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Running out of Time Paperback – February 1, 1997

4.4 out of 5 stars 384 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8?This absorbing novel develops an unusual premise into the gripping story of a young girl's efforts to save her family and friends from a deadly disease. Jessie Keyser, 13, believes that the year is 1840. In truth, she and her family, along with a small group of others, live in a reconstructed village viewed by unseen modern tourists and used as an experimental site by unethical scientists. Jessie discovers the truth when her mother asks her to leave the village and seek medical help for the diptheria epidemic that has struck the children of the community. Jessie must cope with the shock of her discovery; her unfamiliarity with everyday phenomena such as cars, telephones, and television; and the unscrupulous men who are manipulating the villagers. The action moves swiftly, with plenty of suspense, and readers will be eager to discover how Jessie overcomes the obstacles that stand in her way. While she is ultimately successful, the ending is not entirely a happy one, for several children have died and others are placed in foster care to await resolution of the complex situation. This realistically ambiguous ending reflects the author's overall success in making her story, however far-fetched, convincing and compelling. Haddix also handles characterization well; even secondary characters who are somewhat sketchily drawn never descend into stereotype. This book will appeal to fans of time-travel or historical novels as well as those who prefer realistic contemporary fiction, all of whom will look forward to more stories from this intriguing new author.?Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 4^-7. What if the costumed workers at historical sites really lived there, and tourists watched them through hidden cameras rather than from pathways? What if those workers and families were not allowed to leave, ever? Jessie lives in the 1840s, or so she believes until her mother sends her on an escape mission outside the fence, where it's 1996. The suspense and the cataloging of differences as they appear to Jessie are the best parts here. The resolution of the plot, which includes the revelation that the inhabitants have been used for scientific experimentation, comes too fast, but the quirky twist on time-travel fiction will keep the attention of readers. Mary Harris Veeder --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689812361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689812361
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (384 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Jessie believes she is being raised in the 1840s, but the year is actually 1996. You see, Jessie lives in a tourist site made to look like a real village of 150 years ago. Her classmates have begun dropping out of her small, one-room classroom, and the medicines they are given don't seem to work. Jessie's mother finally tells her the truth about their community, and it's up to Jessie to escape from Clifton and seek help from the "real world." Although the plot is quite serious and suspenseful, I had to laugh at the scene where Jessie sees cars for the first time and thinks they move by witchcraft. My favorite part of this well written story is when she calls a press conference and reveals the "shocking secret" of Clifton. I haven't read many books with female protagonists, so it was neat to see a young girl making things happen - it's usually a boy.
Now imagine this: We're moving along, thinking it's the year 2000 when a terrible disease spreads through our city. Eventually we learn that the year is really 2150 and people have been paying money to watch our EVERY move since we were born. Get the idea? Read this book!
-- JFS
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A Kid's Review on January 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
Jessie is a young girl who lives with her family in an 1840 village, Clifton, Indiana. She learns a shocking secret that sends her mind racing. Jessie, only thirteen-years-old, must save her village from the spreading disease diphtheria. As I read this book one mystery unfolded after another. Margaret Peterson Haddix kept me on my toes and begging for more. This book is stuffed full with adventure, mystery, hope, and destiny. I attempted to set Running out of Time down, but I longed to know Jessie's fate. This magnificent novel was very enjoyable to read. I couldn't wait to start the next chapter, and when the story ended I wished it hadn't. I had gotten so attached to the characters that I hoped that it would never end.
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed M. Night Shyamalan's film, "The Village", and later read that there was controversy over where the idea for the film had originated. It had been suggested that the premise of the film had been taken from this book. My curiosity having been piqued, I decided to check for myself. I was surprised that the book was one that had been written for the young adult market. Still, I did not let that deter me from buying the book, though it had been decades since I had been a young adult. I was pleased, however, to note that the book had been designated an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, so all was not lost.

The book is an easy and pleasant read with a very compelling storyline. It tells the story of thirteen year old Jessie Keyser, who all her life has believed that she lives in the nineteenth century frontier village of Clifton, Indiana. When diphtheria starts claiming the lives of the village children, her mother tells her that it is not really 1840, as Jessie has been led to believe, but 1996. It appears that the village in which Jessie has grown up is actually a historical preserve, which its inhabitants are forbidden to leave. Jessie, however, is entrusted with a very important mission. She is to leave the preserve and seek help for their village in the outside world, avoiding capture by those who would seek to silence her in order to maintain the status quo and the secret that they are harboring in Clifton.

This is a very imaginative debut novel with a strong storyline that will appeal to those who are fond of historical fiction or time travel tales. It is most definitely a plot driven, rather than character driven, story.
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed M. Night Shyamalan's film, "The Village", and later read that there was controversy over where the idea for the film had originated. It had been suggested that the premise of the film had been taken from this book. My curiosity having been peaked, I decided to check for myself. I was surprised that the book was one that had been written for the young adult market. Still, I did not let that deter me from buying the book, though it had been decades since I had been a young adult. I was pleased, however, to note that the book had been designated an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, so all was not lost.

The book is an easy and pleasant read with a very compelling storyline. It tells the story of thirteen year old Jessie Keyser, who all her life has believed that she lives in the nineteenth century frontier village of Clifton, Indiana. When diphtheria starts claiming the lives of the village children, her mother tells her that it is not really 1840, as Jessie has been led to believe, but 1996. It appears that the village in which Jessie has grown up is actually a historical preserve, which its inhabitants are forbidden to leave. Jessie, however, is entrusted with a very important mission. She is to leave the preserve and seek help for their village in the outside world, avoiding capture by those who would seek to silence her in order to maintain the status quo and the secret that they are harboring in Clifton.

This is a very imaginative debut novel with a strong storyline that will appeal to those who are fond of historical fiction or time travel tales. It is most definitely a plot driven, rather than character driven, story. While it is simply written so as to appeal to the young adult market and teens, the story is so compelling that adults will also enjoy it, as long as they keep in mind the targeted audience. As for its similarity to the film, "The Village", there can be little doubt as to why someone would suggest comparison between the two.
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