Author: Lindsey :Leavitt
Publication date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: e-ARC from publisher via Netgalley (Thank you, Bloomsbury!)
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 is my first Lindsey Leavitt book and I enjoyed it! First off, I like the author’s writing style. Bright, authentic and witty, it surely is an attention grabber. There was never a moment where I got bored reading the story. It’s purely entertaining and that’s the first thing I look for in a YA romantic comedy novel. In fact, I envisioned The Chapel Wars as a rom-com movie as I read it! Moreover, with its unique concept, engaging Romeo and Juliet-inspired storyline, and Las Vegas setting, who wouldn’t want to read this book?
Holly, the main character, is fascinating in its real sense of the word. What drew me to her was how mature she acts. At seventeen, she exemplifies the persona of a twenty-something adult. Carrying the responsibility to continue her deceased Grandpa Jim’s legacy and to keep his wedding chapel in business, it’s an acceptable reason for Holly to conduct herself that way. I truly admire Holly’s hard work, dedication, and perseverance to save the chapel. She dealt with its financial crisis with professionalism and grace. However, I pity Holly because she did not have the chance to live a normal teenage life. It was always school-work-home, school-work-home, and the cycle goes on. And then she meets Dax, the cute guy from the wedding chapel owned by Grandpa Jim’s rival, Victor Cranston. So now you see the resemblance to R&J: Family rivalry.
The romance in this novel is lovable and amusing. Who would have thought that the love of your life is just next-door, or in Holly’s case, at the next-door chapel? Dax and Holly’s conversations gave me happy feels. But most of all, their relationship felt so genuine and believable! Sure, Dax and Holly have a lot of sweet moments; nevertheless, they also have ups and downs especially when chapel business interferes. And yet they hold on and find a way to make their relationship work. Readers would be delighted to feast their eyes on Dax’s swoon-worthy lines that will make them smile for days.
Aside from the romance and family feud, The Chapel Wars addresses other issues such as grief and divorce. Those put a beautiful balance to the comical aspect of the story. What’s more, it is through those issues that the characters’ flaws and vulnerability become apparent. It’s wonderful how the delicate subject matters illustrate the inner struggles of the characters that make them well rounded and relatable.
The Chapel Wars is a charming contemporary YA written with humor and heart. Rom-com fans would definitely enjoy this book!