It's time for health checks at SMS, but Abby isn't worried. She knows she can hear well, and she's already got contacts and glasses. She doesn't give much thought to the scoliosis check, either, but it turns out that she should have. The nurse who's doing the checks hands Abby a note after she's done, and tells her to give it to her parents. Apparently, Abby needs further testing. Later that evening, she finds out that Anna got a note as well. Their mother takes the news pretty casually, but makes an appointment with an orthopedist in New York City ASAP.
Abby is nervous about the appointment, and she's nervous during the appointment while she, Anna, and their mother to get back with the results of their x-rays. Finally, he does. Both girls have curves in their spine; Abby's is 14 degrees, which isn't a big deal (they don't treat curves under 20 degrees), but Anna's is at 25 degrees. Plus, her bones aren't done growing, which means that the curve will probably get a lot worse if it's left untreated. She's going to need a brace, and the orthopedist refers the Stevensons to yet another specialist who will make Anna's brace.
The day after the doctor's appointment, Abby heads to the mall with the BSC to shop for the Winter Carnival that the club is planning for their charges. She feels guilty for leaving Anna all alone at home, moping over her diagnosis. Abby is determined to spend as much time with her sister as possible, whether she wants that or not. As soon as Abby is home from the mall, she sets up some video game so she and Anna can play. This doesn't exactly thrill Anna; not only does she not like video games, but had been watching an orchestra performance on tv. Also, Anna starts pushing Abby away by drawing attention to the fact that they're not as alike as they used to be, due to the scoliosis situation. This hurts Abby; she doesn't get why Anna would react the way she has been when Abby is just trying to help.
Mrs. Stevenson manages to get an appointment with the doctor who makes braces for the end of that week. Abby insists on going along, even though she doesn't need to. Beforehand, though, she gets her hair cut so that it looks just like Anna's. When Anna asks her why, Aby tells her that it's a show of solidarity....like when all members of a sports team shave their heads in honor of a teammate with cancer. Anyway, getting the brace made is kind of a process, and Abby decides that Anna still needs some cheering up. Since she'll need larger clothing sizes to fit over the brace, Abby wants to buy her some new stuff. She enlists Stacey's help, and Stacey actually does a pretty good job of picking things out that Anna would like. Unfortunately, Abby vetoes everything as being too boring, and picks out stuff that SHE likes instead. Abby can tell that Anna's not thrilled with the new stuff,and decides to try even harder to make Anna happy again. Then, the day for picking up Anna's new brace comes. She asks Abby not to go along, and when she gest home and Abby wants to try the brace on so she'll know what Anna's going through, Anna refuses. Abby keeps sticking as close to Anna as she can, in case Anna needs any help. Things kind of come to a head on Anna's first day at school with the brace. Alan Gray knocks into her, causing her to fall and drop her books. It was a total accident, and he's very apologetic, but Abby pretty much rips him a new one anyway. Anna is really upset, but not at Alan. She knows he didn't mean to knock her down; Anna's upset at Abby instead. She's had enough of Abby's clinginess, and the girls stop talking to each other.
The silent treatment lasts for almost an entire week. Then, during the Winter Carnival, Abby catches Anna in line for a sled ride. Abby is convinced that Anna is going to get hurt, and tries to stop her. She's too late, and Anna takes her ride down the hill. When Abby sees that her sister is okay, she finally realizes that Anna isn't fragile just because she has scoliosis. Anna also apoligizes for being kind of snippy and shutting Abby out; she just needed to process her diagnosis in her own way. The girls make up...and make plans to go to the mal and exchange the clothes that Abby bought. :)
Thoughts and Things
- Does scoliosis really warrant the kind of reactions that it got in this book? We did scoliosis checks in school every year, and it was never a big deal....even for the kids that had it. With the way Anna and especially Abby reacted, you'd think one of them had cancer or something.
- I'm really surprised that Suzanne Weyn got Abby's "voice" down as a well as she did. She's normally a better Mary Anne writer.
- Abby looks fantastic on the cover; definitely her best one. It's a little ironic, though, that the tomboyish, sports-loving twin is the one who looks the most girly!
- The whole Winter Carnival plotline was a big yawn. So what....another neighborhood festival in the Schafer-Spier backyard. Also, how is this event (which everyone wanted to do) different from the stupid Fall Into Fall block party from #100 (which no one wanted to do)?