-needed dose of fun alongside just the right amount of depth. I enjoyed Going Vintage, though by no means did I love it, but this looks promising. Perhaps if I'm in the right mood, it'll be just the book I need. Plus, I just can't stay away from good wit! ;) Fantastic review, Lauren!

  6. I've had my eye on this book for sometime now, so I'm glad that it a delivered such a fun read for you Lauren. I do like my books which deal with heavier themes, but glad that this book didn't have you feeling down the entire time. Holly sounds like a wonderful character who I can't wait to meet! Lovely review!

  7. I can't wait to read this book, and I'm even more excited now that I've read your review. I really enjoyed Going Vintage, and the way you described this one...more swoony, fantastic dialogue, amusing inner monologue...all of those are things that I absolutely love! And the fact that it's set in Las Vegas...I don't know if I've read a book with that setting so that should be fun. Great review! ~Pam

  8. I've enjoyed Lindsey Leavitt's books as well, Lauren so I'll have to check this out. I love it when an author tempers tougher issues with humor and romance. Wonderful review! :)

  9. I'm super excited about this one. Love the cover, love the premise, and I've enjoyed Lindsey Leavitt's books in the past!

  10. I'm glad to hear this is both entertaining and light, despite the grief and family issues. And I'll definitely be interested to see the author's Vegas. (I lived in Henderson for about five years but never spent tons of time on the Vegas scene.) Thanks for the great review!

  11. I still haven't read anything by Leavitt, but you've got me convinced that I should remedy that soon!

  12. I've always enjoyed Lindsey Leavitt's books. They're so sweet and realistic.

  13. Gosh, yes. I thought this one was incredibly witty - and funny too! I was thoroughly entertained when I read it, which is definitely a point in its favor.


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