Published by Bloomsbury on 06 May 14
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
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Place(s) Traveled To: Las Vegas, Nevada
First Line(s): Inheritance. I hate that word. Translation: Sorry someone you love kicked the bucket; now here’s your present.
The Chapel Wars is the newest contemporary book from Lindsey Leavitt who wrote Sean Griswold’s Head and Going Vintage, both of which I loved. I really enjoy Leavitt’s unique blend of serious and humor and was really looking forward to The Chapel Wars. As with her previous books this one is filled with a witty and eclectic bunch of characters and I really liked how well they all blended together. They all felt real and that is always a plus in a story. I especially enjoyed Sam and Camille and Holly’s little brother. I also mostly liked Holly but there were many instances when her actions just annoyed me. She was so focused and so wrapped up in saving the chapel that she often lost sight of the things around her. It made me dislike her grandfather a little for putting such a big burden on such young shoulders.
Fortunately, Holly does have a good group of friends to help her (and to try to keep her grounded) as well as Dax. Dax is a sweetheart and I love that Leavitt doesn’t fall into the bad boy cliche in books. I like that she has good, sweet boys in her story as they do exist in the world. And these sweet boys can be just as good, if not better, than that bad boy filled with attitude. The only problem with Dax is that he is the grandson of the owner of a rival chapel. This brings in some tension to the story as Victor is not the nicest of people.
Overall, I found The Chapel Wars to be a cute and quick read but for me there was something missing to the story. It felt a little unfinished and a bit rushed at the end. I didn’t get those heart achy feels that I normally get with a Lindsey Leavitt book and so that left me a bit sad. The writing was good and it made me crack a smile or two but I just didn’t love it as much as Leavitt’s previous books. I think part of this does go back to Holly’s grandfather leaving her the chapel and telling her that it was up to her to save the family legacy. With Holly only 17 this was just too much for her and I think that maybe this story would have read better for me if she was in her 20s or 30s.
Holly put so much pressure on herself to save her family’s business that she often forgot that she was still a kid and should be experiencing life. Not running a business and running herself into the ground as a result. Which is part of why I loved Dax so much as he got Holly to forget, if even for just a few hours at a time, all her worries and to just be a teenager. I liked his humor and how he and Holly worked. If nothing else that one character makes this book worthwhile so you should go forth and read it.