Jessica does not just run, she is a runner. But when a car accident (that kills one of her friends) causes her to lose her leg, she thinks her life is over. The emotional course Jessica takes (from waking up in the hospital to a very special race) is filled with as many turns as the school track she used to run. But with help from her family, old and new friends, and a little belief in herself, Jessica's journey to recovery will have the readers cheering her on. Van Draanen creates a realistic and humorous story about what people who are "different" can face. — Jeanette
Winter 2011 Kids' Next List
“A favorite, honor-winning author has done it again! Jessica, a budding high school track star, has been running since third grade. When she loses a leg in a tragic accident, her world shatters. Learning to cope with her new reality does not come easily as Jessica begins a year-long journey of discovery. With humor and sensitivity, this novel offers readers a chance to choose to see the person, not the disability.”
— Jeanne Snyder, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL
When Jessica is told she’ll never run again, she puts herself back together—and learns to dream bigger than ever before. The acclaimed author of Flipped delivers a powerful and healing story.
Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She’s not comforted by the news that she’ll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run?
As she struggles to cope, Jessica feels that she’s both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don’t know what to say act like she’s not there. Jessica’s embarrassed to realize that she’s done the same to a girl with CP named Rosa. A girl who is going to tutor her through all the math she’s missed. A girl who sees right into the heart of her.
With the support of family, friends, a coach, and her track teammates, Jessica may actually be able to run again. But that’s not enough for her now. She doesn’t just want to cross finish lines herself—she wants to take Rosa with her.
“Inspirational. The pace of Van Draanen’s prose matches Jessica’s at her swiftest. Readers will zoom through the book just as Jessica blazes around the track. A lively and lovely story.” —Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
When Wendelin Van Draanen ran her first marathon, she was struck by the people with physical handicaps who were also running and was inspired to write this book about overcoming adversity with courage and grace and strength.
She is the author of many beloved and award-winning books. For middle graders, she’s written Swear to Howdy and the Sammy Keyes mystery series. For teens and tweens, there’s Flipped,The Running Dream,Confessions of a Serial Kisser, and Runaway. And for younger readers, check out the Shredderman quartet and the Gecko and Sticky series. Wendelin Van Draanen lives in Central California with her husband and two sons. Find her on the Web at WendelinVanDraanen.com or on Twitter at @WendelinVanD.
"I read The Running Dream on my way to the World Championships. I nearly missed my flight for reading it and inhaled it before I touched down. It's a truly touching story that feels very real."--Katrin Green, Paralympic Gold Medalist
"This heart-touching story is a helpful reminder that we must appreciate each day and each blessing. When I go around "Rigor Mortis Bend" and think of Jessica, my legs do not feel nearly as tired anymore."--Jordan Hasay, four-time USA Track & Field Jr. Women's Champion
"Van Draanen's extensive research into both running and amputees pays dividends--readers will truly feel what's it like to walk (or run) a mile (or 10) in Jessica's shoes."--Booklist
"Inspirational. The pace of Van Draanen's prose matches Jessica's at her swiftest. Readers will zoom through the book just as Jessica blazes around the track. A lively and lovely story."--Kirkus Reviews
"Van Draanen delivers an abundance of interesting medical detail and emotional authenticity in this accessible and inspirational novel."--The Horn Book Magazine