Saturday, August 22, 2009

Running Out of Time - Margaret Peterson Haddix

Summary: Jessie lives with her family in the frontier village of Clifton, Indiana, in 1840 — or so she believes. When diphtheria strikes the village and the children of Clifton start dying, Jessie's mother reveals a shocking secret — it's actually 1996, and they are living in a reconstructed village that serves as a tourist site. In the world outside, medicine exists that can cure the dread disease, and Jessie's mother is sending her on a dangerous mission to bring back help.

But beyond the walls of Clifton, Jessie discovers a world even more alien and threatening than she could have imagined, and soon she finds her own life in jeopardy. Can she get help before the children of Clifton, and Jessie herself, run out of time? (Summary and image from

My Review: I loved the concept of this book. I love that the protagonist is female. Her mother entrusts her with the dark secret that their life is just a facade for a museum attracting tourists and money. They really do have medicine to heal their people, but the owners of the land and museum are preventing their acquisition of it to make the environment more authentic. I felt the author did a good job portraying Jessie's confusion and reactions to the outside world as she tries to get help.

It's a super fast read, and from my vantage point I felt it could have been longer. But, for a middle school adolescent reader it's probably perfect: high interest, easy reading, not very long, therefore not intimidating. It's the type of book that helps build confidence and a love for reading. I'd definitely recommend this to my students as a 5 star read. For adults it's more of a 4 star read.

Rating: 4 stars

Sum it up in a phrase: If you've seen the movie The Village, same premise. A small community set up to live like it is the 1840's without the inhabitants knowing.


Anonymous said...

Hey does any one know the genre plot and theme of the book cuz im doing a school project and i need some help email me

MindySue said...

I think that if you READ the book you'll probably have a good idea of the genre, plot, and theme. I'm just saying...

Sweet Em said...

Or perhaps even reading the review and/or summary posted here would help.

CarrieM said...

I loved this book!


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