"Running airs out my soul. Makes me feel alive." As a runner, I could immediately identify with Jess, the main character is Wendelin Van Draanen's The Running Dream. Just like Jess, I feel alive when I run - the sound of my sneakers on the pavement, my hair swishing back and forth in a ponytail, my muscles straining, my mind peaceful. But very much unlike Jess, I am fortunate to have both of my legs. Jess, a star high school runner, loses one of her legs from the knee down after a car accident. This story follows Jess through her recovery and her dreams to run again.
I was a little hesitant to read this book as first, because as a runner, it dealt with a topic I didn't really want to think about. However, the author did such an amazing job with character development and plot development that I found myself flying through this book! I though Jess was a little whiny at first (then felt terrible for thinking so considering her recent leg amputation), but she takes ownsership of her new life in such an inspiring way. She is also surrounded by an amazing group of friends and family, particularly her best friend Fiona. Jess's story reminded me a lot of Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a professional ballroom dancer who lost her foot during the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. Haslet-Davis vowed that she would dance again, despite years of recovery and adjustment to a new prosthetic. Then, in April, Haslet-Davis returned to the finish line of the Boston Marathon in a ball gown and did the foxtrot across the finish line. Both women are strong and willing to work hard to achieve their goals. Jess's story felt just as real and emotional to me as Haslet-Davis'.