Wendelin Van Draanen’s The Running Dream tells the inspiring story of tragedy and determination to achieve what seems to be impossible. Jessica is a runner through and through. But when a devastating bus crash causes doctors to amputate her leg, Jessica begins to wonder what her life is now about. Going home opens the door to new challenges in which Jessica conquers step by step. With help from her loyal best friend, Fiona, Jessica goes back to school but she struggles to return to normalcy and to fit in with her peers who are now treating her differently because of her disability. Then she meets Rosa, a girl with cerebral palsy whom Jessica previously overlooked before the accident. Rosa gives Jessica a new outlook on life and the world around her. Encouraged by her growing mountain of confidence, Jessica begins to wonder what else is possible and if she can once again become a runner. Van Draanen masterfully creates an engaging window into Jessica’s mind and her feelings at each point in the story. A striking yet saddening introduction and a notably wonderful ending work together to illustrate the true meaning of perseverance. Those who love an underdog plot line will surely enjoy this uplifting novel.