Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Title: The Chapel Wars
Author: Lindsey Leavitt
Series: n/a
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Source: from publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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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.

The Chapel Wars was everything I expected it to be: sweet, funny, and clever. Basically, everything I thought about Going Vintage. Except, where Going Vintage was on the fluffier side, I enjoyed that The Chapel Wars took a slightly more serious approach in its exploration of grief and loss and expectations. But only slightly.

This book takes the dueling family aspect to another level. Forget the Montagues and Capulets. Move over Hatfields and McCoys. This story features two rival families, the Nolans and the Cranstons, with competing wedding chapels in Las Vegas that share a parking lot. And as crazy as that sounds, things get even crazier when Grandpa Jim passes away and leaves the family chapel to Holly, his like-minded granddaughter.

I loved how Vegas kind of became its own character in this story. I've personally never been to Vegas, never had any desire to do so, but the wacky and detailed way it's portrayed in this story, the history of the city as it's described, makes me feel like maybe I'm missing out. Like maybe I judged the town too harshly before I knew what it was all about, sort of like Dax.

The wedding chapel business sort of takes on a life of its own, too. And I was really impressed with the family dynamic in this story, as well. Some YA novels fail to deliver a realistic family that's actually in the picture, that actually makes a difference in the main character's life, but The Chapel Wars is not one of those. Holly's family is by no means perfect. The parents are no longer together. They all fight and bicker. But they're there for each other when it counts.

I also appreciated that Holly "Numbers Girl" Nolan isn't your typical protagonist. She's so Type A it's endearing. Holly takes running the Rose of Sharon chapel very seriously, and she'll do everything in her power to keep it from failing. But I also like that she doesn't take everything at face-value, that along the way, she begins to question her own goals and dreams, whether she really wants to run the chapel after she graduates or if that was just because it's all she's ever known.

And Dax helps her to discover what she really wants. Namely him, even if it was hard for her to admit that, but I liked how that relationship progressed, how she also made him feel at home in a place he didn't want to be. Both Dax and Holly were a little messed up, both affected by grief and the feud that had fueled their grandfathers' hate-fire for years. But it was nice to see them overcome their losses together and to move past their families' prejudices and do so in normal teenager ways. I shipped them as soon as I read that summary and with good reason.

I adored that cover the moment I saw it, and the story is just as cute. It definitely had its moments, alternating between funny and heartbreaking, and it has solidified me as a fan of Lindsey Leavitt. I definitely recommend The Chapel Wars for fans of YA contemporary who are looking for something that falls in between fluffy and gritty. It's like baby bear's porridge...

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Lindsey Leavitt is a former elementary school teacher and present-day writer/mom to three (mostly) adorable girls. She is married to her high-school lab partner and lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is the author of the PRINCESS FOR HIRE series, SEAN GRISWOLD’S HEAD, & GOING VINTAGE.

She also feels weird writing about herself in third person.

Find Lindsey:

Website | TwitterFacebookGoodreads | Pinterest


  1. I was so excited when I was approved to read The Chapel Wars and I have yet to get to reading it but your review has just made it a million times more exciting for me!

    1. Yay! Hurry up and read it because it is so cute! :D

  2. I love Leavitt's writing. I can't wait to read this!

    1. Agreed...she writes seriously cute YA stories that I feel good about recommending to any teen.

  3. AHHHH YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND MY NEED FOR THIS BOOK! Oh, and isn't that cover adorable? Your review just made me need it more! And the fluffy, gritty in-betweens are the beeeesst ;D

    1. That cover is SO adorable! And I agree, the perfect in-between books are the best!

  4. I basically second everything you said here - I loved the Las Vegas setting, the wedding chapel plot, Holly as a character - she was so funny too, her family dynamic, the romance etc. I'm a big fan of Lindsey Leavitt, and this is another wonderful book from her. And the most swoony of the three I've read, I think.

  5. YAY! I've been so excited for this one, and now I can't wait to start it. This premise sounds adorable, but I'm glad that the story isn't too fluffy. I also love that Las Vegas shines in the story. When I was younger we always drove from our house in WY to my grandparents in OR. (I mean, like, at least once a year), and we always either stopped in Las Vegas or Reno, so LV has a pretty soft spot in my heart. Circus, Circus (which is a casino FULL of carnival games) was the shit. My parents just let us go wild for a night every trip and it was AWESOME. Great review!

  6. I LOVE the synopsis for this! Great review!


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