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The Running Dream

4.29  ·  Rating Details  ·  15,574 Ratings  ·  2,482 Reviews
An award-winning and inspiring novel. When Jessica's dreams are shattered, she puts herself back together—and learns to dream bigger than ever before.

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 stru
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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Community Reviews

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Whitney Atkinson
Apr 26, 2015 Whitney Atkinson rated it really liked it
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
Aug 19, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 31, 2014 Frezanda rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 27, 2014 Cat rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
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
Jubilation Lee
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
Oct 03, 2015 Irshad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen is undoubtedly a great book. It got me hooked right from the start. Just the synopsis alone is enough for anyone to pick the book up and immediately start reading it.

For me, the beginning of the book was the most memorable. It was when Jessica had just lost one of her legs; her worst nightmare. The horror, the pain and agony she had to deal with just to walk again was truly heartbreaking. Being a runner in her school, her legs are definitely the most im
Dec 13, 2015 Allison rated it really liked it
The Running Dream wasn’t just a book that you would read any day and put it down afterwards. After I finished reading this book, it made me think more and deeper about the situation.

Jessica, the star runner on her track team, loses a leg in a car crash. She struggles to walk or even hobble to places. This completely frustrates and agers her. She just keeps on asking herself, “Why did it have to be me?!” Eventually, the track team saves up enough money to generously buy Jessica a new prosthetic
Oct 26, 2014 Hallie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Brian Kelley
Jan 08, 2012 Brian Kelley rated it it was amazing
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
Amanda Koger
Mar 08, 2016 Amanda Koger rated it it was amazing
Favorite Quote: "That’s the funny thing about running. The deceptive thing about it. It may seem mindless, but it’s really largely mental. 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 will be better to rest or recover or cut practice, the body will be glad to oblige."

I may have, in fact, read this book in a day. I highly recommend it. Even if you aren
Duffy Pratt
Jul 13, 2014 Duffy Pratt rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
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
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
Dec 07, 2014 alisha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 22, 2014 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 10, 2012 Aleeeeeza rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012-read
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.
Lulu Ali
Mar 10, 2016 Lulu Ali rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed, 2016
So powerful! I got emotional quite a few time.
Aug 17, 2016 Trisha rated it really liked it
"I feel like I'm flying."

For a runner, you know exactly what that phrase means. The sound of your feet hitting the ground, your arms swishing, the breeze, the sun, the rain. I'm a runner. I absolutely love running and I have for a very long time.

I can't imagine if that had been taken away from me when I was younger - in high school. But that's what's happened to Jessica. In a tragic, horrible, senseless accident - a student is killed and Jessica is injured. This story is about Jessica's recovery
Nov 20, 2011 Sashana rated it really liked it
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.

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
Jun 30, 2011 Suzanne rated it really liked it
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'
Sep 12, 2014 Amanda rated it it was amazing
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).
Mar 05, 2012 Liz rated it it was amazing

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
Sep 04, 2015 Donna rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. I am so grateful I finished this in one sitting. It was a 'feel-good' story with a great message for everyone. I was so wrapped up in the story, I didn't really notice the writing or any of the other things I take into consideration as I write a review. Usually when the author is completely dedicated to painting a pretty picture, I start the eye rolling. This was a pretty picture, but it didn't bother me. It worked because the story constantly progressed and moved on.

This b
Feb 08, 2016 Noella rated it really liked it
Jessica loves running but an unfortunate accident leads to her losing a leg. The Running Dream is told through Jessica's perspective as she is fitted with a prosthetic leg and makes adjustments in her life. I thought the author captured the feeling of frustration and alienation as she integrates herself back into school. Jessica begins to take notice of Rosa, a girl with cerebral palsy in a wheelchair and learns not to define someone by their disability and not to let her own disability define h ...more
Oct 19, 2013 Beatrice rated it really liked it
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
Mrs. Cubby Culbertson
Jun 22, 2013 Mrs. Cubby Culbertson rated it it was amazing
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!
Ashani Waidyatillake
Jul 26, 2016 Ashani Waidyatillake rated it it was amazing
An award-winning and inspiring novel. When Jessica's dreams are shattered, she puts herself back together—and learns to dream bigger than ever before.

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. Peopl
Jun 08, 2016 Lauren rated it it was amazing
This is a great chapter book for older middle school aged students (7th or 8th) grade and into high school. It is a story about loss, commitment, the will to never give up and determination. The overall story is one about a 16 year old girl named Jessica who is an amazing track runner for her high school. She loves running so much and being a member of the team. Sadly, on the way home from a track meet, disaster occurs. Jessica's bus gets crashed into and members of the team are hurt badly inclu ...more
Mar 06, 2016 Emma rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I have never read a book that made me feel this way. The Running Dream is a truly inspiring book. It teaches that you need to be thankful for what you have and it also teaches you that just because you loose something doesn't mean that you are weaker.
I loved the characters in this book so much. I loved Jessica, the girl who lost her leg, because she always was trying to get better at everything she did and she worked hard on everything. She was so kind and caring. I also loved Fiona because she
Lesly Duran
Nov 25, 2015 Lesly Duran rated it it was amazing
You may be perfectly fine one second, then suddenly you think your life is over. This happened to the main character of the story named Jessica Carlisle. The genre of the book is realistic fiction because the events that happened in the story can happen in real life. Overall, this story was very emotional and made you be thankful you had both legs and arms. (view spoiler) ...more
Jun 17, 2016 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was 10/10. Go read it.

I guess that was the short version of this review. The Running Dream was just so good. Part of my enjoyment definitely stems from the fact that I am a runner myself, but I'm sure that's not something that's required in order to enjoy this book.

A huge part of what made me enjoy this book was the feels it gave me. I naturally just don't feel like I have very much emotions. I'm in a constant state of neutrality. So anything that makes me feel is super welcome in my
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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
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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.” 55 likes
“I wipe away my tears and nod, because the pain in my leg is nothing compare to the one in my heart.” 36 likes
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