Running Out of Time

by Margaret Peterson Haddix
184 pages, General Fiction
Reviewed by bookRacoon

Fast-paced read, and intense in a gripping way.


Jessie Keyser has always enjoyed growing up in her village in the year 1840. However, when diphtheria strikes all the children around her, her mom tells her a shocking secret: her village is a historical tourist site, and the year is actually 1996. Mrs. Keyser tells Jessie that she must sneak out of the village, since the evil owner has broken his promise of modern medical care. Jessie must find the cure to save the lives of her friends and family.


Miles Clifton, the builder of the village, refuses to give medicine to dying children. Another man actually wants the village's children to die for his experiment. Guards watch out for any escapees and would kill Jessie if they caught her.

Spiritual Content

Jessie prays several times to God (her village is religious), and whenever she does, God gives her help (either falling and not hurting herself, a hiding place, etc.). The book, however, is not necessarily meant to be Christian, but more Transcendentalist.


Jessie slips and hits her head on a table. Some boys grip her wrists very tightly. Men have guns and almost shoot at the kids.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Some boys harass Jessie and one of them is drunk.

Sexual Content

None, except for the part where the boys attack Jessie, and that is not sexual in tone.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

God's name is misused once, and characters curse; the words are not actually written out, however.


Although the plot seemed a little dark and scary (with people killing children), like Haddix's Shadow Children series, this book was a fun read and had no dull moments. Jessie is a brave, smart girl and undergoes a lot to accomplish her task.

Fun Score: 4.5
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 11-12

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