Sweet Valley Twins #69- Won’t Someone Help Anna?

Jessica is going to the principal’s office to drop off a note from her mom saying she has to leave school early to go to the dentist today. Jessica hears Mr. Clark screaming at someone, and Jessica thinks someone must be in serious trouble. No, Mr. Clark’s secretary explains that Mr. Clark is screaming because there is a new student named Anna who reads lips, so Mr. Clark yells so that Anna will understand him better. Ummm, the fuck? If Anna can’t hear, yelling is not really going to help!  Elizabeth then walks into the office, and teases Jessica about having a ” detention” slip instead of a ” dentist slip.” Jessica says ” what are you deaf? I said dentist!” Mrs. Knight, the principal’s secretary says comments like that may not be the best way to welcome the new girl. Elizabeth and Jessica run into Cammi Adams in the hallway, and Jessica thinks Cammi is a complete dud. Cammi writes for the Sixers and Elizabeth loves Cammi’s writing.  Elizabeth is thinking of what student to profile for the next issue of the Sixers, and Jessica suggests that Elizabeth can write about the new girl, because she is deaf. Cammi asks if there is really a deaf student at Sweet Valley Middle School- yes, apparently, this is Sweet Valley Middle School’s first deaf student.  Jessica said that Mr. Clark was yelling at the new girl and Elizabeth didn’t really get why Mr. Clark had to yell if Anna reads lips. Cammi says ” oh people always do” and when Jessica questions how Cammi would know, Cammi says she is just guessing.  Elizabeth then suggests that Cammi can write the profile on the new girl, and Cammi asks why, and Liz says it’s because Cammi is their best profile writer. Cammi rushes off to tell Sophia about it and Jessica says Cammi seems weird. Elizabeth says Cammi is really very sweet.

At home that night, Cathy Connors, Steven’s girlfriend, and Steven are planning a party- Cathy’s grandparents have a cottage on the beach and they said Cathy could have a party there. Jessica says Cathy and Steven are so lucky to be able to have a party on the beach, and Cathy says Jessica and Elizabeth can invite their friends- just not the whole sixth grade. Steven is groaning, and Jess and Elizabeth are wicked excited.

A new student is in Mr. Bowman’s class- and her name is Anna Reynolds, aka the deaf girl. Jessica is amazed because the deaf girl doesn’t LOOK deaf! What are deaf girls supposed to look like? Anna is Asian, with dark, long hair and a brilliant white smile. Anna has on white leggings and a pink hand painted t-shirt. If Jessica didn’t know better, she would swear that Anna is great Unicorn material.  Jessica notices that as Mr. Bowman talks to Anna, he speaks very slowly and clearly and looks directly at Anna. Anna will be attending classes every morning and three afternoons a week. Anna will go to a ” special” school on Monday and Wednesday afternoons.  Anna gets a seat next to Cammi, and Cammi doesn’t even look at her when Anna smiles. Jessica thinks that Cammi could stand to be a little more friendly.

Elizabeth, being the saint she is, suggests to Amy that they ask Anna to sit with them at lunch.  Elizabeth is amazed at how easy it is to understand Anna. Amy says sometimes Anna is a little hard to understand if Anna speaks too loudly.  Anna says at lunch ( as she eats some yogurt and a salad) that Anna is something of a health food freak because she wants to keep her weight down in order to be an aerobics instructor when she gets older.  Anna says what she likes best about Sweet Valley Middle is that all of the boys are so cute!!  Wow, Anna isn’t superficial or anything. Anna is listing of all of the boys she thinks are cute and names Ken and Todd. Elizabeth says Ken is Amy’s dude, and Amy says Todd and Elizabeth are seeing each other. Anna says there are plenty of boys left to like!  Anna says that she became deaf at 18 months of age when she got meningitis and she has gone to special schools for years to learn to speak well.  Anna then says she’d love to be interviewed for the Sixers, and maybe she can bring more awareness of what it’s like to be deaf to the other students.  Anna then teaches Amy, Julie, Maria and Liz  a few words in ASL, or sign language.

