Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Running Dream, by Wendelin Van Draanen

Title: The Running Dream

Author: Wendelin Van Draanen

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Year: 2011

Pages: 352

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Themes: identity, friendship, survival, overcoming hardship

Age Range: Sixth Grade and up

Summary(from Goodreads): 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 with crutches and a first cyborg-like prosthetic, Jessica feels oddly both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don't know what to say, act like she's not there. Which she could handle better if she weren't now keenly aware that she'd done the same thing herself 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.

Review: Wendelin Van Draanen, the prolific author of the Sammy Keyes and Shredderman series (among many other books), has created an emotional and inspirational tale with The Running Dream. The book opens as sixteen year old Jessica wakes up in the hospital following a bus accident and the subsequent amputation of the lower portion of one of her legs. Told in Jessica's voice, the story follows her journey of recovery and reinvention. The details, though interesting (and true to the life of a contemporary high schooler), are not what made me love this tale. It is the bigger ideas that readers will take from it: endings are almost always beginnings, true friendships can be found in the most unusual of places, an individual is not defined by his/her disabilities, and with love and hope one can achieve the seemingly insurmountable. This book speaks to students, athletes, and anyone who has ever been humbled by a challenge. Read The Running Dream.

1 comment:

  1. I wish I'd known about this book when I was making the book list for my class...sounds like a perfect fit.