Just Finished Reading ... The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt

The Chapel Wars
by Lindsey Leavitt
To be published by Bloomsbury
on May 6, 2014

Source: giveaway at ALA
Synopsis 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 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.

My take:  Charming! This might be a premise I've seen before in rom-coms -- girl inherits a failing business and must make a go of it -- but the quirky Vegas setting and the unique, well-developed characters really make The Chapel Wars shine.

Holly's not a rom-com girly girl. She's got short hair, she's a math whiz, and she hangs out with a group of guys. When Holly's adored grandfather dies and dumps his albatross of an asset on her, Holly's not one to back down from a challenge, so she's determined to keep his wedding chapel going.

Like Going Vintage, this author's previous book, The Chapel Wars features a complex and realistically flawed family. Holly's parents seem amicably divorced, but Holly's not sure that's possible. Their family also includes Holly's snarky college-aged sister and her absolutely hilarious evil younger brother. James cracked me up -- I want to read his book in a few years.

Then there's the book's romance. Yes, it was a tad insta-lovey, but I don't usually have an issue with that. Plus, all Dax and Holly's encounters featured lots of adorable banter. As the synopsis indicates, this couple's relationship is complicated by the fact that their grandfathers were business rivals and arch-enemies. Dax is also reeling from a recent family tragedy, a sad event that's got him making some questionable choices.

Given all the serious issues -- death, divorce, financial troubles -- that The Chapel Wars addresses, I was happy that it didn't try to be a sappy, happy romantic contemporary. The book's ending definitely left some problems unresolved. But this isn't a sad book either. I was smiling at Holly and Dax's adorableness and laughing out loud at some of the really funny things in the book -- James, some of the themed wedding chapels, and Holly's relationships with her guy friends.

If you love contemporaries that are a good blend of serious and funny, of romantic and realistic, definitely check The Chapel Wars Out.


  1. Oh how adorable is this?! I like sound of the romance between Dax and Holly. :)

  2. I love contemporaries that are a blend of serious and funny. Lauren recently reviewed this and it made me think I might enjoy this one, and now I'm definitely going to have to get a copy.

  3. Awe, this sounds sooo good. I like a romance that has some humor to go with it. Great review, I'm glad that you enjoy it. :)

  4. I love Leavitt's writing. It's always sweet, fun but with real emotions.

    Can't wait to read this one.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

  5. I have both of her books on my list! Looks really cute and charming :)

  6. I'm into romance so I think this one will charm me away!

  7. I have seen this one around. It sounds like a good one. Thanks for sharing :) Great review :)

  8. This sounds really fun but I like how there is a lot of emotional appeal as well. I'm not a huge fan of open endings but I'll probably end up reading this one!

  9. Sounds cute and romantic! But I am also not a big fan of those open endings, so I don't know if I want to read it or not.

  10. Aww, yay! I really want to read this one so I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  11. I love adorable banter! Glad to hear you enjoyed this one =) I read Leavitt's first book, Sean Griswolds Head, and loved her ability to mix humor with serious situations. Looking forward to picking up a copy of this!

  12. Glad you liked this one! I really enjoyed Going Vintage so I had high hopes for Chapel Wars. Earlier today I actually read a post by Leavitt talking about this book and how she wrote it during a low point in her life. That post left me wanting to read it even more and then I read your review and now I feel like I have to go buy it!


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