We then join Cammi- she is walking home from school, and can’t believe at how well Anna seemed to be getting along with Elizabeth and her friends.  Cammi thinks that eventually the novelty of having a deaf friend will soon wear off, and the girls will all drop Anna like a hot potato.  As Cammi gets old, her old dog Ludwig that was a wedding present to her parents greets her at the door.  Cammi’s seven year old sister Cara is watching a show about people with secret lives on TV.  As Cara and Cammi watch TV, there is a blue screen on the bottom with words running across it. Gee, why? Cammi says that she knows what it’s like to lead a secret life.  Cara asks what Cammi’s secret is and Cammi says Cara knows already.  Cammi says her secret is her mom and dad. Cara says that all of her friends know about Mom and Dad, and it’s not a big deal. Cammi says sometimes kids are nice, and Cara says her friends are nice or else they wouldn’t be her friends. Wow, Cara Adams is the smartest person- BAR NONE- in Sweet Valley!  Cammi walks into the kitchen where her parents are using sign language and Cammi signs hello to them and doesn’t even bother talking because her parents ” have NEVER heard her voice.” Yeah if you haven’t figured it out by now- Cammi’s parents are DEAF! DEAF!!!! OH NO!!!!

Elizabeth is watching the TV with no sound to try to read lips. Elizabeth tells Jessica that Anna Reynolds reads lips, and it’s a lot harder than it looks.  Jessica says she is very surprised that Sweet Valley Middle School allowed a deaf girl into the school and the Unicorns all agree that Sweet Valley MS should only be with ” normal” people. THE FUCK?? Elizabeth is shocked, and says that Jess should at least give Anna a chance.  Elizabeth tells Jessica that she and Anna would have lots in common- Anna is totally boy crazy, and Anna has a huge handprinted t-shirt selection.  Elizabeth asks Jessica to go to Casey’s Place to meet Anna tomorrow, and Jessica does agree to go.

The next afternoon, Lila is going along with Jessica to meet Anna for safety in numbers or something. Ellen Riteman says that Mary Wallace said Anna is very nice and Jessica says Mary is like Elizabeth and always finds the good in everyone.  Anna impresses Jess, Li and Ellen by knowing all about the Unicorn Club.  Anna orders fruit and cottage cheese at Casey’s Place- ewwwwww- that’d be like going to Mortensen’s my favorite ice cream place ever and getting just fruit- that is just so wrong!  Anna talks about her aerobics instructor ambitions, and Jessica asks how she can hear music, and Anna replies she can hear the beat through the floor. Anna then says she is thinking of starting an aerobics club at school, and Jess and Lila agree that would be  a good idea. Jessica then asks Anna to attend Cathy and Steven’s party that weekend and Anna says she will sure be there as long as there’s tons of cute boys!

Cammi is trying to avoid Elizabeth because she hasn’t done the profile on Anna yet. Cammi thinks to herself that she is afraid to do the article because somehow people will find out her own parents are also deaf. Elizabeth does find Cammi, and asks if Cammi will attend her beach party the next day. Cammi fibs and says she can’t because she has to babysit for Cara, but the truth is Cammi has to be around to talk to the workmen who are fixing the Adams’s driveway.  Elizabeth says she can’t wait for Cammi to write her article, because she bets Anna and Cammi will really get along. Cammi says she doesn’t see what she’d have in common with Anna, and Elizabeth says Jessica and Lila thought the same thing, but they both thought Anna was tres cool. Elizabeth says that Anna makes you almost forget you are hearing impaired, and Cammi thinks ” but you never REALLY forget.”  Cammi sees Anna chatting with the Unicorns and thinks again that it won’t last, that Anna will see she can never be normal, and you are nothing if you aren’t ” normal.” Well, Cammi was raised in Sweet Valley, I can see where she thinks that.  It’s Saturday and the beach party at Cathy’s grandparents cottage is in full  swing!  Cathy asks Jessica who the boy playing Frisbee is and Jessica says that’s Jake Hamilton, who’s a seventh grader. Cathy says Jake is cute, and Jessica says he’s Lila’s guy and besides Jessica likes Rick Hunter. Jessica says that Rick always calls her ” Airhead”, though, and Cathy says that means Rick likes her.  Elizabeth is happy that Anna has been spending a lot of time dancing with Jim Sturbridge. Jessica asks Rick to dance and he does say yes! As Jess and Rick slow dance, Anna turns to Jessica, and as Anna dances in Jim’s arms Anna whispers ” I think I’m in love!”

