A wonderful story that shows the epitome of perseverance, The Running Dream tells a tale of tragedy and triumph. When Jessica, a high school track star, loses her leg in a bus accident that kills a teammate, she loses hope for any future – how can she live when running is now a distant memory?
Encouraged by friends and family to return to school, Jessica finally leaves her bed to face the world. But she soon discovers how woefully behind she is in her classes. She seeks the help of Rosa – a wheelchair-bound girl with cerebral palsy whom Jessica never noticed before. Despite her disability, Rosa is a math genius, and helps Jessica catch up. By getting to know Rosa, Jessica realizes that a disability does not define a person. Hope fills her life again, and her hope to get better is renewed.
Unlike other stories that sugarcoat the harsh reality that accompanies a disastrous incident, this honest story addresses all aspects of Jessica’s life. Readers will relate as she struggles with school and unyielding teachers, as well as talking to a boy she likes.
Van Draanen has crafted a beautiful story that exemplifies the true meaning of love and friendship, and shows the power of determination. As Jessica’s relationship with Rosa develops, she realizes that there is nothing she wouldn’t do to ensure Rosa’s happiness – and soon a plan for just that begins to take shape.
The Running Dream is an enthralling story of devastating sadness, tremendous hope, and incessant determination. The lovable characters are easy to relate to, and even easier to root for. The raw emotions will have readers laughing and crying as Jessica works toward recovery. The beautiful friendship that blooms exemplifies the true meaning of love, and shows the benefits of hard work. This book is a must-read for anyone who has ever experienced tough times and worked to overcome obstacles in life.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.