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The Running Dream

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  12,337 ratings  ·  2,109 reviews
Winner of the 2012 Schneider Family Book Award

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
...more
Hardcover, 332 pages
Published January 11th 2011 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Chelsea Weaver-Smith I loved The Fault in our Stars, and I this is one of my all-time favorite books! It is a really quick read for me, and yes, well-written as well as…moreI loved The Fault in our Stars, and I this is one of my all-time favorite books! It is a really quick read for me, and yes, well-written as well as captivating. Read my review if you have any more questions. I think I covered any others you may have!(less)
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3rd out of 38 books — 56 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Whitney Atkinson
I can't believe I listened to this entire thing in one night. It was so addicting. My favorite thig about it is that it's not just some story about Jessica recovering and being able to run again, but it has this great moral about disabilities in general that you should never judge anyone based off of their looks. I think the fact that this book incorporated and highlighted a character with cerebral palsy was incredible and eye-opening.
Overall this book had an awesome moral and it exceeded my ex
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Lisa
I was nervous about reading The Running Dream. On the one hand, Wendelin Van Draanen has become one of my favorite YA authors over the past few months, thanks to her brilliant Sammy Keyes YA mystery series. On the other, I've come to be wary of novels featuring kids with amputeeism--thanks, in part, to books like Hannah Tinti's The Good Thief, which stars a kid without a hand but reads as if the author has never talked to a person without a hand in her life. So I'd been deliberately avoiding Van ...more
Frezanda
There was some books that a 5-star is not enough to convey how amazing they are. This is one of the books. I wish I can give it six stars, ten stars....because this book is up there on a caliber by itself.

For me, what makes this book amazing is how real the story was told. This story is an emotional one and actually Wendelin van DRaanen can easily exploit the story to make us, the reader, sob and cry and feel sorry for the character. But, she didn't do it.
She told the story as it is, nothing les
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Cat
I am not a runner. In fact, my body vehemently resists most exercise, preferring the couch, Netflix, and fistfuls of potato. So a book centered around the love of running did not seem to be my cup of tea. But this? This was pretty good. It almost, almost made me want to get up and run.

In The Running Dream, 17-year old track star Jessica has just lost her right foot. The book follows her through her frustrations, healing, and eventual ability to feel comfortable in her own skin. It's a perfectly
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Monica!
The Running Dream is a book that I have been consistently recommending to middle-grade readers who come in looking for something out of the teen section that’s full of Occasionally Depressing Realism while at the same time Lacking In Swears Or Sex Or Satan.

It is also a book that, up until today, I had never read.

And then last night, out of nowhere, I was seized with terror. Shit. Shit shit shitballs. What if The Running Dream is not, in fact, a heartwarming story of a girl overcoming the loss o
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Brian Kelley
Positive. Uplifting. Inspirational.

Unlike any book I've read recently, positive energy radiates from Wendelin Van Draanen's YA novel The Running Dream. I'd added the book to my "to read" pile at some point this summer and over the course of a few months several books have shouldered their way past it and into my hands.

It took my overhearing a conversation in my 8th grade classroom a couple of weeks ago for me to anchor the book solidly into my upcoming (current) reading blitz during the holida
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Duffy Pratt
I'm torn about how I feel about this book. For what it aspires to be, its quite good. But I wanted more from it. The story is decently told and moves along nicely. The characters are stock, but there's enough depth there to tug on the heartstrings at a couple of points. For basic background, this is the story of a high school track star who loses her right leg in a bus accident.

There are several aspects of the book that are quite good. First, there is a strong and clear sense of what its like to
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Hallie
I am deeply out of step with friends again on this one, and it feels a bit like kicking a puppy to say how much I disliked a book about a runner who loses her foot but overcomes her tragedy - in theory. In reality, I disliked the prose, very much disliked the voice and hated the odd little pro-track-team/anti-other types of athletes (or bad track team whiners) thing going on. Little quote to indicate the prose before another few quotes just to vent. This one comes two pages after Jessica asks he ...more
Arpita
5 glorious stars to this one! What a wonderful and brave story!

I often find myself steering clear of falling and getting back stories these days. Often they feel manipulative and contrived. But The Running Dream, now this is a genuinely good story about falling and getting back up. The tone is honest and sincere. Wendelin Van Draanen made every character in The Running Dream relatable/understandable. Jessica's story is about losing and winning. The Running Dream is more about the love of life t
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Aleeeeeza
like becca so very perfectly encapsulated, this book's 'very... vanilla. Very squeaky clean.'

couldn't have put it better meself. in a lot of ways it reminds me of Wonder, with the plot revolving around a disabled teen/tween tryna get his/her shizz together, and the book being a neatly-packaged message on the power of kindness and/or determination. i guess i prefer my contemps to be a little more...realistic, as in, a lot more dark and gut-wrenching and thus life-like.
alisha
I’m a very unathletic person. I don’t tend to enjoy exercising and don’t play sports, so for me to say that The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen made me want to get up and run is high praise in itself.

