Journal Entry 4: The Running Dream Part 5

This book is truly amazing and inspiring. Jessica has changed and developed so much since the beginning of the book. She has gained confidence, and the last six words of this book were so touching. “This is my new starting line.” This simple 6 word sentence ties this book together so well, and puts such a beautiful end to the book. It goes perfectly with all the changes and connections revolving around the characters. I really have enjoyed this book, and I really didn’t want it to end.

This whole book has been about Jessica Carlisle’s situation. Readers get a really good insight into Jessica’s perspective of the situation. The car accident that started this whole novel that took 16 year-old Jessica’s leg away made me realise how much we really do take for granted. This book changed the way I think about the little things in life. This book is about Jessica getting her prosthetic leg, and moving forward with her life.

From reading this book, my opinion on some of the characters in the story has changed dramatically. My opinion on other characters such as Fiona and Jessica haven’t changed. My opinion on characters such as Rosa and Gavin have changed. Rosa has been a massive influence on Jessica. She helped her get through this situation. The way that she was by Jessica’s side through the whole journey showed how friendly and kind Rosa truly is. I predicted at the beginning that maybe Rosa and Jessica wouldn’t be friends, but I am so glad the Author gave us a character like Rosa that was a true friend toward Jessica. When the Author first introduced Gavin, I didn’t really like him. The Author made him feel distant, and ‘impossible to become friends with’. I was so glad to keep reading though, as my opinion on him completely changed. I was so happy that he and Jess got together, as you can tell when you’re reading that he really cares for her. Gavin is so supportive, and I knew from the minute he came to Jess’ prosthesis that he really did care about her.

One character that I wish the book gave more insight into was Kaylee, Jessica’s sister. The Author made Kaylee seem like a really distant and non-interested sister. She didn’t seem supportive, and I wish the Author would have made her one of the key characters in this book. It would have been so much better if they would have had sister-to-sister talks, as this would make you see the situation from a sister’s perspective, which I think would be really interesting.

I loved the start of the book, as it gave the book a big kick-start. I found it good that it covered a bit of back-fill at the start as it gave you just the right amount of information about what happened at the beginning. The book was a nice and easy read. It covered a lot of information, and readers were able to see how different characters were dealing with the situation and being surrounded by Jessica. It was amazing to see the determination, courage and resilience Jessica conveyed throughout the novel. Jessica goes through many unforgettable experiences that not many people her age would be able to undertake. It was a real eye-opener to be grateful for what you have.

I am going to rate this book a 7/10. I loved how much this book taught me about never taking anything for granted. I think the age group this book best suits is 12-16+ because it includes some themes that might be disturbing and too deep for an 11-year-old. I don’t think they’d understand the key message behind the book. I rated it 16+ because I think that people over the age of 16 might not be able to relate to it as well as a younger reader. A reason why I didn’t rate the book higher is because the storyline wasn’t intriguing throughout some areas, and it was very basic throughout some parts.

The Author, Wendelin Van Draanen has written The Running Dream with sophistication and beauty. She writes in a way that makes you intrigued; captivated into knowing what could happen next in this engaging book. She makes you feel a part of Jessica’s journey. There was no hiding from any emotions or feelings Jessica had, and because of this you can relate to her. You will feel the ups and downs, and react in similar ways to different events and characters.

This year LitCircles was so good! I always enjoy LitCircles, and this book made me like it even more this year. I think if you have a good book for LitCircles, you find yourself thinking more deeply and relating to the book more. LitCircles gives a really broad range of books; there is something for everyone to read, whether you like fantasy or romance or comedy, there is always something for you. My favourite part about LitCircles was definitely doing these Journal Entries. I love expressing my thoughts about this book, and I loved this year how we did it on WordPress! These are definitely the highlight of LitCircles this year. 🙂 I wish we could do it in year 9!!!

Thanks so much for reading! Have a great week 🙂 Jemma

The Running Dream LitCircles Activity 4 : Week 4


This week for my LitCircles Activity, I completed the task of Illustrator. I drew Jessica and Rosa together, crossing the finish line. I did this to show how much meaning the finish line symbolises throughout this book. I drew Jessica and Rosa wearing the ‘TEAM ROSA’ t-shirts, with the number at the bottom to show their participation in the marathon. I drew the picture from a higher angle so that I wouldn’t have to draw the prosthetic leg. I wanted all of the focus to be on just Jess and Rosa. I tried to draw both Jessica and Rosa extremely happy, as in the book the Author makes you believe for them to be really happy.

