Sheila's Reviews > Running Out of Time

Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix
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May 27, 10

bookshelves: childrens, current_issues, scifi-fantasy
Read in April, 2010

In 1996, one of the top vacation and “school-trip” attractions in the US is Clifton Village, hidden away in forests outside Indianapolis. A well-made road carries yellow school busses to the entrance station, and barbed wire fences keep the “wild animals” of an authentic 1840s environment safely separate from local farmers. They also make it hard for young Jessie, wild human rather than wild animal, to escape on her quest to find help and medicine for her family and friends.

Running out of Time, by Margaret Peterson Haddix, tells the story of a young teenager with a very big quest. When Jessie learns that her parents have lived a lie, and forced her to live one too, for most of her life, she struggles to decide who to trust. But she knows who she loves and cares for and bravely sets forth on their behalf. The mysteries of 1996 America are viewed delightfully through Jessie’s 1840s eyes. Braving the phone to call for help, Jessie wonders why a stranger’s voice asks for money but refuses to wait for an answer. Radios make sounds out of thin air. Cars move like magic carriages propelled without horses.

A naturally brave and adventurous girl, Jessie conquers numerous obstacles in her quest to both save her friends and find the truth about her home. The result is a fast-paced story, with convincing characters, fascinating ethical dilemmas, and realistic excitement, making a really good read for middle-grade students and adults.
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