Running Out of Time


Margaret Peterson Haddix

Number of Pages: 


Minimum grade level: 


Discussion questions

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!

  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?


Try some beef jerky or anise cookies.

Portions of this discussion guide are credited to 100 Books for Girls to Grow On by Shireen Dodson (HarperCollins, 1998).

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.