Book Review: The Running Dream by Wendelin van Draanen

8354134Title: The Running Dream
Author: Wendelin van Draanen
Published date: 11th January 2011
Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Disabilities, Sports
Source: Paperback copy (owned)

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 struggles to cope with crutches and a first cyborg-like prosthetic, Jessica feels oddly both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don’t know what to say, act like she’s not there. Which she could handle better if she weren’t now keenly aware that she’d done the same thing herself to a girl with CP named Rosa. A girl who is going to tutor her through all the math she’s missed. A girl who sees right into the heart of her.

With the support of family, friends, a coach, and her track teammates, Jessica may actually be able to run again. But that’s not enough for her now. She doesn’t just want to cross finish lines herself—she wants to take Rosa with her

Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award


I feel like there should be more of this book on bookshelves in bookstores. Or at least, the bookstores in Malaysia. Because this book is amazing and I’ve never saw this book whenever I prowled around the YA section in bookstores.


I love this book a lot. Jessica’s determination and courage when it comes to facing her new life was inspiring. Sure, she had her low moments, but she didn’t give up. And I think what made me love this book the most (and probably what made it different from some other books) is the fact that it didn’t really focus on the romance, but more on Jessica’s recovery and friendships. Of course that didn’t mean the book devoid of romantic relationship— they are teenagers, it won’t be realistic if no one brought up boys or crushes.

I waited for something cliche-ish to happen in this book, like Jessica and her best friend started to pull away from each other, but it didn’t happen and I am so, so glad. It was also refreshing to read about the friendship between Jessica and Rosa. I’ve never known anyone with cerebral palsy, and I rarely read any books with one in it, so this book helps bring awareness about cerebral palsy, and destroys most of the stereotypes people had about it.

I am also so glad that I wasn’t disappointed with the “family support”. I’ve read A LOT of YA books over the years, and in most books, family members (or parents in particular) were only there as props, and no developments. I am really glad that the parents were present in this book. It made everything feel more real.

To sum it up, this book is amazing because A) it didn’t revolve around romance, B) THE FRIENDSHIP IS STRONG IN THIS ONE— BOTH NEW AND OLD, C) present family members, and D) Jessica’s determination and courage to get herself back on her feet—no pun intended—was awe inspiring, as I’ve mentioned before. It was realistic, and I am not surprise that it won the Schneider Family Book Award. I wish this book should get more hype though. I think it could help with awareness, as well as a pick-me-up for those who are feeling like they wanted to give up.

I rate this book 4 / 5 stars.

Let’s chat.

Have any of you read this book before? What are your thoughts on it? I’d love to hear from you.




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