The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
The story is about a girl named Jessica Carlisle. She is in the hospital because when she was on a bus ride coming home from an away track meet she lost her leg. A guy driving a pickup truck smashed into the bus and Jessica’s leg was crushed. She had to go to the hospital to have her leg amputated from below her knee down. She thought that it was the end of her ever being able to run again. Everyone felt extremely bad for Jessica because she was a great runner. Every time she saw someone running she felt upset because she thought that her dreams of running were over.
After a week and a half of being in the hospital recovering, Jessica finally returned to school. Her best friend Fiona pushed her in her wheelchair. When they arrived at school, there was a huge banner that said welcome back Jessica in bold letters. This made her feel a lot better that everyone cared about her. When she want to her classes, her teachers went a bit easier on her since it was her first day back since the accident. At lunch she went to visit her coach in his room and when she got there everyone from the track team jumped up and yelled, “SURPRISE!” She was so excited to see everyone again and ate lunch in the room with them.
Jessica went to the doctor’s office to see when she would get her fake leg. The doctor told her everything that she needed to know and how to also take care of her leg, and also that she would get her fake one in a few months. When she went to lunch the next day, she visited her track coach again. He showed her an amazing video of Oscar Pistorios and his running leg, and told her that the track team was going to raise 20,000 dollars to get her one. They were going to raise the money by having bake sales and car washes. Jessica was filled with joy when she heard the news and she for once told herself that she would be able to run again. When she visited the doctor’s office again, she got a training leg to prepare her for the real one and also to teach her how to walk again. A week later, Jessica helped her teammates with the bake sale and the car washes and held up a sign that said help me run again.
Jessica went to one of the toughest track meets to support her teammates. She cheered everyone on and was the loudest person in the audience. A news reporter showed up and interviewed Jessica about her remarkable story. Jessica watched herself on TV when she got home and was really excited. Jessica was also so proud of her teammates when they won the track meet overall. When she went to the doctor’s again, she found out that she was getting her new leg soon. She was so excited and couldn’t wait. When she visited her coach at lunch again, she saw a shiny new running leg on the table. She could not believe that they actually raised enough money to get one for her. She thanked all of her teammates for all that they did for her and the biggest thanks went to her coach. Jessica is going to be able to run again thanks to her teammates and her coach and she couldn’t be any happier.
When Jessica got her new leg she started to walk on it and also used her running leg to take jogs every morning. One day when she was jogging, Gavin a cute boy that she had a crush on asked her out and she said yes! She was so excited to finally go out with him. Later on Jessica asked her friend Rosa if she would do a ten-mile race with her. Since Rosa is in a wheelchair, Jessica would have to push her all the way through. When it was the day of the race, everyone cheered on Jessica and Rosa. When they finished, Jessica’s legs felt like jelly. She was so tired but happy to finally finish the race. She never gave up hope and for Jessica; this was her new starting line.
The authors writing style was pretty much easy to read and understand. I understood all of the book and the point the author was trying to get across. Teens need to know that the author, Wendelin Van Draanen has many hobbies including the three R’s, reading, running and rock ‘n’ roll. She also used to be a classroom teacher. I would recommend this book to people who like emotional stories and also to people who like books about hope. You really have to get the moral of the story to understand what the book is really about. You also have to understand what the people in the book like Jessica are going through. Marina D., Teen Reviewer