Cammi is playing Monopoly with her family but keeps staring at her phone ( which is a TDD a special phone where deaf people can send and receive typed messages) trying to get the courage to call Anna to write the profile. Cammi then thinks of how she always knew her parents were different than others because of the TDD and the closed caption on the TV and what not.  Cammi then thinks that because her parents are deaf she has more responsibilities than other kids, yet Cara seems to have all these friends and be a lot more carefree than Cammi is. Cammi does call Anna, but Mrs. Reynolds says Anna is at the Wakefields’ beach party. Cammi tells that to her parents and they are concerned- Mrs. Adams says that Cammi should never feel she has to miss a party to help her parents, and they did get along fine  in the hearing world for several years before Cammi was born.  Cammi lands in jail and Cara says Cammi has to roll the dice, and then Cammi thinks of how she is in a jail because of living with her deaf parents. Ya know I am feeling a little sorry for Cammi, but she’s also a whiny brat.

Jessica sees Cathy talking to Jake at the rocks. Jessica is trying to spy and she can’t see Cathy and Jake for a few minutes. But then Jessica gets a better view- and she sees Cathy and Jake KISSING in the shadows!!!  When Elizabeth and Jess get home, Jessica tells Elizabeth about how she saw Cathy kissing Jake. Elizabeth doesn’t believe it especially when Jessica says the sun was setting at the time, but then Jessica says she knows Cathy must be tired of smelling Steven’s sweaty socks. Jessica wants to tell Steven, but Elizabeth says absolutely not. Jessica knows Steven will be SHATTERED when he does find out Cathy is cheating on him with some young 7th grader!

Cammi goes to Anna’s house to do the interview. Anna is wearing a t-shirt with her name finger spelled on it and Anna tells Cammi that’s what it is, and Cammi says ” I know” and Anna asks  if Cammi knows how to finger spell. Cammi says no , she just assumed that’s what it was. Anna says most people just stare at her t-shirt blankly when they see her in that shirt. Anna introduces Cammi to her older brothers and they all tease each other for a few minutes, and then Anna shows Cammi the TV closed captioning.  Cammi notices that Anna’s whole family signs and Cammi asks Anna if they always do. Anna says yes and it does feel good because that way everyone in the family speaks the same language. Cammi asks why Anna wanted to go to a regular school then, and Anna says it’s because she just wants to be treated like a regular person. Cammi thinks that Anna never will be regular! Anna then talks about how much she likes Jim Sturbridge. Then- Cammi sees the latest history quiz in Mrs. Arnette’s class on Anna’s desk. It has a big red F on it. Cammi thinks that’s odd as Cammi thought the quiz was easy. Cammi asks Anna how classes are going, and Anna says they are OK other than the fact that Mrs. Arnette aka the Hairnet puts her to sleep. Cammi is a little perturbed that Anna isn’t actually doing well in school, but everything else seems to be going really well in Anna’s life.  Cammi asks Anna how she deals with being deaf, and Anna says she made the choice to accept her deafness rather than be miserable about it. Cammi can’t believe Anna is getting along so well at Sweet Valley Middle, and doesn’t get how Anna does it.

At lunch, Jessica tells Lila and the other Unicorns that Jess saw Lila’s man kissing another woman- a sophomore in high school! Lila demands to know who it is, but Jessica just can’t tell Lila it was Cathy Jessica saw kissing Jake, because that would be too humiliating for Steven.  Cammi hands in her article to Liz. Elizabeth tells Cammi the article on Anna seems short, and Elizabeth is surprised Cammi didn’t cover more on what it’s like to be deaf, and Elizabeth thinks kids at school would want to know about things like sign language. Cammi says Anna didn’t seem to want to talk about it very much, and Elizabeth says that doesn’t seem like Anna!  Elizabeth asks for Cammi to talk to Anna a little more, and Cammi says she has no time and that Elizabeth should have Amy or Julie write the article. Then Cammi runs off.  Elizabeth knows something is going on with Cammi and decides she has to talk to her.

