Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Running Dream” as Want to Read:
The Running Dream
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Running Dream

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  25,120 ratings  ·  3,831 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 sh
Hardcover, 332 pages
Published January 11th 2011 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  25,120 ratings  ·  3,831 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Running Dream
Cristina Monica
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: disability, sports
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
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z2018, ya, ebook
The main reason why I wanted to read this was for the friendship that I thought would develop between Jessica, a girl who just lost her leg in an accident, and Rosa, a girl who Jessica had previously ignored because she didn't know what to say to her because she had CP. I guess I thought I was going to get a beautiful friendship that ended up being powerful and genuine but unfortunately, I didn't get that. I thought that their friendship was very shallow and I wasn't really impressed. I think th ...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
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 STARS. OH MY GOSH I LOVED THIS BOOK. From the first page to the last page, it completely grabbed me, held my attention, and made me super emotional. I can't believe it took me THIS LONG to read another Wendelin Van Draanan book — because if you know me, you know I'm HEAD OVER HEELS OBSESSED WITH FLIPPED. Of course, as a total die-hard fangirl I still love Flipped best of all, but The Running Dream is AMAZING and here's why!

The characters.
ALL the characters in this book are so well-written. Je
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
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 suc
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
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
ash ♡
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanan, and after hearing about The Running Dream, I immediately requested it from the library.

And...even though I had no plans whatsoever to read it last night...I finished reading this book IN TWO HOURS! That's how good it was!!!! It was the first time in so long that I stayed up late reading a book...and I don't regret it.


.・゜゜・Things I liked・゜゜・.

Rachel Aranda
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, owned
What a delightful read “The Running Dream” turned out to be! It’s a YA contemporary novel about a high school runner, Jessica, involved in an accident that results in one of her teammates dying and her own leg being removed. There were realistic yet best scenario views of hardships and victories an amputee would face both mentally and physically. The addition of Rosa, a girl with Cerebral Palsy, was wonderful as it helped put things into perspective for Jessica and drew my attention in more.

Lisa Dunckley
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jessica loves to run. She runs competitively for her school, and she runs because she loves it. When the bus that the track team is on is hit by a truck, a girl is killed and Jessica, well, Jessica loses a leg. Having a limb amputated is unbelievably hard for anyone to deal with, but when your life is running it's even worse. Jessica has to deal with caring for her stump and learning how to use a prosthesis, with stares and comments, and mostly with losing the ability to be who she is—a runner. ...more
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) read­in
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
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
Rana Najjar
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Fascinating , educational , and extremely emotional journey"
Sarah DiMento
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
This book makes me appreciate more what God has given me, especially of course my two feet. Really enjoy the story telling as well as the characters. So great. The information about running and the athletes with disability got me check on YouTube to find out about 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.
(spoiler alert)
This was a book that I couldn't really relate to. A runner loosing heir leg in a car accident...its simply just not fair. The main character of the book overcame the challenge by purchasing a iron leg and standing back up again. Although all the doctors say that just being able to stand up again is a god's bless, she aimed for her dream and git back on the track again.
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. And not just because it's all about a high school track star (confession: I ran varsity track and cross country all through high school so all the nerdy running stuff? Yeah, I get it).

First of all, it's clean. No profanity, no sex, no drinking and/or drug use. None of the content that makes contemporary YA edgy these days. And it's a breath of fresh air because you know what? I didn't miss any of that stuff one bit.

That's not to say Van Draanen shied away from deali
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
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.
Lisa Elis
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it

thanks Abbie, for reviewing it so well that I jumped right on board xD

: it was so educational and fascinating to read about running and lost limbs and prosthetics
: also the theme of seeing PEOPLE not their CONDITION was so well done and I loved it
: the STYLE omw the STYLE
: the writing style made me feel so many things. not really the words or the narrator's voice or anything but THE STYLE AND HOW IT WAS WRITTEN
: also I love how this book was arranged and divided
: I
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such I good book! I highly recommend this book.
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
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison County NC...: Uplifting Read 1 2 Apr 02, 2020 12:11PM  
Book Report 1 3 Mar 22, 2018 11:29AM  
The Running Dream 1 5 Mar 21, 2018 04:21PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Out of My Mind
  • Gym Candy
  • One for the Murphys
  • Counting by 7s
  • Because of Mr. Terupt (Mr. Terupt, #1)
  • See You at Harry's
  • Restart
  • Rules
  • Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus
  • The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl
  • Fish in a Tree
  • House Arrest (House Arrest, #1)
  • A Night Divided
  • I'll Be There
  • The War That Saved My Life (The War That Saved My Life, #1)
  • A Mango-Shaped Space
  • I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives
  • Crow
See similar books…
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

News & Interviews

As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of...
23 likes · 4 comments
“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.” 66 likes
“I wipe away my tears and nod, because the pain in my leg is nothing compare to the one in my heart.” 39 likes
More quotes…