Sweet Valley Twins #22: Out of Place

The Moral of the Story: People from Tennessee are doll-whittling horse whisperers.

The Big Deal: Arts and Crafts Fair

New Kid with a Problem: Ginny Lu Culpepper, hillbilly


Ginny Lu Culpepper has moved in with her aunt, Mrs. Waldron, a teacher at Sweet Valley Middle School. Ginny Lu is from Tennessee, so she has red hair and talks loud. The first thing Ginny Lu does when she rolls into town is go to the middle school to find her aunt. She interrupts Elizabeth’s class to ask Mrs. Arnette where Mrs. Waldron is, and her voice and clothes make Ellen Riteman hate her immediately.

Mrs. Waldron takes Ginny Lu to the mall for some new clothes, and Ginny Lu is simply amazed at all the shiny sparkly things that just don’t exist in Stony Gap, Tennessee. Ellen and Lila appear out of nowhere and pretend to be helpful, giving Ginny Lu a bunch of really ugly clothes and telling her they’re all the rage out here in California. She comes out of the dressing room wearing the following items of clothing:

  • Leopard-skin tights
  • Blue and white striped knee socks over the tights
  • Orange leather miniskirt
  • Huge green sweater
  • Banana earrings

Here is a visual representation of this outfit:

Not pictured: banana earrings

The saleslady asks Mrs. Waldron if Ginny Lu is color blind. Ellen and Lila have gathered a crowd outside the shop to laugh at Ginny Lu. The Unicorn Welcome Wagon, ladies and gentlemen.

The next day at school, Ginny Lu overhears Ellen, Janet and Lila talking about her. She decides she’s had enough and she runs away from school. She doesn’t stop running until she comes upon the stables, which is where Liz finds her when she goes for her horseback riding lesson. Ginny Lu has a way with horses, and she’s made friends with a pregnant mare named Snow White. Naturally, Snow White is Ellen’s horse. And naturally, Ellen shows up and yells at Ginny Lu to go away. Liz tells her to leave Ginny Lu alone and stop being such a bitch. Not bloody likely.

Ginny Lu gives Liz a doll she whittled, and Mrs. Wakefield says it’s “a lovely example of Appalachian folk art.” She’s an interior designer so she knows about these things. Liz decides Ginny Lu should enter her dolls in the big Arts and Crafts Fair at school. Ginny Lu would rather keep her head down and keep out of the Unicorns’ way, but Liz is determined and she eventually convinces Ginny Lu to enter.

Things are going just fine at the fair and everyone seems to be getting into Ginny Lu’s weird poem that she’s decided to recite, but Ellen makes fun of her. And so, like a true Sweet Valley girl, Ginny Lu freaks out and runs away in tears. She goes home and packs a suitcase, then goes to the stables to say goodbye to Snow White. She’s running away, back to the mountains, where life is simple for a redheaded girl who talks too loud and wears gingham dresses.

When she gets to the stable, Snow White has given birth and Ted the stable boy is having some trouble. The foal is premature and won’t stand up to nurse and Snow White won’t let Ted get near him. It’s Ginny to the rescue. Ted has called the Ritemans, so of course Ellen shows up during Ginny Lu’s rescue operation, but she finally gets it through her head that the foal will die without Ginny Lu’s help. After things settle down, Ellen apologizes and lets Ginny Lu name the foal. She names him Sooner. “Because he decided he’d rather get here sooner than later. And now that he’s here, he’s decided he’d sooner stay.” Ugh.

Meanwhile, in Jessicaland… Jessica let Janet Howell borrow Ned’s prized tennis racket, and she broke it. Jessica wants to buy a new one before her dad notices the old one is gone, but it’s fifty dollars. After a couple of failed attempts at getting money (selling Liz’s clothes in a garage sale and doing Steven’s chores to get his allowance money), she hits the jackpot when she finds out a local shop will buy Ginny Lu’s whittled dolls for twenty-five dollars each. She sets herself up as Ginny Lu’s agent and slithers away with ten percent. The new tennis racket is on the way and only Liz is the wiser.


Their father, who was usually warm and funny, had no sense of humor when it came to his tennis racket.

Well, sure. Who does?