It’s the start of Anna’s aerobics class. Mr. Clark is talking to Anna before class, and Amy and Liz notice that Anna looks a little upset. Amy figures that maybe Anna didn’t get permission to use the gym, but then Anna is all composed and says Mr. Clark just wanted to give her a pep talk before class starts.  The class is very exhausting- Anna sure kept the girls moving!

After aerobics class, the girls hear all of the guys tease Jake about the ” older woman who is warm for Jake’s form” ( Peter DeHaven’s words). Jake has no idea what the guys are talking about. Jessica is mad at the Unicorns, wondering who told. Well, of course they all told- Janet, Kimberly, Ellen- I mean these gals aren’t known for keeping secrets. So the whole school now apparently knows that Jake Hamilton was seen making out with an older lady woooo

Jessica sees Jake at lunch the next day, and tells Jake she knows he and Cathy are an item. Jake says he doesn’t know who Jess is talking about at first but when Jess says ” Cathy Connors” Jake is like ” whoa she’s pretty.” Jessica tells Jake she doesn’t get what Cathy would see in a seventh grader, and Jake says he doesn’t know either. This plot is stupid- as most B plots are. Especially any Wakefield involved B plots.

Cammi is home alone and Elizabeth Wakefield comes over! Cammi tries to get rid of Liz, but that’s not happening!!! Cammi says Cara is sick and Mrs. Adams went to get medicine for her. Elizabeth notices the telephone and Cammi says that her dad uses it for work and he’s an inventor and is trying to work out some kinks with the phone and oh lights go off whenever the phone rings- hah hah her dad hasn’t worked things out yet- what Cammi’s dad is Rick Moranis from Honey I shrunk the kids??? Liz tells Cammi it appears something is bothering her, and Liz is always there if Cammi needs a friend. Cara and Mrs. Adams come home and Cara is in her tutu dancing around saying she’s the Sugerplum Fairy. Cammi tells Cara she must be delirious and to go to bed. Shit, Cammi is a terrible liar. Mrs. Adams asks Elizabeth to stay for dinner in her strange sounding voice,  ( that’s what the book says!) and Elizabeth, to Cammi’s surprise, does not laugh at Cammi’s mom- she says yes! Elizabeth then says Cammi’s parents are really nice.  Cammi says if she had known Liz would be nice to her parents and accept them, Cammi would have had her over for dinner a lot sooner. Elizabeth says Cammi can’t hide her parents forever and Cammi says that when she was younger, at an open house, Cammi’s dad asked a question and his speech isn’t that great and all of these kids- and PARENTS- laughed- UGH UGH UGH!! Cammi’s dad cried, and that broke Cammi’s heart. Elizabeth says that Cammi still can’t hide her parents forever, and there are kids who are nice. Elizabeth tries to tell Cammi about how well Anna’s adjusting and Cammi says she knows Anna won’t be accepted forever. Cammi says despite how well Anna seems to be doing, Cammi isn’t as brave and isn’t ready to tell everyone all about her parents yet. UGH

Amy and Liz hear a girl crying in the restroom. Elizabeth then sees a crumpled up piece of paper, and it has a big red F and Anna’s name next to it- it’s a quiz from English class. Elizabeth signs under the stall and Anna signs she is OK. Anna comes out of the stall and Amy says that she and Liz can help Anna study next time, and Anna says that won’t help, and that nothing will help. Anna says the problem is she doesn’t understand half of what the teachers say because they constantly turn around to write on the board, or don’t always remember to face Anna when they talk. Heaven forbid these teachers adjust any of their teaching methods for Anna. Mr. Clark has told Anna that if things don’t improve in a WEEK, he may have to send her back to special school permanently. I am just flabbergasted. Anna says maybe she can’t make it in regular school after all. Elizabeth and Amy say they want Anna to stay but Anna says if she has to go, she has to go, although she will miss aerobics class, her new friends, and Jim- but if she has to go she doesn’t want Amy or Liz to feel sorry for her because she can’t stand  others feeling sorry for her.

