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The Chapel Wars
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The Chapel Wars

3.6 5
by Lindsey Leavitt

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The chapels that Leavitt’s title refers to host weddings, not religious services, and they’re in Las Vegas. Holly’s grandfather has just left her the Rose of Sharon—which would be complicated enough, since Holly’s only 17—but the chapel’s in major debt, the rival chapel owner next door is always plotting his next move, and, inexplicably, Holly’s grandfather also left her a letter for Dax, the nasty neighbor’s adorable grandson. Leavitt (Going Vintage) is a Vegas native, and Holly is an effective tour guide not only for newcomer Dax, but also for readers who wonder what it’s like growing up in a place associated more with lost weekends than with proms. Dax is charming and a little lost, Holly’s a logical type who’s suspicious of emotion, and it’s fun to watch them fight their attraction and struggle with the feud between their families. While Grandpa Jim’s eccentricities are laid on a little thick, secondary characters like Holly’s brother James are well drawn, and Leavitt’s sense of place and ability to balance grief with hope make for an entertaining read. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary. (May)
From the Publisher

“You'll want to place your bets on Lindsey Leavitt's hilarious and heartfelt novel filled with family rivalry, forbidden love, life-changing secrets, and a hot boy dressed up like Cupid. Just like Vegas, The Chapel Wars kept me up all night.” —Elizabeth Eulberg, author of Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality

“Leavitt's sense of place and ability to balance grief with hope make for an entertaining read.” —Publishers Weekly

“Holly's story could almost be a sitcom. But the hilarity is tempered by moments of genuine feeling . . . Readers will root for her as she attempts to preserve her grandfather's dream while beginning to imagine her own.” —The Horn Book Magazine

“Leavitt creates some hilarious scenes . . . while maintaining a serious emotional tone . . . Recommend to readers who enjoy novels that blend light-hearted moments and gravitas.” —Booklist

The Chapel Wars stands alone as a funny, realistic, heartfelt novel that teens of all ages will enjoy.” —VOYA

“Payton's alternately sarcastic, snappy, and reflective narration carries this insightful story.” —Publishers Weekly on the ALA Best Book for Young Adults Sean Griswold's Head

“Lindsey Leavitt made me want to go vintage. Readers everywhere will identify with this smart and likable heroine, as well as her yearning for a simpler and (seemingly) less complicated time.” —Meg Cabot, New York Times bestselling author, on Going Vintage

“Lindsey Leavitt's best book yet. Mallory's voice is addictive! Going Vintage is witty, hilarious, real . . . impossible not to love!” —Becca Fitzpatrick, New York Times bestselling author of the Hush, Hush saga, on Going Vintage

“With perceptiveness and several fun plot twists, Leavitt's nuanced book is filled with quirky characters that readers will root for and believe in.” —Publishers Weekly on Going Vintage

VOYA, June 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 2) - Jen McIntosh
Holly has always been the responsible, hard-working grandchild, but it is still surprising when Grandpa Jim’s will leaves the sixteen-year-old his wedding chapel. Equally surprising is the letter she is supposed to hand deliver to a boy who just happens to be the grandson of her grandfather’s rival chapel owner and sworn enemy. Not at all suprising is that Holly falls in love with Dax, and the two must hide their Shakespearean romance from their families. Leavitt has written a funny, touching story of dysfunctional families and a loving grandfather’s last attempt to fix things. Holly is the perfect example of a leader: she makes hard decisions for the company, even if they go against her personal wishes, and she does so with strength and grace. She may be confused and lost on the inside, but she still takes control of the family business, and they trust her decisions. A good mix of funny and sad, the romance is just enough to be entertaining but not too much to overshadow the main story. Leavitt waits until the very last page before revealing Grandpa Jim’s letter to Dax, a strategy that works perfectly for readers’ appreciation of the book. In a world of trilogies, The Chapel Wars stands alone as a funny, realistic, heartfelt novel that teens of all ages will enjoy. Reviewer: Jen McIntosh; Ages 11 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
A teen struggles with loss and love in Las Vegas. The death of her Grandpa Jim sends Holly reeling—not just because she misses him greatly, but because he's also left her the Las Vegas wedding chapel they both loved. The Rose of Sharon Wedding Chapel employs Holly's family and friends, but it's on the verge of foreclosure if they can't make a lot of money, fast. That means compromising Grandpa Jim's values and making friends with the grandson of archenemy Victor Cranston, owner of the wedding chapel next door. Dax Cranston is different from his grandfather, and Holly finds herself falling for him. But with the chapel to save, grieving for her grandpa, dealing with her newly divorced parents and angry younger brother, and making time for school and her group of guy friends, Holly's got a lot to juggle. It might come down to a choice: saving the chapel or being with Dax. Although the threads of the various stories come together, there's just too much going on in this novel. Most characters come off as tropes instead of people, and nothing is explored deeply enough to offer new or interesting perspectives for readers to ponder. Leavitt's latest doesn't rise above the pack. (Fiction. 14-18)
Children's Literature - Annie Laura Smith
When Grandpa Jim dies, he leaves his granddaughter, sixteen-year-old Holly Evelyn Nolan, his failing Rose of Sharon Wedding Chapel on the Las Vegas strip. Grandpa expects her to make money with this endeavor despite the fact he left a massive debt with a three-month payment deadline. She will also have to compete with the wedding chapel next door—and deal with Dax, the grandson of the owners who becomes a distracting romantic interest. If she saves the Rose of Sharon Wedding Chapel, will she lose Dax? Join Holly on this venture as she tries to make Grandpa’s dream her own. Both family and friendship dynamics are shown well through action and dialogue. Las Vegas is also essentially a character, with the ‘behind-the-scenes’ actions of the city brought to life by the author who grew up in Vegas. This delightful story of self-discovery includes wit and grief, along with quirky characterizations of a disjointed family, friends, and place Reviewer: Annie Laura Smith; Ages 12 up.

Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
HL620L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet 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, Nevada. She is also the author of Sean Griswold's Head, Going Vintage, and the Princess for Hire series.
@Lindsey_Leavitt www.facebook.com/authorlindseyleavitt

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The Chapel Wars 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
UrbanGirlReview More than 1 year ago
Oh... This book was so, so bad.  I couldn't even finish it. First, Holly talks how much she loves her grandpa, but has no real emotion at the funeral for him.  Boring from the start, it does not get any better 60 pages in.  Transitions were horrific, it goes from her talking about two years ago when she was picking out a coffin with her grandpa, to suddenly the present and she's at his funeral.  And of course the villain, who is the rival chapel owner, is a dirty, drunken, vile man.      
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not a big Vegas girl, but I really enjoyed this one. There's more to Vegas than the strip and one big aspect of it is wedding chapels. When Holly's grandpa unexpectedly dies, he wills his chapel to her--that and the big debt associated with it. The Rose of Sharon Chapel is one of the more elegant ones, unlike the tacky chapel next door, owned by her grandpa's enemy. When Holly is asked to deliver a letter to the neighbor's grandson as part of the will, she soon learns that things won't ever be the same. Changes are in store for both the chapel and her personal life. I loved how Holly used to brains to figure out ways to save the chapel. She got creative and did things that had the long-time secretary frowning in disapproval, but sometimes change is good and in a place like Vegas, change is inevitable. I loved Holly's group of friends--even though they're not the most conventional people, they are loyal and fun. I especially loved the Southern boy, Dax. He's someone who is definitely comfortable in his own skin, but I was a little disappointed in the way he chose to deal with his personal pain. The story was fun and unique and as always, I really enjoy this author's writing! Content: some language (mostly mild); mild violence; teen drinking/partying; talk of hooking up, lots of kissing, but not too graphic. Clean.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book does Vegas right!
Take_Me_AwayPH More than 1 year ago
   When I heard about this book I was a little weirded out... A YA book about wedding chapels? But then I saw the cover and all that went out the window lol I had to read it regardless of the synopsis. And low and behold I really enjoyed it. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but at the same time, like i said, it's a YA book about wedding chapels....      The Nolan's and the Cranston's work right across from each other in rival wedding chapels in Las Vegas, Nevada.The rivalry starts with Jim Nolan and Victor Cranston and flows back to Holly Nolan (Jim's granddaughter) and Dax (Victor's grandson). Right up until now. Dax and Holly meet at Jim's funeral and as they fall for each other things start to change into something they were never expecting.       Holly is very hard headed. She reminded me a little of myself. Once I get something in my head, I'm going to go all out until I can fix it. And that's what she was like. She knew all the drama that was going on with that chapel and she knew that it was her responsibility. She did everything she could to keep it. Even if it meant doing things she vowed (pun not intended) she'd never do. I really respected that about her. For her to be seventeen, she really was a mature, respectable woman.      As for Dax, I'm not sure how I felt about him exactly. I had found a thousand ways to dislike him, but he found a thousand and one ways to prove to me that he was a god guy. I think it was just his family getting to me. I mean I know he was a realist, but at the same time, he said it in a way that seemed just plain mean. I guess I identified with Holly and her trying to like save it and all, and Dax just seemed like a pessimist there to pop her balloon.       Them together was hilarious though. There are so many laugh out loud moments. Let me just say "Hello Kitty", "Cupid", and Paranormal Paradises with cardboard cutouts of Edward Cullen. Yes all this happens in this book lmao        This was everything I was expecting it NOT to be. And I mean that in the best way possible. With this as my first book by Leavitt, I'm sure it won't be my last. This Rom Com is one I'm sure to be talking about for awhile. 
kimberlyfaye More than 1 year ago
