Our book this month is The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt. We SC girls love Ms. Leavitt, and it’s no surprise that this book was as fun as Lindsey’s others.
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 she 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. (Goodreads)
This book is absolutely adorable. One of the sweetest elements is the close relationship Holly has with her dearly departed grandfather. While we only get to know him through flashbacks and through the letters and instructions he’s left, Grandpa is a major force in the family, and he’s the strongest influence on Holly. Their relationship is one of trust and tenderness, and Holly’s love for him propels her forward in her attempt to achieve the near-impossible odds her grandpa hoped she’d be able to beat.
This sparked a conversation among our blogs about books with special grandparent relationships. Here’s what we came up with:
Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt– Mallory makes a decision to live life as though it was 1962, her grandmother’s heyday (you know, the sixties. Back when life was so simple). One of the great things here is the understanding it brings Mallory about who her grandmother is, what she truly went through. They’re able to see just how alike (and how different) they are.
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson– Lennie is being raised by her grandmother, one of the kookiest women in town. Their family is a beautiful blend of oddballs, passionate and quirky, full of grief and pain as they grapple with the untimely death of Lennie’s older sister, Bailey, and the constant absence of the girls’ ever-wandering mother.
The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot– Yep, I went there. Grandmere is not your stereotypical grandmother. She does not bake cookies for Mia and tell her how much she wuvs her little sweetie. She’s a chain-smoking, side-car drinking, elitist who has tattooed eyeliner and curses in French. She’s been given the task of teaching Mia how to be royal once the truth of her heritage comes out, and the lessons are pure torture. But there’s an element of sweetness to their encounters, humor balanced with Grandmere’s strict demands, and it all makes their relationship solid. They actually have some quite touching moments.
What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick– Gwen’s grandfather lives in a tiny home with her and her mother, little brother, and cousin. He’s always mooning over his long-dead wife, offering Gwen advice, knowing when to speak and when to be silent, but it’s very clear that her grandfather has many beautiful lessons to share, and a sort of unconditional love Gwen isn’t always accustomed to receiving.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman– After the death of Mia’s parents it’s clear that her grandma and grandpa will be her caretakers, if she chooses to live. There are lovely flashbacks of vivid yet simple moments, especially ones with Mia’s grandfather, and there is the most heart wrenching scene where her grandfather is sitting at her hospital bedside giving her permission to let go if she must. You will cry a thousand ugly tears, but you’ll believe in that bond with all your heart.
Time Between Us/Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone- These books have an especially interesting element because Bennett is a time traveler. Years earlier, when Bennett was little, his mother and grandmother had a terrible falling out. The family never saw her again because she died, leaving Bennett’s mom to live with the regret of that grudge. But Bennett is able to find Grandma Maggie. He visits her in the 90’s where she is alive and well. She has no idea it’s her grandson (who in her real life is a tiny baby living in San Francisco). It speaks volumes about Bennett that he wants to spend time with Maggie in any way possible and that he wants to love her and be loved by her, even if it’s under a different identity than his own.
Confessions of The Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford– This is the story of the insanely wealthy Sullivan family, headed by their grandmother, someone who is a bit like Grandmere from TPD. She’s smart and conniving and when she tells her family she’s soon to die and is cutting the family out of her will because one of them has deeply offended her, all three granddaughters are convinced it’s them. It’s a very cute, funny story about an extremely quirky, messed up family.
Please be sure to visit my amazing blogging partners and check out their features today.
The Book Addict’s Guide- Page to Screen
The Grown Up YA- Roundtable Discussion
Teen Lit Rocks- Author Interview & Giveaway
Many thanks to Bloomsbury who sent us all copies of The Chapel Wars.