Steven is upset that Cathy cancelled their date for tonight. Jessica is trying to tell Steven Cathy is lying about having to go to her aunt’s for the weekend and Jessica tells Steven to call Cathy so that she can prove Cathy snuck out- well Cathy is home so that doesn’t work too well.  The next morning, Jessica tells Elizabeth she heard Anna was kicked out of school. Elizabeth says she hasn’t been , but may be kicked out soon. Jessica tells Liz she will think of some kind of way for Anna to stay at SVMS!!!

In Mr. Bowman’s class, Anna is crying because Mr. Bowman keeps turning his back and Anna can’t get a word he says. Cammi feels bad for Anna, and hands her a tissue.  Then Cammi hears Caroline Pearce and Ellen talking about how Anna is basically done at Sweet Valley Middle and Caroline says it’s for the best because kids like Anna don’t belong in regular school. Wow, Caroline is stuck in like 1942. Cammi knows that she thought Anna would fail all along- but then why does that make Cammi feel so rotten?

Ellen convinces Jess to tell Steven about Cathy and Jake. Steven goes nuts and says he wants to find the worm that stole his woman away!  Lila tells Steven Jake has basketball practice the next afternoon at the middle school gym.  Meanwhile, Cammi gets home and Cara introduces Cammi to her new best friend, Joan. Joan thinks that the fact Ludwig doesn’t bark because Cammi’s parents couldn’t hear it, and that their phone is different, is really cool. Cara says she told Joan that Cammi is very nice and brave, and Cammi thinks she sure doesn’t feel brave. Mrs. Adams tells Cammi that Cara feels Cammi is brave because she’s not afraid to get shots at the doctor’s office. Then Mrs. Adams tells Cammi she also feels Cammi is brave, because she has to deal with a lot of stuff other kids don’ t have to due to her parents being disabled. Cammi knows she doesn’t deserve her family’s praise.

Mr. Bowman’s class again. He still doesn’t bother facing the class so Anna can read his lips. Anna is crying more and more, and Cammi can’t take it anymore. Cammi then starts to use sign language so Anna can get what Mr. Bowman is saying!!!! Anna asks Cammi how she learned to sign so well, and Cammi finally tells Anna both her parents are deaf. Lila says that now that Cammi can help Anna by signing to her, she hopes Mr. Clark will let Anna stay so that aerobics class can go on. Mr. Clark had been observing Anna in class, and was so impressed that Anna answered Mr. Bowman’s class due to Cammi’s translation. Cammi tells Anna she’d be happy to translate because she’s in all of Anna’s classes and people think she’s a nerd anyway, so if Anna doesn’t mind hanging out with a nerd, Cammi doesn’t mind hanging out with a deaf person! Anna and Cammi sign the word ” Friend” to each other.

After school, Cathy is actually at SVMS and warns Jessica that Jake is an expert at karate and Cathy is afraid he will DESTROY Steven!  As Jake and Steven are going to fight, Jessica tells them to stop and Jake and Steven say ” no sweat” and agree to all get milkshakes at Casey’s, because ” acting” works up an appetite! Acting, you say? Well, Steven called Jake last night to get him to go along with a trick Steven was playing on Jessica teaching her not to be nosy. At the beach party, Jess did see Jake and Cathy walking to the rocks together, but Jake was going to look for Lila to see if she wanted to take a walk- Cathy and Steven were kissing, NOT Cathy and Jake! Lila asks Jessica how she could assume Jake would EVER cheat on her? Jessica promises never to be nosy again! Yeah, right!

