Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Review: The Chapel Wars
Author: Lindsey Leavitt
Published: May 6th, 2014
Hardcover, 304 pages
4 Gold Stars
(summary from Goodreads)
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 Holly 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 concept of this book really did it for me. It sounded fun and kitschy, and it was all that and more. This book had heart, laughter and the kind of family love we all hope for. When Holly's grandfather leaves her his wedding chapel, she's not sure what to do. She's too young to be managing a chapel, a whole life ahead of her that is suddenly changed. She soon finds out that the chapel is losing money and if they can't make it soon, they will have to shut down. The other part that doesn't make sense to her is that her grandfather wants her to give a letter to the grandson of his notorious enemy, the owner of the chapel next door. It's everything Holly's grandpa hated and yet when she walks in, knowing she will hate it in there, she finds Dax, the grandson, and can't help her attraction to him. Sounds like a typical Romeo and Juliet story, but this is more of a family story, a story about grief, acceptance, and learning to love what you've got. Plus, yes, some really cute romance.
Leavitt sold me after reading her first novel, Going Vintage. I knew she had a unique style, funny characters and great story lines. This one is just as unique, giving me a glimpse into a world I know nothing about. Wedding chapels in Vegas to me scream cheese (kind of like Dax's grandpa's) but Holly's grandpa knew how to make getting married in Vegas romantic and even I would get married at his chapel. Holly's love for her grandpa is wonderful and flew off the pages with every word. Even though her grandpa is already dead at the beginning of the book, he is just as much a character as Holly or Dax or her parents or brother. I fell in love with this world and struggled along with Holly as she tried to raise money to keep the chapel open. Holly makes some mistakes and she learns the hard way for a lot of things, and she certainly isn't perfect and her relationship with Dax takes many turns for the worse, but to me that made her real and I loved every one of her imperfections.
Her and Dax were adorable. Though they had their issues, the two of them went together perfectly. Their moments together were sweet, like hanging out in Dax's chapel in the Twilight room. And Dax is with her every step of the way as she raises money to save the chapel. The drama is just dramatic enough and the resolution put a smile on my face and left me loving the book. The chapel became something so much more to Holly and through her grieving process, she learned more about herself and her grandpa that she ever could have thought. This was a great story about loss and love, of forgiving and moving on. A very good coming-of-age story for anyone who likes the glittering lights of Las Vegas.
"I guess its hard to be the villain without a hero."
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