Book Review: The Chapel Wars

Posted June 9, 2014 by Kara in book review, Kara / 2 Comments

Book Review: The Chapel WarsThe Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt
Published by Bloomsbury on 2014-05-06
Genres: contemporary, young adult
Pages: 294
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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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 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.

This is my first experience reading a Lindsey Leavitt novel. All her others are on my TBR, but with me only reading review books lately, I haven’t gotten around to reading them. I even bought Going Vintage for Kindle, and I have Sean Griswold’s Head around here somewhere. I’m happy this was my first though. It wasn’t perfect or anything and I almost DNFed it, but it ended up being fun albeit not that memorable.

It’s funny, that as a person who enjoys gambling, I am completely uninterested in Las Vegas. And I kinda didn’t figure that out until I got about halfway through this book. It just seems to me that it’s a city in the middle of the desert with very little culture. I know it has an interesting history, but I feel like so much of it is contrived and gaudy. Just like the wedding chapels, which is what this story is based upon.

So there are two chapels next door to each other that have been around for a very long time. Ariel’s grandfather’s chapel has been there for 80 years. They pride themselves on classy weddings. None of that Elvisey themed weddings crap. That’s what the chapel next DOOR does. And they are at WAR with each other. The two proprietors hate each other, and even though a reason is never really given, I’m just supposed to roll with it.

And that, in a nutshell, is one of the main problems of this book. There is a lot of telling. The author explains to me how I SHOULD feel but I don’t see any evidence to feel that way. Like why should I think Dax and Ariel make a great couple? They don’t have much in the way of personalities. View Spoiler »

So I wasn’t impressed with the characters. The plot was very formulaic, but it was cute, and that is enough sometimes. But if I have a formulaic plot, I want something else that draws me in. Like characters or themes I love. A wonderful setting or brilliant writing. And this one was just decent for me. It was a good escape to kill a few hours, but it actually took me a while to become invested in, and I really wanted to put it down and read something else. I stuck it out, and I enjoyed some of it, but in the end, this is just a 3 for me because there is just not a lot memorable there and I can’t see myself recommending it to very many people.



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