Author: Lindsey Leavitt
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Publication Date: May 2014
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Contemporary
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis can be found here.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Holly misses her Grandpa, who died and left her his Las Vegas Wedding Chapel. He also left her a ton of debt and a lot of work ahead. And a letter to Dax- grandson of the rival chapel’s owner. What could her Grandpa need to say to Dax? And how can she save her family’s chapel, when the bank is closing in? Can she trust the enemy?
Leavitt does it again. The Chapel Wars is a great story filled with fun characters and Las Vegas heart. I love Holly, who counts everything from tiles to numbers of steps to breaths. I love how organized she is, how business minded she is, how goal oriented she is. I love her will and drive to do anything to save her chapel. Most of all, I like her soft edges. The weight of the family is on her shoulders, everyone is disagreeing with her, she isn’t sure what she’s doing but she has to try. And maybe fall in love? Brave girl.
Dax is charming. Funny and quirky, he’s super patient with Holly, trying gallantly to balance their budding friendship and the hatred that his grandfather has towards her family. It’s a real Romeo & Juliet, only in Vegas. And the best part of Dax? He’s not some push over. I liked how he stands up for himself to Holly, how loyal he is but he refuses to be pushed around. That kid has some backbone.
What I loved the most? How Leavitt tackles death. Holly’s beloved Grandfather has died and she is left picking up the pieces. The scenes at the funeral, the broken glasses, the instructions, broke my heart. Holly’s grief is so tangible, I felt my own memories rearing up, reminding me of my time in her place. But, just like real life, the world keeps turning and Holly is propelled almost immediately into running a business. It was so true, something happens every day to people who grieve, that we forget how hard it is to not have enough time to figure out their lives have changed and how can they move forward. Instead, its expected for them to get up, brush themselves off, and plunge right back in. Like Holly.
The secondary characters are all well drawn out. I especially loved Holly’s two friends who are going out with each other. And Dax’s grandfather is a strong character, not to be ignored. They all seemed so real to me, like if I drove the 6 miles to Vegas, I could find them, outside, sharing their parking lot, screaming at each other in various Elvis costumes and sequins.
The story is tender and sweet and romantic. It has a nice weight to it, heavier than some other fluffy contemporary romances out there.
Rating 8 Cookie Worthy