Happy Flashback Friday, Reading Nook readers!
Today, I'm reviewing the fabulous Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt.
I had an insane amount of fun reading this zippy, hilarious book about two warring wedding chapels, and I can't wait for you to read it too.
(Better yet, get this as a gift for someone too!)
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Format Read: ARC via Publisher
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.
Sixteen-year-old Holly Nolan is not your average teenager. She lives in Las Vegas, her family runs a notable wedding chapel on the Strip, and surprise, surprise - she's just been given control of the chapel in her grandfather's will. But her grandfather's legacy comes with a surprise. They're is in debt, and if Holly doesn't manage to pay off the money owed, she'll lose the chapel forever.
Now, thanks to the help of an unexpected (and very cute!) ally, and well-meaning friends and family members who are as equally loving as infuriating, Holly's on a mission to prove that she was given the chapel for a reason, and she can save their future.
Like her debut novel, Leavitt manages to write a funny and charming story, with wonderful writing and thoughtful moments that keep readers laughing and thinking. Holly gamely takes on the surprising discovery of having been given the chapel, with tenacity, inventiveness and the occasional stubborn streak, which will instantly make her likable to all readers.
Even as Holly faces the needs of the chapel and her own personal life with a snarky humor that made me like her more with every page, Leavitt never loses sight of the fact that this is a girl who is being asked to do difficult, challenging things, as she also figures out who she wants to be. We see her struggle to understand things that grown adults would find challenging, but we also see her mature and take strength from her grandfather's love and enduring legacy.
The book is made all the better by Leavitt's cast of wonderful secondary characters. Holly's chemistry with Dax is electric, and readers will undoubtedly like the fact that it's Holly and not years of family rivalry, which dictates the ins and outs of their relationship. Holly's family is both warm and infuriating, and readers can easily see how it's the warmth and genuine love of their family dynamic, which inspired Holly's grandfather to set all of these events into motion in the first place.
Also, as a wonderful bonus, Leavitt clearly knows Vegas, and includes some wonderful real-world landmarks in the book - e.g. the Neon Sign Museum. She does such a good job of bringing the setting to life, I was inspired to follow in Holly and Dax's footsteps when I was in Vegas for ALA, and check out some of their sites.
Leavitt has not only written a smart, thoughtful story on a girl who takes charge of some seriously difficult situations without waiting for someone to rescue her, it's also a thoughtful tale on making your own judgements of situation and people. Holly is fabulously snarky with a good head on her shoulders, and she also has the type of loyalty, and gumption that I would want all of the younger readers in my life to look up to, and to emulate.
I highly recommend this book for all fans of YA contemporary fiction, but also for people who are looking for a tale with great characters, a cute romance and wonderful life lessons. I also recommend this book for fans of Meg Cabot and Kasie West.
About the author:
Lindsey Leavitt is a former elementary school teacher and present day writer/mom to three (mostly) adorable little girls. She is married to her high school lab partner and lives in Las Vegas. She is the author of the PRINCESS FOR HIRE series (www.princessforhire.com), SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD and GOING VINTAGE
Visit her on the web at www.lindseyleavitt.com