Thanks for reading, have a great week! Jemma 🙂

Journal Entry 3: The Running Dream Part 4

This is such an inspiring book. I know I have stated that many times, but words cannot describe how touching this book is. You can tell how carefully the Author chooses the words, and writes with such precision. Comparing Jessica from the start of the book, to where she is now, she has recovered so well. She isn’t as grumpy and down in the dumps. She is eager to run again, and is ready to get her life back on track. Part 4 included many climaxes, and important parts to the storyline. As we continue to read this book, I am understanding Jessica and her situation more and more.

My favourite part in Part 4 was at the end when Jessica received her prosthetic running leg from her Aths team and Coach at the surprise party. I was so happy at that moment for Jessica and her team. As a reader I was not expecting it to happen! Throughout this part of the book, I was putting myself in Jessica’s shoes, and wondering how I would feel at this point in time. To be honest, I felt really annoyed that Rosa wasn’t at the party, because I believe that she has played a big part of getting Jessica her new leg. I got a bit teary when Jess opened it and saw that everyone had signed the leg. It was so nice to see so many people encouraging her on, and supporting her throughout this time; to get her across the finish line.

When Jessica’s story aired on Channel 7 News, I was concerned about whether the story might come across as ‘needy’, and I was worried about the financial part of the story that Jess had walked in on when the camera crew was in her house. When the story aired, I was so excited and happy for Jessica. The reporter had edited the clip to make it uplifting and positive. I loved the way they encouraged donations, and they didn’t do it in a negative way. The financial part of the story was put together really well, as it would have encouraged people to donate more to the cause. It made what was said by Jessica’s father positive, and I don’t think Jessica would have felt so exposed to the situation.

I was so happy for Jessica and Rosa when Jess got her Math test results back. It was such a kind gesture of Rosa to tutor Jessica, and I was overjoyed to see the improvement Jessica had made from her previous result. I am so glad to see Jessica appreciating Rosa’s kind actions more, but I still wish that she would show her gratitude for Rosa to a greater extent, as I don’t think Jessica really knows how much Rosa is helping her.

A quote came up in the book this week. “I wish people would see Rosa for who she really is, not her condition.” It really touched me. We discussed the quote in our group today, and we all agreed that it is almost like the saying, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’. Some people in our world today get judged by their disability before people even think about talking with them or communicating with them. When Jessica first met Rosa, Jessica hadn’t really had the chance to talk with Rosa, as they both hung out with different people. The way that the Author writes about the communication between the two of them makes Rosa seem completely normal. But every now and then the author empathises with you about Rosa’s condition, and it brings you back to reality that Rosa does have cerebral palsy. I think that what Jess wants to show people is that Rosa is extremely kind, loveable and friendly, and people should see past her condition, and see her for who she really is as a person.

During our group discussions this week, we stated that we think Jessica and Gavin will be together. We thought that Gavin seemed extremely interested in what Jessica has been doing. The fact that he has written an article about her, and has been attending her check-up sessions at the prosthetic shows that Gavin supports Jess entirely.

I think that the key message the Author is trying to convey in this book is that you need to appreciate what you have, not what you don’t have. I can’t wait to finish this book, and find out how it ends! I still do not really fully understand the title, and I want to know what it means. I also want to know whether the sudden interest Rosa had this week in Part 4 about the finish line has anything to do with what happens at the end of the book. Hopefully next week all will be revealed!

Thanks for reading, have a great week! 🙂 Jemma

Coat of Arms, LitCircles Activity Week 3

This week, we continued reading Part 4 of The Running Dream. The activity I have decided to complete this week was the Coat of Arms which is based on my ideas and thoughts around the book. Coat of Arms 1. Jessica’s Mail: Jessica’s track team and her Coach, Kyro, had a meeting about how much money they had received from the Newspaper article Gavin wrote. I chose this picture to represent the happiness Jessica must be feeling, and to show how many people really do care about her condition, and want to help her get her leg. 2. Frisbee: I chose the image of a frisbee because I think that Jessica is really eager to get running again, and the morning that she went outside with her dog, I think she got back a bit of the spirit she used to have for running. I think that if Jessica believes more in herself, she will be able to run in no time. 3. Room 402: I think that Jessica feels that it is so important for people to see Rosa for who she is, and not her condition. I think a lot of people doubt Rosa, her personality and her intelligence. I really hope that Jessica gets the word out about Rosa’s excellent tutoring, just like she did when she told Eric about Room 402. 4. The Finish Line: When Jessica was talking to Rosa about the Finish Line, I got a bit confused about why Rosa would want to know so much about it. Then I realised that maybe Rosa wants to know what it feels like to cross the finish line. The way that she mentioned that it is also the starting line made me anticipate that she must think about it a lot. 5. The Camera: I chose the image of a camera because I thought about the feelings Jessica might be going through while she was being filmed for the Channel 7 News. Self-conscious maybe because of the exposure she will be receiving which might make her feel uncomfortable. Maybe even relief that the story is being released so that people can donate toward her cause. 6. Rosa’s notes: In Jessica’s Maths class, Rosa is always passing notes to her. I think that the notes is a great way that  the Author to communicates the relationship between the girls, and the notes really show how interested Rosa is in Jessica’s situation. I wish that Jessica would be a bit more appreciative of Rosa’s kind actions. Thanks for reading! Have a good week. Jemma 🙂