The Running Dream follows 16 year old Jessica through her journey of grief and healing as she attempts to live life as an amputee. Her loss of her leg means the possibility of running (Jessica’s main passion) seems to be just a dream - unattainable.

One of the reasons I rated this book highly
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Stephanie
This book was outstanding! It will definitely stick with me for the rest of my life. It made me appreciate my life and what/who I have. After reading this book I've definitely changed my way on how I see people with disabilities- not that I ever saw disabled people in a bad way- but it's made me realize that there's way more to them then there condition and that I should take the time to get to know them. Also, since I enjoy exercise and running it also motivated me a whole lot more to just get ...more
Sashana
I'm a huge fan of track and field. Which is not surprising if you knew where I came from. In my country this guy *points to picture* is practically a national hero.
description

While reading this story I couldn't get Oscar Pistorius out of my mind. He was one of track and field's biggest comeback stories this year and, like Jessica, he is also a BK (below knee) amputee. My throat was raw for most of this novel-- but in a good way. Jessica's attitude towards her missing limb, life, family, and friends was ver
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Suzanne
I wasn't in the right frame of mind to start this: The realism and the idea of the main character coping with a catastrophic injury just wasn't appealing. Soon, though, I was into it and amazed at how involved I was becoming. Almost every place in the narrative that things could have gone sappy, I allowed myself to find uplifting. What might have come off as didactic turned out inspirational. Bits that some writers might cast in a melodramatic light were just honestly emotional.

The scenario isn'
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Mrs. Cubby Culbertson
Well, I believe I have a new top contender for my favorite book for 2013! My favorite books for 2012 were Wonder and The One and Only Ivan. Ahhh, The Running Dream. I loved the story and I love the way that Jessica's emotions, and goals, and circumstances can be recognized in many other situations. Her determination and spirit can be inspiration for many people facing difficulties. Wow! Just WOW! Get it! Read it! Enjoy it!
Alessandra
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brandy
Every now and then I read a book like this just to make sure that my heart isn't really made of stone. This is the kind of book that keeps you weepy throughout, both with Jessica's despair and depression straight through her recovery and the kindness of her friends.

Jessica is on her way home from a track meet (at which she ran her best race ever) when the team bus is hit by a truck hauling cars to junkyard. In the accident, one of her teammates is killed, and Jessica loses her right leg below t
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Anna Johnson

Jessica was an amazing track runner before her dreams were shattered coming home from the race in which she ran her fastest time. The track teams bus crashes taking Jessica's right leg and her teammate's life. Jessica is devastated as she struggles to do everyday actions and she loses all hope in ever running again. Once Jessica becomes well enough--both physically and mentally--she makes a scary return to school. Due to her condition, Jessica's eyes are opened to the other students who have dis
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Amanda
Sep 12, 2014 Amanda rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: runners and anyone who has ever wanted to cross any type of finish line
1st read 7/21/11: I loved this book!! The Running Dream is definitely one of my all-time favorites. I don't know if it was the plot, or the characters, or the running theme, but I loved it all the same. Jessica, the main character is very similar to me, which made the message really hit home.

1. She is 16.
2. She is a runner. "I am a runner. That's what I do. That's who I am" (6).
3. She runs the 400 meter dash. "Fifty-five flat! It's a new personal best for me. A new record for the league" (11).
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Grace
At first glance, The Running Dream doesn't seem like much. Just another one of those hart-warming stories or whatnot. But they didn't seem to think that way on Goodreads. Every review I had read gave this book a 5 stars, and an infinite amount of praises. So, setting my low expectations aside, I went into the book with fresher, better viewpoint. And higher expectations. Needless to say, I wish I had kept those low expectations, because I wasn't all that impressed by this book...

Jessica wasn't a
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Helen
This is the story of 16-year-old Jessica, a high school track star who loses part of her right leg below the knee after being in a bus accident following a track meet. Jessica lives to run and is devestated to think that she will never run again. The story begins in the hospital following the accident and we see Jessica's progress through her first-person viewpoint as she slowly adjusts physically and mentally to her new condition.

