My friend Rachel says I’m a runner now. I run miles at the gym, I’ve done my first race (4.6 miles!), and I’m signed up for a half-marathon in the spring. I’m officially a runner.
So when I came across The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen in our school’s library before Christmas break, I was interested. Because I’m a runner and us runners need to stick together. Or something like that.
In The Running Dream, sixteen-year-old Jessica and her track team are on their way back from a meeting when the unthinkable happens: a truck loses control and slams into their school bus, killing her friend and mangling her right leg. So bad that doctors have to amputate below the knee.
It would be tragic for anyone, but for Jessica who is on her way to a full-ride college scholarship for track and field, it is devastating. The reader follows Jessica through her depression, her physical therapy, and her struggle to live with her new normal.
What makes this story so beautiful is not that everything is magically fixed at the end. But she gets to create a bigger and better life through the lessons she learns after losing her leg. This book would be a great read for a reluctant girl reader who would rather be on the field than reading a book. It’s full of inspiration, athletes, and school struggles. There’s mental battles, boy drama, and a supportive best friend. And under all that, there’s Jessica and her desire–her need–to run, to push herself, to feel free and fly. And that’s pretty much going to connect with any young adult reader, but especially girls.
And runners. Like me, of course.
DISCLOSURE: AFFILIATE LINKS USED.