Lila apparently now as a crush on Aaron, which is wrong on so many levels but mainly because he's her “best” friend's kind of boyfriend. Jessica thinks it's definitely wrong and hates that Lila keeps complimenting him on his clothes. Neither girl is happy because they have to go to a safety lecture at the spelunking club and take a quiz before they can go on the big sixth grade trip to the caverns. Elizabeth naturally finds this exciting, but Aaron hates it because he allegedly has a ton of caving experience already.
Jessica and Lila become even less happier after finding out that Metro, the hottest new makeup store ever, is opening the next day. They make plans to skip their last class and even consider calling in sick to school to get there later before realizing that they have to be at the safety lecture. Instead of doing what they should, they con Tamara and Kimberly into going and taking the quiz for them.
When Liz comes home, she can't stop talking about all the dangerous stuff and what they heard at the lecture. Jessica tries to play it off like she knows what she's talking about. Though she gets a little nervous, she eventually decides that it's a school event, which means it can't be too dangerous. “Lila” winds up doing so well on the quiz that she ends up in the smartest group with Winston, Liz, Aaron, and Maria. They get assigned the ice cave, which is the hardest cave. Jessica winds up in the beginner group with Amy, Todd, and some other kids.
Before they leave on the field trip, Liz and Jessica have a fight over clothes. Jessica feels completely confident in new tennis shoes, a hot pink tee shirt, and tiny denim shorts. Liz points out that the cave is dark and cold, which causes her twin to reluctantly add an old sweatshirt to her bag. She avoids all the supplies her mom left her and fills her bag with magazines and makeup.
When they get to the cave, others tease her for her clothes, so she grabs her sweatshirt and puts her bag in the wrong place. This ends with Liz getting Jessica's bag and Jessica getting Liz's bag. That probably wouldn't matter except that there's an earthquake that causes Liz's group to get trapped in the ice cave. To make matter's worse, their guide Terry gets knocked out and breaks his leg too. He only wakes up for seconds at a time before passing out again.
Jessica is the only one freaking out over her twin being missing. Everyone else tells her to calm down because they probably didn't even feel the tremor. She starts going through her twin's bag and wonders why she brought stuff like extra clothes, a candle, and food. When Todd tells her about all the dangers of caving, she freaks out and confesses what she did. Todd and Amy then agree to go with her and save Liz.
Liz was walking across a bridge that collapsed during the tremor and fell in the water. They finally realize that she has hypothermia and try to help her. Maria already gave her extra clothing to Terry, and Winston trips and drops all their other bags in the water. Only Lila has her bag left and like Jessica, she brought nothing useful. They wind up wrapping Liz's legs in plastic trash bags, making her wear a pair of tiny leggings, and putting Lila's backpack on her head.
Terry comes to just in time to see Aaron try to climb his way out of the cave. He instead falls down, almost cracks his head open, and causes a bunch of rocks to fall down. Terry tells them that there is one way out, which is through a super tiny hole way up the wall. The only one small enough to get through is Liz, which makes me wonder if the ghostwriter is calling Lila fat?
Liz starts lecturing Aaron on being a jackass and how he keeps doing everything the lecturer told them not to, which leads him to confess that he didn't listen. He thought he knew everything and played hangman with Winston until the quiz came. Winston was so busy playing with Aaron that he missed all the important parts too. Winston copied off Liz, and Aaron copied off him. Lila then confesses that she cheated too, so it turns out that only Maria and Liz actually deserved to be in the smart group.
They get Liz outfitted with a helmet that has a broken headlight to protect her head, a flashlight, some matches, and a candle. Lila turns over the glow in the dark eye shadow that she bought at Metro to help Liz mark her path. They then go a cheerleading lift to get her up to the hole and send her on her way. Though she freaks out at first, she starts calming down pretty quickly, though she does accidentally drop her helmet.
Jessica, Todd, and Amy get there 20 minutes later. The other two run for help, while Jessica stays behind. Cave workers get everyone out in minutes but won't let Jessica go with them to find her twin. They tell her it's too dangerous and that no one in their group is small enough to get through the hole in the wall. They send her back to wait while they go a different route to catch up with Liz.
Liz crawls on her stomach for a long time before reaching an area where she can sit up, but she then realizes that there are three ways to go and that she's too far away for Terry to help her. She then drops her flashlight on the ground and breaks it. Liz keeps going but slowly runs out of matches and then drops her candle in a puddle of water. Just as she's about to burst into tears, she reminds herself of how Jessica would act. Thinking of her twin gives her the strength to move on and keep going. She really does give up after coming to a dead spot. Though she hears someone calling her name, they can't hear her. Conveniently, she grabbed Jessica's camera from her bag. The flash lets her see enough to get out, and the camera makes enough noise for them to hear her and find her.
The twins have a big reunion, but Liz keeps pushing the quiz issue until Jessica confesses that she cheated. Liz then reveals that Lila confessed in the ice cave so they already knew. She also tells her about using the camera, which makes Jessica brag about how packing it saved her twin. They use the last picture on the roll to take a picture of them together.
*Aaron says he once had to find his way out of a cave with no flashlight and that he once saved a kid from falling off a cliff. I call bull.
*If Amy is so smart in science like they told us in multiple other books, how did she wind up in the worst scoring group?
*Lila uses her glow in the dark eye shadow to draw on the cave walls and gets pissy when Liz tells her to stop. Liz doesn't tell on her though, but I would tell on her and get her ass thrown out of the trip.
*The other kids want to try the cheerleading lift earlier, but Liz tells them that it's way too dangerous. All it is is Winston and Aaron lifting her with her hands, which is really lame.
*If the hole is so small that only someone with the frame of an 11 year old girl can fit through, why wouldn't they seal it up?
*Also, given what Liz goes through in that cave section, there is no way Terry should have volunteered her to go through!
*Lila threatens to sue and says her dad will sue someone for her getting stuck. They all just roll their eyes and tell her that you can't sue a cave or an earthquake.
*Lila also abandons her crush on Aaron. She tells Jessica that he was super mean to her in the cave and that he was the type of guy who wouldn't give you a bandage if you were bleeding.
*I probably looked at this cover a dozen times and always thought the guy looked way too old to be Aaron. It wasn't until today that I realized he was Terry.
*Kimberly and Tamara actually try to tell the girls what to do in the cave and give them more info about the lecture, but Lila and Jess just blow them off.
*Liz actually thinks that Jessica wants her to use the camera to take a picture of her and Aaron, but Jess says she wants to save her last photo for her twin. Aw.
*This is kind of the last Sweet Valley Twins book! The only other two left in the series are the diary books that just set up Sweet Valley Junior High.