Sweet Valley Twins #8: First Place

The Moral of the Story: All girls love horses.

The Big Deal: Sleepover at Lila’s


Elizabeth has recently become obsessed with horses and she’s just started taking riding lessons. Coincidentally, Lila Fowler’s rich daddy has just bought her a horse. Because all little girls love horses, Lila suddenly has a million new friends who all want to come to the stable to see Thunder the horse. Lila, basking in the glow of all the attention she’s receiving, asks Liz to write an article about her and Thunder. This makes Liz furious for some reason, but Jessica tells her she should suck it up and maybe she’ll get to meet the horse. Just as Jessica predicted, Liz tells Lila she’ll do the article and Lila invites Liz to the stable.

Lila takes Liz to meet Thunder, and I just want to mention the spare set of riding clothes she lets Liz wear. This getup includes:

  • Stetson hat
  • Wool-challis shirt
  • Matching silk bandana
  • Riding pants
  • Belt with mother-of-pearl buckle
  • Buckskin vest
  • Chaps
  • Calfskin boots

My goodness. Liz puts on all this ridiculousness and marvels that it all fits so well. Anyway, it’s love at first sight when Liz meets Thunder for the first time. She rides him around like a pro, even though she’s only had one lesson. She has the time of her life, but then she has to talk to Lila about newspaper stuff, and she hates Lila. However, she knows that if she’s nice, Lila might let her see Thunder again. So she starts hanging out with Lila all the time and letting the Unicorns copy her homework. This is scandalous stuff for Elizabeth Wakefield.

Lila mentions that she needs someone to groom and exercise Thunder every day, and Liz immediately volunteers. She begins spending all her free time at the stable, and everyone thinks she’s Thunder’s owner. This causes great inner turmoil (the Liz Wakefield brand of turmoil): Liz feels bad for deceiving everyone, but she still doesn’t tell anyone the truth. As for me, I don’t see why it matters who Thunder belongs to. There’s a contest coming up for riders. Liz really wants to enter, but she doesn’t think she can since she’s not Thunder’s owner. Blarg.

One night, the twins are at the stable and they meet the new stable boy. His name is Ted and he’s smitten with Liz. Jessica is jealous. She is also jealous of all the time Lila and Liz have been spending together. She gets uber pissed when Liz is invited to a sleepover at Lila’s. Of course, it’s not like Liz has any fun. All the Unicorns want to do is gossip and watch music videos. (What does Liz do at slumber parties? That sounds about right to me…) When they start making fun of Amy and saying no boy will ever like her, Liz blurts out that Ken Matthews kissed Amy at Julie Porter’s party last week. She’s immediately sorry because the kiss was supposed to be a secret, and she asks the Unicorns to promise they won’t say anything. Yeah, right.

Ted the stable boy has become friends with Steven and he comes over to the Wakefield house for dinner one night. Naturally, it comes out that Liz is not Thunder’s owner. She’s beyond humiliated. Ted doesn’t give a crap and thinks Liz should enter the contest anyway. Liz is super excited about the contest, but she doesn’t tell anyone but Amy.

Bored….bored bored bored.

Finally, the day of the competition arrives. After school, the Unicorns start making kissy sounds at Amy. Lila says Liz told them all about Amy and Ken kissing at Julie’s party. Amy gets pissed and blabs about Liz and the riding competition. Both angry, Amy and Lila rush to the stable to yell at Liz. But before anyone gets a chance to say anything to her, Liz goes off on Lila and tells her she’s sick of pretending to like her. She says Thunder would be sure to win the competition, but it’s too bad because Liz isn’t going to ride him even though she really wants to. She stalks off, followed by Amy, who is too awed by Liz’s sacrifice to be mad anymore. Lila calls after Liz and tries to convince her to compete, but Liz won’t do it because she knows Lila just wants the trophy. Who cares? Just ride the damned horse. But you know Liz and her boring morals. Ted enters the competition instead, Thunder wins and Ted offers to buy Thunder from Lila. Yay.