Journal Entry 2: The Running Dream Part 3

I love this book so much! As I said last week, this is a truly amazing and inspiring book. This week we finished reading Part 3 of the Running Dream, and I am really understanding Jessica more, and her situation. It goes to show how much we take for granted; having two legs of our very own. When I read this book, I am always putting myself in her shoes; thinking about how I would feel in her situation, and what I would do differently. My ideas are always changing around the text, for example – whether I like Gavin or not, if Chloe will stay kind towards Jessica, whether Fiona will stay a loyal friend to her etc. Part 3 was only a very short part of the book, but it included some very interesting and important parts to the storyline.

My favourite character after reading Part 3 of this book is Rosa. She seems really kind, and a good friend towards Jessica. Her willingness to help Jessica inspires me, I think she will almost do anything for her. I think that Rosa really treasures friendship, and is almost desperate for friends, so I believe that she is going to try and become friends with Jessica. Sometimes throughout the book, it seems that Jessica doesn’t fully appreciate the kindness from Rosa, which makes me upset because I think those two can relate to each other. I think Jess just needs to me more welcoming so that she can see that she needs a friend like Rosa.

I was really confused when Vanessa’s Mum came up to Jessica while Vanessa was racing. The book hadn’t really stated who Vanessa was, and I forgot what her place was in the story. But once Jessica and Vanessa’s Mum got talking, I understood who she was, and why Jess was acting this way toward her from the backfill. After the hostility at the hurdles, it made me realise more about the type of person Vanessa was. It was an awful way to treat someone, especially when you know about what struggles they have been through. I was especially astonished when Vanessa accused Jess of yelling at her while she was racing. I think this was very stubborn of her.

This week in our group discussion, we stated that there was a lot of backfill in the book; maybe too much that is unnecessary. I agree that there is a lot of backfill, but it helps you to understand what the next climax is going to be. It helps me to understand the characters more, and what Jessica’s life used to be like before the unfortunate incident.

I can’t wait to see what happens next in ‘The Running Dream’. Our group discussions have contributed to the excitement I have to read Part 4! I can’t wait to continue reading about the characters, and what their places are in the story.

Thanks for reading! Have a good week. Jemma 🙂

Part 1 & Part 2 of The Running Dream

This is a truly amazing book. As soon as I started The Running Dream, I was immediately hooked. This wasn’t my first choice of book, but I was glad that I was allocated to read it as I am really enjoying it. I loved looking through the eyes of Jessica and how she sees her unfortunate situation. I was so captivated by it that I read the whole section in one day!

I read the first few sentences, and I became obsessed with reading about her situation! I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. I wish we were able to read more of the book. I don’t like having to stop, but I suppose that it is a good way of processing all of the story and information through your head. I finished my activity straight after finishing the section, and this whole week I have found it extremely hard to not read the next few pages – I had to resist the temptation!

At the end of Part 1, I cried a little bit when Jessica and her mum were looking at the family album when Jessica had both of her legs. ‘Two strong, smooth, and furiously fast legs,’ Jessica said. I think I cried because of how well the author empathised with Jessica. It made you realise how fortunate you are, and appreciate how lucky you are to have two legs.

My favourite part of this book so far has been when Jessica has come back to school with Fiona. I think that Fiona was a very loyal friend toward Jessica, and I think that she will continue to be. I love how bubbly, friendly and outgoing she is. I think that she will support Jessica through this book, and look out for her to help her get back on track through this race called life. One character that I wish the book would explain more about is Jessica’s sister, Kaylee. The book hasn’t really explained who she is, or what her point of view is on Jessica’s situation. I hope the author explains more about her later on.

When we first got allocated this book, I thought that it was going to be boring. But the author, Wendelin Van Draanen has written this book in such an intriguing and captivating way. You really feel a part of Jessica’s Journey.

I love how honest this book is. There is no hiding from any emotions or feelings Jessica has. For example, the way that Jessica wishes she were in Lucy’s position instead of living without a leg. Most books wouldn’t really say that, so I love the way that this is so open with Jessica’s thoughts and feelings.

Overall, I can’t wait to read Part 3!

Hello world!

Hey guys!

This blog is based on a novel that I am reading during LitCircles at school. It is about a book called ‘The Running Dream’ by Wendelin Van Draanen. I will be completing a few activities about this book, and my progressive thoughts on the book. I hope you enjoy!

Jemma  : )