May 13, 2014

SVT #8, First Place: Quit Horsing Around

Posted in books tagged , , , at 8:10 pm by Jenn

This is exactly how I always picture Lila

This is exactly how I always picture Lila

Summary: Lila has a horse, because of course she does. She doesn’t really know what to do with it, and doesn’t particularly even like horses, but it makes her even more popular than she was before. Even Elizabeth is willing to spend time with her if it means getting to be around Thunder. She’s started taking riding lessons and is a little obsessed. A great opportunity comes along when Lila suggests that Elizabeth write an article about her (and Thunder, but mostly about Lila) for the Sixers. At first Liz resists, but Jessica thinks they should spend time together now that they have a common interest.

Elizabeth and Lila go to the stables after school, and Elizabeth immediately falls in love with Thunder. Lila has no problem letting her take a ride. Liz is willing to put up with Lila if hanging out with her means seeing Thunder, so they start spending more time together. This makes Jessica jealous – she was friends with Lila first, and Liz is taking up all of her time.

One day Lila has the stables bring Thunder over to her house (I don’t know why, if she doesn’t even want to ride him). She mentions that she needs someone to take care of Thunder on a daily basis, and of course Elizabeth volunteers, not even realizing that Lila just Tom Sawyered her into it. A 14-year-old stable boy/aspiring horse trainer named Ted comes by to get Thunder, and he and Elizabeth strike up a friendship over their shared love of horses. Jessica quickly develops a crush on Ted, so no one’s happier than she is when he and Steven become friends and Ted starts coming over for dinner.

After a few weeks of taking care of Thunder, Elizabeth learns about an owners’ competition at the stables. Ted encourages Elizabeth to enter…because he thinks she’s Thunder’s owner. Elizabeth considers entering and not telling Lila (who probably wouldn’t care anyway). Meanwhile, there’s more jealousy from Jessica, and Alice finally tells her to stop acting like a five-year-old and be happy that her twin sister and best friend are getting along.

In fact, Lila and Elizabeth are getting along so well that Lila invites Liz to a slumber party with all the Unicorns. Elizabeth is completely bored since she doesn’t share the other girls’ tastes in music or celebrities. Then things get sticky when the Unicorns start trashing Amy. They taunt that Amy will never have a boy interested in her, so Elizabeth blurts out that Ken recently kissed Amy. Of course, that was a secret, and Liz immediately regrets telling the others.

Ted comes to the Wakefields’ for dinner again, and mentions how Elizabeth should enter the owners’ competition. Jessica tells him that Elizabeth isn’t Thunder’s owner. Elizabeth is embarrassed, but when she and Ted talk things over, he doesn’t really care – and he thinks she should still enter the competition. Elizabeth keeps it a secret from everyone but Amy.

The day of the competition, the Unicorns start teasing Amy about kissing Ken. Amy’s shocked that Elizabeth told her secret, and she responds by telling Elizabeth’s, letting Lila know that Liz is going to compete with Thunder. Everyone races to the stables, and Elizabeth tells Lila that she’s not going to compete, but that Lila is, because Thunder could win. Lila realizes she’s been using Elizabeth and tells her to ride (especially since Liz is willing to give her the prize ribbon). Liz says no since Lila won’t have earned her prize.

So who will ride this marvelous horse in this apparently super-important competition for a blue ribbon and a measly amount of money? Why, Ted will! And does he win? Of course he does! Plus, Jessica makes it there in time to cheer on her crush. Lila decides she doesn’t want Thunder after all, but Ted has saved up a bunch of money and wants to put a down payment on him. He tells Elizabeth she can ride Thunder whenever she wants. Yay, we’re all winners!

Thoughts: Lila doesn’t think anything of stable boys, so clearly she’s never seen The Princess Bride.

Ted acknowledges that Elizabeth and Jessica are identical, then tells Jess that he’s never seen anyone as pretty as Liz. Oh, snap!

The prize at the owners’ competition is $75. $75 for people rich enough to own horses. Sure.

“Into the stable of horses marched the angry crowd of Unicorns.” Okay, that’s a good line.

Elizabeth says “damn.” I wonder if anyone got fired for letting that one slip through.


  1. jodiellewellyn said,

    Oh my god, I remember reading this when I was a kid! hehe.

  2. kate said,

    “Alice finally tells her to stop acting like a five-year-old and be happy that her twin sister and best friend are getting along.”

    And once again, we have the miracle of a Wakefield parenting moment! The elder Wakefields’ abrupt transition from decent parents to terrible parents in the SVH books might be one of my favorite bits of discontinuity.

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