Jessica is likeable and realistic. If she appears whiney and unap
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Linda Dexheimer
This book is a great feel-good read for just about anyone but especially for teenagers. It's a contemporary realistic fiction that readers can relate to easily. The first couple of chapters can be frustrating for an adult to read because the character, Jessica, is rather whiny and obstinate but as the story progresses she pulls you in. Despite being tedious in the beginning, I found myself wondering what Jessica was going to do next and how she was going to handle different situations. Jessica i ...more
Eden
Short chapters open for a direct path into Jessica's mind; the reader is right there with her from the beginning feeling her despair mingled with her love of running. So when the depression kicks in, Jessica doesn't seem too mopey since we already sympathize with her. The doubts and self-conscious thoughts make her likeable, flawed and relatable.

The plot is surprisingly simple. Aside from Jessica's personal struggles and worries over insurance that had excellent obstacle potential (but were reso
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Liz

I ran competitively for seven years of my life, and still run on occasion, so young adult novels about runners feel like they were written specifically with me in mind. I’m really glad that my book club gave me the opportunity to read this book as it’s been chilling on my shelves for a while. It sounds like the weirdest thing to say about a book where the main character is an amputee, but The Running Dream made me all kinds of happy.

The Running Dream is one of the most readable books I’ve read i
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Karin Foster
Wendelin Van Draanen is one of my favorite young adult authors. Her development of Sammy Keyes and her story lines have been humorous, clever and talented. And I'm sure that numerous readers have been entertained by Sammy.

The Running Dream is also a good story, but not because of the above mentioned characteristics. It's good because the author helps us feel empathy for the character and her situation. But, this is not a tale told in a particularly unique way, nor does the author take particula
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Jess
4.5 stars
This was such a beautiful book and an inspiring story!! I cried so much throughout reading it, it just really touched my heart!! Loved the writing, I really liked Flipped by this author too so I want to read more of her work!! This book was great I highly recommend it!!! My only complaint and why it doesn't get a 5 stars is because the story felt rushed, some parts I really wanted to see how it panned out but it was glossed over. She did pack a lot in a short book though and I'm so glad
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Lisa
I liked the story. I would have no reservation about recommending the book to a student at the middle school level. There is some detailed description of the injury (leg amputation), but nothing too graphic.

The message of the story is great and is one that all people should hear. The book will make kids think about that message because it is happening to someone who could be their friend.

As an adult reader I felt like there were a few things that were just kind of glossed over that I wanted mor
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Stephenee Foster
I picked this book up because this is something I wanna do. Prothstetics. This was one of the BEST books I have ever read. I loved the characters and how real this story feels. I loved the meaning that's behind this story and the writing was PERFECT. HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend. AMAZE.
Beatrice
The Running Dream is such an inspiring story that has encouraged me to consciously be more aware of how lucky I am. It really is so important to be grateful, and to remember not to take things for granted, though that is much easier said than done. Jessica was a very strong protagonist with so much determination and self-awareness. I really enjoyed seeing things through the lens of her perspective, as she was both likeable and relatable. The Running Dream is realistic and familiar, yet its subje ...more
Keziah
What would you do if you lost the one thing that mattered most? This book is realistic fiction. I thought this book was amazing! The structure of this book was very helpful to understand how the main character changed from the beginning of the book to the end of the book. The book is made into four sections.

The main character is a 16 year old girl named Jessica. She's a runner on her school's track team and while going to a relay race her team ends up in a bus accident which make her lose one
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Opinions? Like/Dislike? 10 69 Feb 06, 2015 03:53PM  
Wild Things: YA G...: October 2013- The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen 6 11 Oct 31, 2013 06:25PM  
2013 Hub Reading ...: The Running Dream 2 11 May 05, 2013 11:15AM  
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Van Draanen was born in Chicago, Illinois. One of her early influences was Dandelion Wine . According to the author, the book was "about the magic of growing up and [it] reminded me of all the wonderful mischief my brothers and I got into when we were young." Bradbury's work inspired Van Draanen to write How I Survived Being a Girl, which was published by HarperCollins in 1997. Other early influe ...more
More about Wendelin Van Draanen...
Flipped Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief Runaway Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy (Sammy Keyes, #3) Sammy Keyes and the Skeleton Man (Sammy Keyes, #2)

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“If the mind's not strong, the body acts weak, even if it's not. If the mind says it's too cold or too rainy or too windy to run, the body will be more than happy to agree. If the mind says it would be better to rest or recover or cut practice, the body will be glad to oblige.” 46 likes
“I wipe away my tears and nod, because the pain in my leg is nothing compare to the one in my heart.” 32 likes
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