When I first saw the title Running Out of Time, by Margaret Peterson Haddix, I thought to myself, “Well that sounds interesting.” Then when I read the back cover I was even more intrigued. Picture the 1998 blockbuster film, The Truman Show, set in the classic book series Little House On the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder — that should give you an idea of Haddix's thrilling story. However, if you haven't seen either The Truman Show or read Little House On the Prairie, then you're probably a little confused right about now. Well, keep on reading . . .
In Running Out of Time, Haddix begins the story by taking us inside the world of an 1840s Indiana village where we meet thirteen-year-old Jessie, her family and friends. There is nothing really odd about this town except for the miraculous cure of diseases that were so prevalent in the mid-nineteenth century. But things in this tiny little community begin erupting when children start dying of diphtheria. Jessie's mother tells her she must get help, but how? This is when the story takes a really interesting turn as Jessie learns that the year is really 1996 and she, her family and the rest of the community have actually been living inside a tourist site, being observed by outside people and scientists.
Intrigued yet? I thought so . . .
So in order to save the dying children in the community, Jessie must escape the locked-down facility and venture into the world of the late-twentieth century. Never having seen an automobile, television or even used a telephone, Jessie has to figure out how she's going to find help while still trying to blend in and look like a normal teenager from the 90s.
What happens next you ask? Well, I'm not going to give away everything in the story, but I will tell you that I really enjoyed reading my second book by Haddix. It was fun, interesting and made me really think about how it would feel to be Jessie. I only wish there were more in the book about Jessie's adventures and experiences when adjusting to her new world. I felt that the book ended a little too soon, whereas I would have liked for it to keep going.
I give this book 4.2 out of 5 stars.
—Carly M., STACKS Staffer