Oracle bookclub

sports recommends...

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen is a heartfelt story of resilience and perseverance; friendship and following your dreams. The book follows Jessica, a high school track athlete who loses her leg in a bus crash. After the accident, Jessica must learn to walk with her prosthetic leg, and navigate life as an amputee. 

When she returns to school, Jessica finds that very few people are willing to see past her disability and see her as a person. Jessica’s new friend, a girl named Rosa, who has cerebral palsy, helps Jessica feel more understood at school. As their friendship develops, Rosa helps Jessica to be more accepting of herself and her disability. 

Along with the physical and mental challenge of her amputation, Jessica’s family struggles to pay for her medical treatment and prosthetics, because of issues with their insurance. When Jessica finds out that she can run using a special prosthetic that her insurance will not cover, Jessica’s team hosts a fundraiser to help her pay for the prosthetic leg she needs to be able to run again. 

Though the prose in The Running Dream is simple, the story is powerful. It emphasizes themes of perseverance, staying hopeful during difficult times, and the importance of seeing people  with disabilities as whole people, and not just their disability. 

The Running Dream also touches on issues in the American healthcare system, such as the opioid epidemic and paying for life-changing medical treatments with inadequate insurance coverage. Despite exploring some difficult themes, there is a hopeful tone, which makes this book an an uplifting read. We couldn’t recommend it more!