I've read a few books by Wendelin Van Draanen before, and thought they were okay, but not anything very special. They were in the Sammy Keyes detective series for young readers. But I think her newer book, The Running Dream, is a great one.
This YA (Young Adult) novel is about Jessica who loves to run and excels at that sport until she's injured and must have her leg amputated below the knee.
The book portrays what it must actually be like for someone to loose the ability they care about the most.
Then Jessica must learn to walk again and manage to hobble around on an artificial leg and all that is also portrayed accurately and pulls the reader in to the emotions involved.
But the reason I like the book so much is that it doesn't stop there.
Jessica becomes friends with another girl who must spend her life in a wheelchair and... well, I don't want to spoil the plot for readers by giving away the challenges and excitement in the rest of the story.
Besides the exciting - make that VERY exciting - plot, accurate portrayal of a sport and medical treatments, and believable characters I loved this book because it accomplishes something I wish I could do. My tagline is "Opening Eyes, Opening Hearts" and I hope to do that by helping everyone understand that people with special needs or different in other ways are people first.
In this page-turner book Van Draanen reaches my goal.