It’s Anna’s birthday party, and it is being held at Cammi’s house. Cammi’s parents make Anna a cake and everyone gives her presents. Then Anna has a gift for Cammi- Anna has made Cammi a gorgeous silver bracelet with a disc of two fingers intertwining- the sign for ” Friends” in ASL.

By the end of the week, I hope to recap ” Jessi’s Wish” and a Fabulous Five book!! Stay tuned!

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7 Responses to “Sweet Valley Twins #69- Won’t Someone Help Anna?”

  1. Oh for goodness sake. I’ve never read this one and now I really want to. I’m hard of hearing and have some familiarity with the Deaf world and…wow. Let’s see, where do I start with the mistakes?

    First of all, nobody reads lips THAT well. If I remember correctly, deaf people only ever understand about 40% of what’s said when they are relying solely on lipreading (which is why they DON’T).

    Second…um, so, they are REQUIRED to meet the needs of “disabled” people; this does not mean allowing another student to interpret! Anna should have had a professional interpreter from day one. “Heaven forbid they should change their teaching methods”? Um, yes, actually, I’ve had to ask teachers many times before to face me when they’re talking and repeat stuff and not talk and have us fill out handouts at the same time, etc.

    Actually (third), Anna wasn’t anywhere NEAR as assertive as she should have been. If she’s getting F’s, it’s because she’s not getting adequate help, not demanding that her needs be met, not following up with the teachers on what she may have missed, etc.

    Fourth, there’s no WAY that Anna learned to speak as well as it sounds like she does if she’s been deaf since 18 months. Among other things, she wouldn’t be able to modulate her voice/know how to whisper (at one point she’s whispering about a cute guy, I think?) Other people might not even be able to understand her (and Cammi’s parents too), and I’d be surprised if she has a decent grasp on spoken English grammar.

    Wow. Okay, yeah, I want to read this….

    • girltalkread Says:

      Cara thanks a LOT for your input- and yeah what I had meant is that Mr. Bowman SHOULD have changed how he was teaching come on!!!! And yeah the schools HAVE to accomodate deaf and hard of hearing students my gosh!!! Admittedly, I don’t know much about people who are deaf or hard of hearing but I know enough to know that I have also heard that deaf people can’t read lips that well!! And my siblings are both legally blind and you best believe the school had to accomodate them my mom wouldn’t hear anything less!!!!! My sister had extra time on tests, all her papers enlarged, and what not- and Cara I agree that Anna or her parents if they knew needed to be a LOT more assertive!! And again Cara THANKS SO MUCH I hope you like this blog, and your insights are awesome- are there any more you got from this book?
      And yes you know the Sweet Valley High book That Fatal Night where Ken is blind temporarily? It PISSES ME OFF b/c of my siblings that are legally blind.

      • Oh, I know what you meant…I was yelling at the book, not at what you wrote about the book. 🙂 Though I did totally misread your sarcasm in the “heaven forbid the teacher actually help” sentence; sorry about that.

        And as far as insights? Yeah. Now I want to write my own book talking about how deaf people *actually* are. Seriously. I’ve got to do a project in my ASL class this semester, and I’m seriously considering writing an outline or even few chapters of a book of this kind of caliber/genre, but without the horrible inaccuracies. So thanks for that inspiration….

        Also, when was this book written? It occurs to me that the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act…you probably know something about it with your siblings) wasn’t around until the early 90s or something…1992? So…if it were written before then, the lack of accommodations could maaaybe be excused.

        Also, I’m not sure I buy Anna wanting to be a “regular” kid. Deaf people have their own language/culture, and while some of them do try to assimilate into the hearing world, a lot of them are proud of being deaf. I think that kind of character would’ve been far more realistic….

        So there ya go with what else I got from the book…I’m sleep deprived right now and probably missing things, but that’s all I got at the moment. 🙂

      • girltalkread Says:

        The book was written in 1993- so ADA was passed already, I believe. And yeah Caras are awesome!

      • Oh! And I loved your “Cara is the smartest person- BAR NONE- in Sweet Valley” jibe at one point…go Caras!

  2. Yeah, Cammi seems like a whiny brat and I kind of hate her.

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