I'm a really big fan of the 'Janie' series and I've always thought she made the wrong choice when she went back to the Johnsons. Just thought I'd share. Please read and review! Much love!
Senior year wasn't really all it was cracked up to be. Janie's last year of high school had been a blur, but she was okay with that. Balancing research papers, state exams, and her ever-expanding family had ensured that she had no time to panic about her impending future. Besides, what was there to panic about? What else could happen to her? How hard could it be to choose between colleges? She had chosen between two sets of parents and that decision would follow her forever. Compared to that, her choice of college was trivial. Everything seemed trivial now. If Janie really allowed herself to stop and dwell on things, it might have irked her that the kidnapping would forever overshadow any important even in her life. But Janie wrote her papers, studied for her exams and never stopped, never slowed down. Slowing down was no longer an option.
Janie wouldn't allow her parents to slow down either. The parents she had chosen to keep would sit still all day, every day if given the chance. The horrors that their first daughter had committed weighed too heavily on their hearts. Janie often wondered why they blamed themselves for Hannah's transgressions, without placing any blame on Hannah at all. They had raised her with the exact same love and care that they had raised Janie with, and she had still turned out bad. It seemed that Hannah had been doomed from the start, and nothing that the Johnsons had done could have saved her. There was no need for them to live with such guilt, but there was nothing that Janie could say to help them see that. So she kept them busy instead. She signed her mother back up for her candy-striping shifts at the hospital, without her mother's permission, (It seemed as though Janie's days of asking for permission were over.) and bugged her father until he had resumed coaching his soccer team, even going to far as to promise to attend every one of his games. That was a promise that she had faithfully kept.
On the days that her mother wasn't needed at the hospital and her father wasn't holding a practice, Janie doubled her efforts. She would insist that her mother teach her to cook, stating that when she married Reeve, she would need to be able to feed him. Her mother agreed that the way to Reeve's heart was definitely through his stomach and patiently walked her through lasagnas and meatloaf and green beans, not knowing that Janie much preferred Mrs. Spring's spaghetti to lasagna. Janie also insisted that her father teach her to drive, no matter how nerve-wracking it was. Every time she climbed behind the wheel she was grateful that she never played soccer for her father. His 'coaching' was not for the faint of heart. Still, she powered through sessions in empty church parking lots and deserted back roads, brushing away errant thoughts of how much more fun this would have been with her other dad.
Janie did what she could on the weekdays, and on the weekends she rented movies and popped popcorn and prayed that no one would want to talk. Taking lead to crying and crying lead to awkward silence and that was unbearable. So, Janie kept everyone busy so they wouldn't have time to talk. Quite frankly, Janie was exhausted.