Reviews for Running Dream

School Library Journal Reviews 2011 May

Gr 8 Up--Narrator Laura Flanagan pulls listeners into Wendelin Van Draanen's heartfelt novel (Knopf, 2011) with an immediate connection that only deepens as the story progresses. She fully becomes Jessica, a 16-year-old track star who loses a leg in a tragic bus accident that also claimed the life of a teammate. Listeners will feel Jessica's pain through Flanagan's poetic pacing that is tinged with a sharpness that perfectly matches Jessica's initial reaction to her new reality. The emotional drain that Jessica feels will leave listeners equally moved as she and her family cope with the physical and financial challenges and adjustments that her care brings. Each character is given a distinct vocal personality--from Jessica's best friend, Fiona, with her spunky determination to Rosa, a classmate with cerebral palsy who becomes Jessica's math tutor, inspiration, and friend. Listeners will cheer her team on as they try to raise enough money to help Jessica run again with a special prosthetic leg. Flanagan expertly transitions her narration to match Jessica's growth and perseverance, making the running scenes feel authentic. This inspirational audiobook will have students reflecting on their own lives.--Stephanie A. Squicciarini, Fairport Public Library, NY

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