Author:  Wendelin van Draanen
ISBN:  978-0-307-74800-3

Click Here To Purchase The Running Dream
 
You know how it is when you wake up in the morning and sigh...you have to go to work at a place that makes you ill, or you have to face down a bill collector, or spend hours in your home trying to work and take care of your child while outside your next door neighbors are playing music so loud it could wake the dead.  Or maybe you can't sleep because of the aches and pains or the icy wind blowing against the window, and you wish your life could be better?  I'm guilty of this; I'm guilty of cussing or crying, sighing or grumbling...but what if it was worse?  What if I really had something to complain about?  I don't.  I get up every day on two good legs, with minor aches and pains maybe, but able to walk out the door and follow my dream.  This is a book that shows us what real troubles are, and how someone can overcome the fact that they have lost the destiny that they were shooting for with their whole heart, body, mind, and soul.
 
Jessica Carlisle has a gift - she can run like the wind and win race after race for her team.  She's so good, in fact, that she's looking at winning gold medals in the Olympics when she gets older.  Not only is she good at running, she loves it.  There is nothing like the power - the "whoosh" - as her feet glide across the asphalt to people cheering.  In that world she is Queen; in that world everything else makes sense.  After a meet one day, where she has set a record almost impossible to achieve, Jessica is sitting on the bus with her friends when the crash comes.  The lights go out and when they blink back on, she's in a hospital bed.  She has a mother crying beside her; flowers on the table telling her to Get Well; a father who is angry and pacing the floor ready to take out the fates that have hurt his little
girl; and, a cheery doctor who can say nothing more than 'you're healing well...you're fine...everything will get better...' and smiling like Jessica should feel like she's just won the lottery.  A smile that says forget about the fact that one of your legs is gone, at least you have your life.

 
What life?  Her whole future has been taken away from her.  Her leg was smashed under a tangled piece of metal while others escaped with only cuts and bruises.  Jessica is mad...beyond mad.  Why her?
 
The story that follows hits you right between the eyes.  Not a standard drama, the author writes her pages from Jessica's own mind, showing readers the steps of depression, anger, and the torrent of emotions that happen to someone when life becomes brutally unfair.  The power that Jessica shows, the courage and bravery that comes upon her when she realizes that it's not over and there's no way the devil who made this happen is going to win, makes for one of the most powerful stories I've read in a long time.
 
Jessica's best friend, the boy she's always loved from afar, the support of her parents, schoolmates, and coach, as well as a young freshman in a wheelchair named Rosa who becomes a large part of Jessica's life, all come together to make a story that the reader WANTS to read.  Not because of the lessons taught, mind you, but because Jessica's life, while tragic at first, turns into a fun, enjoyable read about friendship and starting over.
 
I hope this book goes straight to the top where it belongs...and I will try never to whine again.  I will chase my dream until the lights turn out for good no matter what stands in my way or is thrown at me.  Jessica is a fantastic role model for children and adults to simply keep going and, no matter what, doing what you love.  Bravo!
 

Click Here To Purchase The Running Dream