• Tabitha Tomala

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

Updated: Jul 12

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The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

Jessica’s only dream is to run. With the wind in her hair as she tears down the track, the rest of the world falls away. But when a car accident causes her leg to be amputated, she fears she will never run again. Her life becomes a daily battle as she must learn how to walk again and come to terms with having a prosthetic leg. But she will find help from a place she least expects it. A girl named Rosa who has Cerebral Palsy, a girl she never noticed before, suddenly becomes a new support system for her. With the help of her friends and family, Jessica will do all she can to try to run again. The Running Dream takes you into the mind of someone who’s entire world has changed. Jessica goes from being a star runner on her track team to struggling just to learn how to walk again. Until I read this book, I didn’t realize that the physical effort to recover from an amputation is as difficult as the mental effort. Jessica feels so defeated. The number of labels she puts on herself as people begin to treat her differently is heartbreaking. She feels as though she is a stranger, and someone to look down on. And while this is a work of fiction, I can see this happening in real life as well. But this isn’t just a book about the sense of defeat a person feels. It is also a book about how the little wins make all the difference. Something as simple as relearning how to climb the stairs or being able to shower. This is also a book that teaches us to never overlook a person just because of their disabilities. Wendelin Van Draanen has created a wonderful cast of characters. Never once did I doubt the raw emotions Jessica was feeling, or the growing support system that surrounded her. Combined with a powerful story that will leave you engrossed right until the end; I recommend this to fans of Young Adult. I would also label this as an appropriate read as there is only light romance.


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