Publishing Info: May 6, 2014 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 24, 2014
Related Posts: Going Vintage, Sean Griswold's Head
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.
I really loved GOING VINTAGE, the first Lindsey Leavitt book I had read (although not the first one she’s written), so I was really excited when I saw promo for her newest book, THE CHAPEL WARS. The concept is way cute with two Las Vegas chapels duking it out to earn more business and heck, even STAY in business, especially in the case of Holly and her family’s chapel once her grandfather passes away.
THE CHAPEL WARS didn’t disappoint me in it cuteness. Holly was a great main character, balancing the line between kid and adult — she’s heavily invested in the family business of running the Rose of Sharon chapel and attending school and doing regular teenager-y things. When her grandfather passes away, she gets a big surprise about the chapel and ends up with even more weight on her shoulders, feeling personally responsible to save it from going out of business.
THE CHAPEL WARS was a lot of fun to read, but given that I had such a strong connection in GOING VINTAGE, it fell juuuust a bit shy of a new favorite for me. I really appreciated the strong family dynamics in GOING VINTAGE and unfortunately, Holly doesn’t have that same luxury, especially with the one person in her family with whom she really connected — her grandfather — just recently passing. I know, I know, not fair to compare an author’s previous book because it’s an entirely different work, but the fact is that fans come to know that book well and there is a certain expectation established whether anyone intends it to be there or not!
The romance in this book was just plain fun. I loved the back and forth between Holly and Dax and how they came from different backgrounds and yet so much of their current situations overlap. They’re both able to help each other through hard times while at the same time dealing with some pretty serious situations with their own family… And the fact that their families hate each other. It was a lot of fun to see these two kids try to work together and at the same time, stressful (but fun to read) because you just knew something was bound to explode if they kept on seeing each other! How very Romeo and Juliet! I really enjoyed the forbidden romance, though, and these two just fit together so well.
I loved the Vegas setting in the book! I went to Vegas for the first time — oh my gosh, it was four years ago already! — and I had a blast envisioning where these two chapels were in reference to the strip as well as a few references to the hotels and a smashing Ocean’s 11/fountain at the Bellagio reference (LOVE). It was a very visually dynamic book and I had so much fun putting myself back in that setting!
THE CHAPEL WARS didn’t skyrocket to an instant favorite but it was so much fun to read. Easy, breezy, and super cute with a romance to swoon for a family to root for. I definitely recommend this one!
“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Holly // Character Obsessions: Saving the chapel, family, numbers, Dax.
I loved Holly’s nerdy side (she does go to a school for advanced learning) and how that really showed up in her personality. She’s very responsible and organized but also has a great personality and doesn’t come off as a goody-goody which is a relief to me! I love nerdy, but too conservative gets on my nerves. I admire her dedication to her family’s business! I honestly don’t think I could have taken that on.
Dax // Character Obsessions: Colorful pants, working, having fun, Holly.
Dax was adorable. He was fun-loving, had great chemistry with Holly, and we find out that he also has his own personal demons, which actually brings Holly and him closer. I really loved his part in this book and such a fun love interest!
Kept Me Hooked On: Vegas, baby! I loved the Las Vegas setting! It’s just not something you see a lot of in YA, presumably because there’s a limited amount of things for teens to do there! It was so fun to see that adapted to a younger age group than 20-somethings and it totally worked!
Left Me Wanting More: Character connection. Not to say that there wasn’t enough character development — not at all — I just didn’t connect with this one as much as I had with Mallory in Going Vintage and I think that’s the only reason why it wasn’t an instant favorite. I really enjoyed so much about it but it’s not like I can relate so much to every single character!
So much fun, just light and breezy. This is going to be a great spring/summer read and I highly recommend it for a lot of fun!
(Click the cover to see my review!)