"I think living here has taught me to keep my expectations low and to appreciate those moments when life proves you wrong. Or right." After the loss of her grandfather, Holly learns he's willed her the Vegas wedding chapel he owned, the one she's been working at with him. What she doesn't know is just how badly the chapel is struggling. She's incredibly dedicated to making the chapel succeed; It's like home to her. She feels a strong tie to it and goes to great lengths to try to save it. The major wrench in the works is Dax Cranston, grandson of her grandfather's biggest competition (and enemy, for that matter)! She meets Dax at her grandfather's funeral and is immediately drawn to him. Her grandfather left her a letter and a request to deliver it to Dax, much to her chagrin. She's intrigued by the good-looking guy, but he's the enemy... or is he? They spend some time getting to know each other and neither of them can deny the pull they feel to the other. "A lot of things end badly. But that doesn't mean you don't start something anyway." One of the things that I loved most about this book is that it didn't have the "love at first sight" so common in books these days. Sure, there was an interest, a flicker, when they first saw each other, but that's normal. They didn't fall in love in a matter of days or minutes. More than anything, they were drawn together and repeatedly put in each other's paths. They took the time to get to know each other, and even then there was some resistance because of the situation with their families. But neither of them put up too much of a fight. One of my favorite scenes was when Holly took Dax to the Neon Boneyard. I have to say, my own feelings for Vegas more closely mirror Dax's dislike for the fakeness than Holly's love of nearly everything about it, but the Neon Boneyard is the one exception for me. I loved everything about that place. The history, the feeling, everything. Lindsay captured it all so well in this book. It made me want to go back to Vegas – words I never thought I'd think, let alone type. This book focused a lot on "old Vegas" and I really liked that. "We glowed at each other. Beamed. Radiated. I did not know that like could be like this. Like love, just not fully realized. I did not love this boy, because to love someone is to know them. But every moment I was with him made me happy, and every moment I wasn't with him, a small piece of me wondered what he was doing, like there was a satellite in our hearts." As the competition between the chapels heats up and the mortgage payment deadline nears, Holly and Dax's relationship is also coming into its own. I adored these two together. They had a sweet, innocent "first love" vibe that was perfectly charming, and perfect for this book. What they shared had developed over time and under some tough circumstances and I couldn't help but root for them. They were so great on their own, but they were that much better together. Could it ever work between them? I hoped so. "I would date Dax. I would save the chapel. It wasn't an either-or for me. I wanted an and." "Really, numbers girl. You couldn't count all the ways you have my heart." I love-love-loved Holly. She was a great, strong, determined and smart girl. She was loyal to her friends and family and she had a great relationship with both. She didn't rely on a guy or anyone else to save her. She had an incredible business-sense for a 16 year old and I hoped with all I had she could save the chapel (and her family) and get the guy in the end. I love a strong heroine and Holly certainly fell into that category. Dax was such a sweet guy, but he wasn't perfect. He had some issues with alcohol and his family life wasn't at all like Holly's. He made mistakes and I wanted to shake some sense into him at times, but he was so sincere and honest – so real – that I couldn't help but like him. "Maybe happy isn't forever. Maybe it's just moments, and you save them up and hold on for all the in-betweens." The Chapel Wars was a great young adult contemporary read. It was so much more than a romance and so much more than what I was expecting, which was a fun and charming novel. This story had some drama and a wee bit of angst, but it just served to make the story more believable. It was never too much for me. The characters were real and easy to love – right down to the secondary characters of Sam, Camille and Donna, the romance was sweet and the focus on family was something you don't see in many young adult novels, but it's what really sealed the deal for me. This was a book I read cover to cover without any desire to put it down because I was that hooked on the story and these fantastic characters. It's high on my list of favorite young adult books of the year, so far. I have a feeling it will remain there, too. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. All quotes come from the review copy and may differ from the final version.