Kate Kennedy and her two best friends have been invited by her Aunt Sue to spend winter break in one of her condos in the ski resort of Snow Angel Valley, Colorado. The girls are thrilled to have a house all to themselves and eager to hit the slopes for some fun. They didn't know that Aunt Sue had invited Kate's brother, Sam too. Now Kate is stuck sharing living space with her annoying brother, but it just might be worth it when she sees that Sam has brought his gorgeous roommate, Brad. Kate has had a major crush on Brad for months, and now she has the perfect opportunity to get him to notice her. So why is it that Sam's other friend, Joe, is becoming more appealing to her by the day?
Love on the Lifts is a sweet, young-adult romance that celebrates the wonder of first loves. High school senior, Kate, the main protagonist and first-person narrator of the story, takes her two best friends to a ski resort to stay in a condo owned by her aunt, where they are unexpectedly joined by her college freshman brother and his two friends. Needless to say everyone finds someone to romance during a fun-filled winter break.
Kate was a very likable heroine. She seemed like a pretty typical girl in her late teens. She harbors some mild self-confidence issues and teen angst. Once I realized that Kate's huge crush, Brad, her brother's roommate, is a player who can also be a bit of a jerk, it could have been easy to want Kate to just get over him and open her eyes to Joe, the other, better guy right in front of her, but in my opinion, her being stuck on Brad was never overdone. She does a great deal of thinking about whether he's really worth pursuing, as well as pondering what she really feels for Joe. In fact, I liked that Kate took the time to carefully consider a relationship and ended up making a wise and admirable choice in the end. I also couldn't help but sympathize with her conflicting feelings and confusion as I remembered the romances of my own youth. Even though the events took place pretty quickly over just a few weeks time, I liked that Kate and Joe built a friendship and got to know each other before anything of a more romantic nature took place. It was just really sweet that they came to realize how well-suited they were for each other and how much they simply enjoyed each other's company.
In addition to the romantic relationships, Love on the Lifts also had an uplifting take on the relationships between family and friends. Kate has a close bond with her aunt, with whom she has spent many a winter break, but she learns a few new things about her this trip. Kate fights with her brother, Sam, as siblings are often wont to do, but even they have a few more loving moments that come as a bit of a pleasant surprise to Kate. Her best friends, Allie and Leah, have very different personalities, but they all get along wonderfully and support each other unconditionally.
As a parent, I would say that Love on the Lifts is appropriate for the young-adult audience at which it is aimed. I counted a sum total of only three mild profanities. Not surprisingly, since the plot revolves around three guys and three girls sharing the same house without adult supervision on site, there are some implications of possible hanky-panky going on behind closed doors, but absolutely nothing explicit within the text. Even the kisses (the only thing that does take place on canvas) are pretty sweet and tender without getting too sensual. Aside from Brad, who only seems to be out for a fling, all the other relationships are rooted in loving feelings (not just sex), even though I'll admit that most of those feeling came about pretty quickly. Not to mention, all the couples plan to continue their newfound romances long-term. Because of the implied sexual content though, I would probably only recommend it for more mature teens. On the up side, I thought the book had a very good message about love being more than a surface attraction, and that one must look deeper to find something more genuine and lasting.
Love on the Lifts is a fast-paced, easy read. It was a fairly simple and predictable story, but I thoroughly enjoyed it anyway. It may have been a lighter, more upbeat novel than what I typically read, but I thought the author managed to infuse it with just enough emotion to keep it real and believable. I've previously read Rachel Hawthorne writing adult romances as Lorraine Heath, and I'd have to say this book was definitely a different style and tone from what I'm used to seeing from this author, but still enough alike that I could discern hints of her other style. It seems that no matter which name she is writing under, Ms. Hawthorne has me entranced by her story-telling skills, and I'll definitely be picking up another of her books when I'm in the mood for something a bit lighter.
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