“I think you should get started right away,” Steven declared. He pulled a broom and dustpan from under his bed and handed them to Jessica.

I’d just like to know if anyone else keeps a broom and dustpan under the bed.

The Cover: First of all, let’s just take a moment to really soak in Liz’s smugface. That self-satisfied “I sure am good at making friends” face just makes me want to puke. (Also, doesn’t she look a little like DJ Tanner here?) And second, Ginny Lu looks exactly like you would expect a Ginny Lu to look: like she came straight out of Little House on the Prairie. (No offense meant to any Ginny Lus in the audience.)

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  • Whallie January 30, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    OMG! Liz totally looks like DJ Tanner. Liz is a weirdo, how she’s into people’s horses. Like she just goes to all of the horse stables in Sweet Valley and hangs out with horses she will never own. Didn’t she ride Lila’s horse and pretended that she owned it?


  • Lauri January 30, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Is anyone else wondering why Steven wouldn’t keep the dust pan and broom in the closet? Is it to crowded in there?


    Olivia Reply:

    This comment makes me really wish there was a “like” button on here. 🙂


    Kathryn Reply:



  • MV January 31, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Why didn’t Jessica make Janet pay for the tennis racket since she’s the one who broke it, or did she just not bother to challenge her because she’s the Unicorn President?

    Definitely don’t keep a broom and dustpan under my bed! Weird that any teenager would. And yes I agree that Liz definitely looks like DJ!


  • Whallie February 1, 2012 at 10:41 am

    That outfit looks like something Kimmy Gibbler from Full House would wear.


  • pibetaalpha February 3, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    I totally see the D.J. Tanner.


  • Suckie Stackhouse February 6, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    I would just like to say I am in love with Ginny Lu’s outfit. At least, the way you’ve painted it. Let me know when I can order it online. 🙂

    The reason Steven has the broom and dustpan under his bed: he’s a dirty, dirty pervert and does dirty, dirty perverted things in his bed. If I were him, I’d invest in a Swiffer Wet Jet. (Why a broom and dust pan? Maybe he lets the proof of his sin dry to a powder…and yes, I just crossed that line to where even I get completely disgusted with myself. Feel free to delete this depraved comment.)


  • booksandbey0nd April 9, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    This has got to be my fave blog ever. I was obsessed with SVH & SVT growing up. Although I never thought the kids on the cover were that hot to look at.
    I loved how blond the twins hair was. But in the books they described them like blond California girl beauty queens and the covers showed a diff story.
    I always thought Bruce would be hot. Lila too.
    I wanted to punch Enid and Liz on occasion Jessica too.
    U know what I wanted to punch ALL of them at some point.
    I loved how the books got meatier as time went on.


  • Natalie July 5, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    All this book shows is how shallow and ignorant and cliched Francine is… having said that I LOOOVEED them as a kid and didn’t see any of this back then, sure it sunk in subconciously thougoh …


  • Ginny Lu Culpeeper January 8, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    No offense taken – I still wear my hair in that typical Southern style, and own nothing but gingham! Also, for some reason, I have always remembered Alice’s “lovely example of Appalachian folk art” line….it is so funny to see the things that stand out in our minds 30 years later.


  • Ellen Riteman February 6, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Hi, peasants. I married a rich business tycoon, I still look perf, and I’m better than all of you. ? Unicorns forever bitches! ?


  • KannaChan March 30, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    I swear, there are plenty of Unicorns I dislike, mainly Janet and Kimberly, but I think I hate Ellen the most. She is such a petty, spiteful little bitch. I’m so glad she never made it into the Sweet Valley High series.


  • Sweet Valley Forever April 21, 2017 at 7:12 am

    Ellen character – Do sixth grade girls wear slips? REALLY?


  • Lauri April 29, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    About the time this book was written? Yeah, my mother would have freaked if I hadn’t worn one to church.
    (Or probably anywhere else, but I have never liked skirts/dresses)


  • This series is very odd August 10, 2017 at 3:53 am

    Since when does Ellen have a horse? This is the only time it is mentioned.


  • KannaChan August 10, 2017 at 7:58 am

    “Since when does Ellen have a horse? This is the only time it is mentioned.”

    The characters in Sweet Valley have whatever is necessary for the plot.


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