The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

Running was like breathing to Jessica. It was her world. Her life. But all that changed when on the bus ride after setting a league record in the 400 Meter Dash she and her track friends were hit by a car. Now Jessica lays defeated in a hospital room. Her right leg BK (Below the Knee) is gone. How can she ever hope to run again? Her freedom... Gone.

The driver was killed and so was Lucy Sanders. What Jessica discovers later is that her parents are struggling to pay her medical bills which doesn't make her feel less guilty than she already does. Or maybe she feels less worthy of all the attention given to her. For now she is in constant gloom because she lost her leg. She can't even walk yet. It's so far away. She has to learn to be patient. Through old friends and new maybe she can feel less like a freak while she faces life after her dreams are shattered. Well maybe she doesn't have to lose her dream of running again...

About every five seconds I was crying during this book. Maybe that's a little too dramatic but I probably cried every chapter. This book had four parts, short chapters, and a lot of chapters so you can imagine. It was just her losing her leg and she was a runner. To just lose your leg like that... I love that she's a runner. I'm a wannabe runner. If I lost my leg like that? I would just feel defeated. I would give up.  And then here is this girl with so much potential who has to worry everyday now about how people will look at her. It was kind of weird that everybody sort of accepted her. Well except some enemies. 

In the beginning I felt that Van Draanen was going to go the same route as she did in Flipped. It's a really great book but it was a simple light read. I didn't see the character developing that far. As I got into it I realized that wouldn't be the case. With Rosa, her friend with cerebral palsy, I thought it felt weird. I don't know. The book didn't feel there. It felt like it was trying too hard to be a really positive story. Everything worked out in the end. I don't know. It didn't feel realistic. But that's just me I guess.

You know how I said I was crying every chapter? Well there was one point that I wanted to happen, that I expected to happen. And I thought by the end it wasn't going to happen but then it did. So it was this very climatic thing. There was this line (this is about Lucy) and I started crying but I also had this choking sob type thing going on. If you would have walked in my room you would have been worried. This book messed me up a lot. I loved it all. I kind of want the perspective of someone who can't use both legs. I think of Are You Alone On Purpose? but I want a story with a former runner. I know. I like to torture myself. So if you want to cry like a little kid but also feel really positive in the end go read this book.


  1. I have read Flipped (but not seen the movie) and read some of the Sammy Keyes series. I haven't heard of this one by the same author. It does sound like a tear-jerker! I enjoyed your review and think you did an excellent job explaining the book. I will probably read this one- when I don't have to go somewhere because when I cry- my face swells up and gets quite red! :)


    1. I always end up crying at school and try to disguise it as a yawn. So I know where your coming from (:


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