Setup for the next book: A girl from the wrong side of the tracks wants to join the Sixers. Caroline Pearce does not approve.


The car pulled into the curved driveway and stopped in front of the Fowlers’ Georgian house. Elizabeth admired the formal boxwood garden and the long, manicured lawn. But there was something missing, she thought. For all its perfect beauty, it just didn’t look like the kind of place she could call home.

That’s because a house just isn’t a home unless it’s a split-level ranch on Calico Drive, right?

The Cover: Liz looks like she learned that pose from an angry dominatrix, but look at the grip she’s got on that whip! I think she really wants to beat the crap out of Lila and her weird long neck.



  • Megan April 13, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Wow, Lila’s hair has ALWAYS fallen like that and she’s ALWAYS had that “bitch please” look on her face.

    God I love Lila.


  • MV April 13, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    I agree, my first thought when I saw this cover was that Liz totally looks like an enraged dominatrix about to whip her sub!

    What’s up with Lila’s mansion being “Georgian”? Wasn’t it always described as her “Spanish-style mansion”?


  • Amiee April 13, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    It’s like every YA series had to throw in a girl loves horse storyline, is it ever mentioned again that Liz is an awesome rider!


    MV Reply:

    Probably not … there is a book much later on about Liz helping some other awesome horse rider out though …


  • Sonnie April 14, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    I love Lila so much! When I read this book, I too was wondering why Liz was such a turd at the slumber party. Didn’t Liz and Enid bake cookies when they had a slumber party in HS? Boring… I’m surprised that in SV Confidential Liz and Enid didn’t scissor at least once or twice, instead of her brother Steven.


  • Darren April 14, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    I already know what chapter 9 is about: THe Rizzo family moves in the area. Anthony (Tony) is a juvanille delinquent literally and gets into a scrap with Steven all because Steven did what Elizabeth suggested in being nice to the family. THen everybody is barred from seeing the Rizzo family because of Tony’s action while Sophia is just an innocent girl out of all this. Mrs. Rizzo is a hard working mom and she’s quite nice. Sophia is nice, but later on, has a guarded side because of Tony getting in trouble. What resolves the issue is a play Sophia draws up, and it teaches Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield a valuable lesson at the end. OH, and Jessica wanted to go to some show, but Elizabeth was going so the twins did their old twin switch just so Elizabeth can give Sophia a party while the parents are not home.


    Shannon Reply:

    Guess I can take next week off!


  • liesel April 16, 2011 at 6:48 am

    ha! i remember this book being far more interesting than this as a kid; it sounds possitively yawnsome now though =o!
    Found your à la dominatrix Liz description kinda funny though, albeit very image disturbing, lol.


  • Erin April 18, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    I love Lila, but why is her head always titled at a weird angle on all the covers, even SVH??


  • Anners April 18, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    You’re recapping the SVT series now? YESSSSS!!!


  • pibetaalpha September 3, 2011 at 1:23 am

    I loved this book! I love(d) Lila! I love(ed) pretending to be Lila!

    Way better than the Saddle Club. 🙂


  • fubukifangirl October 17, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    “I agree, my first thought when I saw this cover was that Liz totally looks like an enraged dominatrix about to whip her sub!

    What’s up with Lila’s mansion being “Georgian”? Wasn’t it always described as her “Spanish-style mansion”?”

    Yes, a twenty-room Spanish-style mansion. But not only that, in the Unicorn Club book “Rachel’s In, Lila’s Out” it says the house has 75 rooms. The ghostwriters are not very consistent. But since Sweet Valley High is the official canon, that’s the one I’m going with.


  • Jessica is Evil March 31, 2017 at 7:27 am

    Ted offers to buy Thunder from Lila. Is he aware of how much a horse costs? You do not just go around buying a horse just like that. Ted probably would not even have enough money to feed the horse.


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