Amazing Kids! Magazine

Amazing Book Reviews: Running Out of Time

By Margaret Peterson Haddix
Reviewed by Jennifer Wu, age 12, Massachusetts
Published by Simon & Schuster
For ages 8-12


​We have all heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but to be completely honest, we all have done it before. My first impression of the book Running Out of Time was that I didn’t think it would be the type of book I would usually read. However, my friend urged me to read it, and I’m glad I took her advice. This book quickly became one of my favorite books.

The main character in the book Running Out of Time is a girl named Jessie Keyser, who lives in the town of Clifton, Indiana, in 1840. Suddenly, a disease called diphtheria strikes her town. When this happens, her mom is forced to tell her the biggest secret she could have revealed—Clifton is actually a historical preserve and that outside it is actually 1966. Outside her town, there are medicines that can cure this disease. Jessie’s mom asks her to go on a dangerous mission to get the help their town needs. However, the mission happens to be even more dangerous than she knows, and there is a bigger secret to Clifton than she ever believed.

I learned important lessons from this book: You should never give up, and you should try to put others before yourself. Jessie doesn’t give up at any time throughout her mission even when things don’t go her way. When Jessie has to escape from someone’s house, she sets her fears aside and climbs out of the window. Jessie shows me to put others before myself by just agreeing to go on the mission itself. She doesn’t need medicine, and she isn’t sick, but she goes on the mission to get medicine for the other sick children that really need it. She puts her life on the line to save not only her siblings but also her friends and all the children of Clifton.

This book taught me another important lesson—that lying isn’t right and won’t get you anywhere. The lives of Jessie and all the children of Clifton are practically a lie. They have lived all their lives thinking that they are regular kids living in the 1840s while they are really living in a historical preserve where, outside, it is actually 1966. The adults have been lying to them this whole time, which actually harms them because it gets them nowhere. All their children start getting sick, and there is no medicine to cure the disease. Lying doesn’t even get the owner of Clifton, Miles Clifton, anywhere. He gets in huge trouble for not giving the children enough medicine when he has assured the public that they have all the medicine they need.

If you’re looking for an adventure-packed book full of suspense and mystery, Running Out of Time is the right book for you. Jessie takes you on her daring journey as she slowly, piece by piece, uncovers the truth behind Clifton. She manages to not only save herself but every person who is trapped inside. During her journey, Jessie shows you what being brave really is and that being selfless is the right thing to do. I’m sure that you will enjoy Running Out of Time as much as I did.