Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Published by Scholastic Press on 2004
Genres: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade, Mystery, Young Adult
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Jessie lives with her family in the frontier village of Clifton, Indiana. When diphtheria strikes the village and the children of Clifton start dying, Jessie's mother sends 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?
Because this is a middle grade book, the writing is plain and simple. Also because it is from the POV of Jessie who is only about 13.
I loved the historical aspect of this book. It was straight inspiration for me to go and read other older middle grade historical fiction books. It was so easy and familiar to read about life in the 1800s. Honestly it was harder reading about 1996, mostly because it was scary from Jessie’s POV.
Jessie was a little bit naive, but she was surprisingly good at adapting and figuring things out. I think she got lucky only a little bit of the time.
The whole concept was a really cool one. A private village that believes itself to be in the past? I want to live there! I know I was born a few centuries too late. Not only was that part cool, but add the mystery and the ability to see the world we know through a time traveler’s eyes and we’ve got a really neat story. The ending was not without misfortune, but mostly it was happy.
The setting was well done! It was cool to see how accurately she could paint a picture of the past in just a few words (Jessie’s POV wasn’t prone to description).
Good vs. Bad
Less than perfect:
- length (could have been longer)
This was a really neat concept and a well-written (if simple) story. Jessie was naive but good at figuring things out and the ending was happy. Would I read more by this author? Yes. Would I recommend this to others? Yes.