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The Running Dream

4.3  ·  Rating details ·  18,724 Ratings  ·  2,939 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 str
Hardcover, 332 pages
Published January 11th 2011 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Lola  Reviewer
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

What an emotional and hopeful journey.

Jessica is a born runner. Unfortunately, she lost a leg in a tragic car accident. Fortunately, she—unlike her classmate—didn’t die, but her passion (running) did. Or so she thinks.

Luckily, her case isn’t hopeless. She will be able to walk again, with the right prosthetic limb. Her whole track team is raising money to help her—to get her back on her feet.

Jessica is very lucky. I’m sure not every person who was in a car accident and survived has th
Whitney Atkinson
Apr 26, 2015 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 18, 2012 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 22, 2010 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
Feb 05, 2013 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
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
“Silent tears burn, then pool in my ears.
But they don’t change a thing.
I wipe my eyes and check the clock again.
4:32 a.m.
It’s my eighth day with no leg.”

What if you lost the one thing that means the most to you?

For me, as a reader, it would be terrifying if I went blind. I would lose the ability to see words with my eyes and imprint their meaning into my mind. What a scary thought. While it wouldn't be the end of the world - of course there are still audiobooks to listen to - it would be such
Jan 02, 2014 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
Oct 02, 2015 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
Duffy Pratt
Jul 09, 2014 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
Brian Kelley
Jan 08, 2012 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
Nov 22, 2015 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
Amanda Koger
Mar 06, 2016 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
Maddie Greiff
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was so good! It was amazing to see Jessica to recover from what she went through. Without her friends and family i don't think she would have mad it through what she went through.
May 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Một tác phẩm nhẹ nhàng, đơn giản nhưng đầy lạc quan và có tác dụng khích lệ tinh thần khá tốt.
Nhân vật chính là Jessica - cô gái trung học xem điền kinh là một phần không thể thiếu trong cuộc sống và được chạy cũng quan trọng như việc hít thở. Tuy nhiên để tăng phần kịch tính cho cuộc đời Jess, số phận tạo nên một tai nạn thảm khốc khiến bạn cô mất mạng trong khi chính bản thân cô may mắn hơn nên chỉ mất đi một chân.
Nội dung tiếp theo hẳn ai cũng dễ dàng đoán được. Ban đầu là sự đau đớn, sợ hãi
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this book! It actually correlated with my leg injury and how I have to make it through each day step by step. My leg injury was nothing though compared to losing a foot, such as this girl did. This book describes the problems she faced on her way to recovery and how she overcame more obstacles. Her dream: to run again. Will her dream come true? Guess you have to read it to find out. I thought the author did amazing job writing this book and I wouldn't have changed anything about it. This ...more
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Fascinating , educational , and extremely emotional journey"
Sarah (Starry Night Reader)
I read this because I love to run and rarely see books that center around running. I wasn't expecting much but surprisingly I enjoyed this story a lot. A bit cheesy but still inspiring and has a meaningful underlying message.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I actually enjoyed this one. I loved Jessica's attitude despite everything that happened to her. This wasn't a 300+ page pity party. Yes there were times when she started to fall into that rabbit hole but she always quickly shook it off and kept going. Jess was strong and inspirational and I loved it.
Krista Regester
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was an experience. As the main character Jessica struggled through events that no high school student should, it shaped her into a new person. How the character felt during her most difficult moments was beautifully written and uplifting.
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
Joyce Yattoni
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book has been out for awhile, 2012 to be exact and has been on my TBR pile too long. It was the pick me up I needed this week. The audio was superb and gave me some flexibility during a hectic schedule. Talk about restoring my faith in humanity. Jessica, a junior in high school, was involved in a school bus accident. She could have felt sorry for herself when she lost her leg, but showed great determination, grit and humility as she fought for a "normal" life. I loved, loved, loved Fiona, h ...more
Dec 03, 2014 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
Dec 08, 2013 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
Feb 15, 2011 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.
Mrs. Cubby Culbertson
Feb 10, 2013 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!
Lulu Ali
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed, 2016
So powerful! I got emotional quite a few time.
JT Belangela
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The next time I have a “bad” day … you know, when the barista messes up my order or the line at the bank is long, remind me of Wendelin Van Draanen’s book, The Running Dream. This inspiring, moving novel follows the story of Jessica Carlisle, a sixteen-year-old world-class runner who is seriously injured in a car accident. The accident would be life-altering enough if it didn’t cost Jessica one of her legs. I’m not going to lie … this book is tough to get through at times, and if you’re a mother ...more
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was really cute! I love how "the running dream" kept evolving as she made progress with her leg. It was meant to be inspiring and it was. If you're looking for a quick, easy, uplifting read, then definitely read this!
Jan 15, 2011 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).
Sara Kate
What a sweet story this was. Very inspiring and emotional which surprised me. I love being so pleasantly surprised by a book. This was such a great read and every young girl, boy even adults should read this little gem. It was so easy to get swept away with this story and the message behind it.
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AP Language SHS: Avery Baldwin A3 Summer Reading 4 9 Sep 20, 2017 12:42PM  
Ian Somerhalder F...: Spring 2017 Teen Book Selection 1 7 Jan 29, 2017 06:09PM  
Crazy for Young A...: The Running Dream → Start Date: August 15th, 2016 10 11 Aug 17, 2016 09:10PM  
Opinions? Like/Dislike? 10 77 Feb 06, 2015 03:53PM  
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Wendelin Van Draanen has written more than thirty novels for young readers and teens. She is the author of the 18-book Edgar-winning Sammy Keyes series, and wrote Flipped which was named a Top 100 Children’s Novel for the 21st Century by SLJ, and became a Warner Brothers feature film with Rob Reiner directing. Her novel The Running Dream was awarded ALA’s Schneider Family Award for its portrayal o ...more
More about Wendelin Van Draanen...
“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.” 62 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
More quotes…