First Place coverFor a book that has Lila on the front cover, this isn’t nearly as Fowler-filled as I would like. Instead, it is the love story of Elizabeth Wakefield and a horse named Thunder. No, seriously, there is some serious horse-fever-as-metaphor-for-burgeoning-puberty stuff going on here. The moment they meet is described much as the first meeting in any torrid love story:

In the silence of her first glance, she felt she could barely breathe.
And when he stared at her, he seemed to be saying, “Yes. You’re the one.”

If this isn’t enough, we then get a very seductive description of the horse through Elizabeth’s eyes:

…Elizabeth admired the perfect slope of his neck, rising like a tree trunk from his forequarters. His long shoulder muscles glistened as they stretched tightly up to the withers. And his legs, which tapered beautifully to their hooves, seemed graceful, yet powerful…

It’s a real Mr-Darcy-walking-wet-from-the-lake moment.

Ostensibly, this story is about Liz using Lila for her horse, while Lila uses Liz for her homework. It’s about Jess being jealous that Lila and Liz are spending more time with each other, than they are with her (“Lila is not my sister’s type, OK?”) and Liz pretending that she’s really Thunder’s owner, while spending a lot of time with the stable hand Jess is crushing on. Oh, and Liz spilling the beans to all of the Unicorns about Ken kissing Amy, because she is just that good a best friend.

But really, really this is the story of Liz’s hormones kicking in with a vengeance and of her becoming addicted to the feel of a powerful stallion between her legs. And, when it’s over, she feels a little naughty and a little ashamed of herself, but she’s finally learnt that it’s wrong to deceive and use people just to get neigh-ed.