Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Running Out of Time. Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 1997. 192 pages. pap. $5.99. ISBN 978-0-689-81236-1.
Annotation: Teenager Jessie Keyser lives in a restored historic village during the 1990’s but she and the other children in the village believe they are actually living in the 1840’s. This “scientific experiment” agreed upon by the children’s parents goes horribly wrong when diphtheria is released on the helpless villagers and it is up to Jessie to save them.
Summary: Jessie Keyser, a 13 year old girl, lives with her family in a restored historic village set in Indiana in the 1840’s. The children of the village actually believe that it is the year 1840; their parents have agreed to participate in an elaborate scientific experiment. The ruse is successful because the tourists from the present day (the 1990’s) are hidden from view. But things go horribly wrong when diphtheria is unleashed on the village because the corrupt researchers connected with the village want to see what would happen to patients without modern medical care. Brave, backward, and bewildered Jessie is sent by her mother into the modern world to find help for the “imprisoned” villagers.
Evaluation: Written in captivating manner, this book is an interesting take on “historical” events for those who love time-travel. A strong teen heroine uses her intelligence and courage to overcome her culture fears and physical threats in order to save the village children from dying. Each chapter is so gripping that it is difficult to put down. Recommended for ages 8-14.
Genre / Subject: Juvenile Fiction, Suspense, Family, Diseases, Historic Villages, Adventure,Survival
Awards: 1997 ALA Best Books for Young Adults, 1996 ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 1995 American Bookseller Pick of the Lists