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Book Clubbing


Running Out of Time 
by Margaret Peterson Haddix



Margaret Peterson Haddix

Margaret Peterson Haddix

Author Interview

About the Book

Jessie lives with her family in the frontier village of Clifton, Indiana. When diphtheria strikes the village and the children of Clifton start dying, Jessie's mother sends her on a dangerous mission to bring back help.

But beyond the walls of Clifton, Jessie discovers a world even more alien and threatening than she could have imagined, and she soon finds her own life in jeopardy. Can she get help before the children of Clifton, and Jessie herself, run out of time? 

About the Author

Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of many critically and popularly acclaimed YA and middle-grade novels, including the Shadow Children series and The Missing series. A graduate of Miami University (of Ohio), she worked for several years as a reporter for The Indianapolis News. She also taught at the Danville (Illinois) Area Community College. She lives with her family in Columbus, Ohio.

Discussion Questions

  1. Describe Clifton. What is it like to live there? Is there anything that would make you suspect that something odd is happening? 
  2. What kind of person is Jessie? What about her makes her mom put so much faith and confidence in her? 
  3. How does Jessie react when her mother tells her the truth about Clifton? 
  4. How do you feel about Jessie's parents keeping the truth from their family? 
  5. What is it like for Jessie to be around modern day school kids taking a tourof the historical perserve? What observations does she make about their clothing and behavior? 
  6.  Frank Lyle (Isaac Neeley) justifies sacrificing the lives of some Clifton residents by saying that the Clifton project, in the long run, will save lives by strengthening the human gene pool. Do you agree with the idea of sacrificing a few in order to save many? What problems can this lead to? 
  7. Do you think Jessie's parents deserved to get their children back? 
  8. Predict how Jessie will survive in the modern world. What challenges await her and her siblings? 


Make a list of how life 100 years ago was different than how we live today. Think of all the technology, medical knowledge, and inventions that were not present then. How would this affect daily life?

Snack ideas: try some beef jerky or anise cookies.