Turnabout By Margaret Peterson Haddix

Turnabout by Margaret Peterson Haddix is another book that has been sitting on my to-be-read pile for way too long. Haddix is one of my all-time favorite children’s authors, and Turnabout does not disappoint!

In the year 2000, Melly and Anny Beth were old and ready to die. Living in a nursing home, they were fragile and over 100 years old. But when they are offered the chance to be young again, thanks to a top-secret experiment called Project Turnabout, their lives are changed forever. They agree to be injected with PT-1, an injection that will reverse the aging process. They begin to grow younger and it seems like a miracle.

Now it is 2085. Both women are teenagers, faced with the fact that they are still unaging. What will happen once they are children? Toddlers? Babies? Who will take care of them? And what will happen to them on their last/first birthday?

Another phenomenal book from Haddix and one that I can’t wait to recommend to her fans in my class. The chapters in Turnabout alternate between 2000-2001 and 2085. The future is frighteningly realistic and believable, making the reader wonder what it will be like in a few decades. Melly and Anny Beth are likable characters without being boring, goody-two-shoes. A great book!

Found (The Missing Book 1) by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Anyone who knows me has heard me sing the praises of Margaret Peterson Haddix. Her Shadow Children series has hooked many reluctant readers and turned them into voracious readers in my classroom. When I saw that she was beginning a new series, I was very excited. I just finished reading Found (The Missing) and I LOVED it. The plot is difficult to summarize without giving away too much, but I will try.

A plane that appears out of nowhere. Thirty-six babies mysteriously on the plane. No pilot, not crew, no adult passengers. Then, just as suddenly, the plane disappears.

Thirteen-year-old Jonah has always known that he was adopted, and he’s never thought it was any big deal. In fact, his parents spend more time thinking about it than he does (hence their bookshelves full of “adoption books). That all changes when he and his friend, Chip, also adopted, start receiving strange, anonymous letters. The first one says, “You are one of the missing.” The second one says, “Beware! They’re coming back to get you.”

Jonah, Chip, and Jonah’s sister, Katherine, are plunged into a mystery that involves the FBI, a possible baby- smuggling operation, that same airplane that appeared out of nowhere — and maybe even ghosts. The kids discover they are caught in a battle between two opposing sides that want very different things for Jonah and Chip’s lives.

This series promises to be just as good, if not better, than Shadow Children . The Missing is a pageturner with twists and turns you will never see coming. The next book isn’t due out until Spring 2009 and I am already dying to read it! Margaret Peterson Haddix is sure to draw in many more reluctant readers with this speculative fiction series. I can’t sing its praises enough!!

Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix

I have been a fan of Margaret Peterson Haddix’s books ever since I read The Shadow Children series last year. This was quickly followed by reading everything she had ever written! Her books are always very popular in my room and The Shadow Children have convinced many a reluctant reader that books can be fun. When I saw that she had a new historical fiction novel coming out, I added to a quick order I was making. I picked it up this week, while my class is working on their historical fiction literature circles, and I am so glad I did!

Uprising is the story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911. Bookended by chapters that focus on a survivor telling her story, the novel alternates between 3 viewpoints- Bella, an Italian immigrant, Yetta, a Russian Jewish immigrant,and Jane, a society girl yearning to free herself from the chains of her life. All three girls have jobs at or connected to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and are brought together by various circumstances. As you read, you do not know how the survivor is, and I was turning the pages hoping to discover which girl survived while also hoping I was wrong- maybe they all survived.

Uprising is not the science-fiction type novel I expect from Haddix. However, it is a wonderful novel. It should be required reading for all girls who have forgotten how far women have come in the struggle for equality. It should be required reading for any one in a union, to remind them how much unions mean to this country. It should be required reading for anyone whose family immigrated to this country and fought years of oppression just because they were Jewish, or Irish, or Italian. I can’t wait to pass this on to some of the girls in my room.

As a warning, Uprising does not have a happy ending. Haddix lets you know in the beginning that a lone survivor is being interviewed. However, the fact that the reader doesn’t know which girl survives will keep them turning the page. The author’s note at the end does a wonderful job of giving additional information while not spoonfeeding the reader, either. Haddix provides websites and books that she used in her research for the book and invites the reader to check them out. She also gives a brief history of the factory and its more famous employers and employees.

*One of my favorite books is Katherine Paterson’s Lyddie.  For those who enjoy Lyddie, I would highly recommend Uprising!

Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Shadow Children series is extremely popular in my classes this year.  I try to pick up all the Haddix books that I can, as they seem to hook many reluctant readers.  When I saw that Scholastic was offering “Running Out of Time” last month, I picked it up without knowing much about it.  While getting my car’s oil changed yesterday I had about an hour to read and managed to finish the book.  It is definitely a quick read, but an exciting book! Jessie’s family lives like most typical families- in 1840.  She’s a tomboy, usually the one in the group doing the dares, rather than the daring.  In many ways, she reminded me of Anne of Green Gables.  Her mother is the local midwife and Jessie enjoys tagging along with her on jobs.  Lately, however, more and more children have been becoming sick.  

When the book opens, Jessie accompanies her mother to  an appointment, but her mother will not let her enter the home where two children are very ill.  On the way home, her mother is acting very strange, and she sees signs on certain houses that signify the occupants are quarantined.  Her mother won’t answer her questions, but tells her she needs to meet her in the woods the next day, after school, but to tell no one. That morning, Jessie’s younger sister becomes ill in school.  Jessie brings her home and then heads deep into the woods to meet her mother.  What she learns in those woods will change her life, and the lives of those around her.  Her mother tells her that she fears diptheria is the disease they are fighting.  She needs Jessie to leave their village, Clifton, and find medicine in another village.  However, all is not as it seems.  

Haddix’s book takes a sharp turn about a quarter of the way through- a twist that I never saw coming!  I hesitate to say more, because I don’t want to ruin the experience for anyone else.  I really enjoyed this book and I know a few reluctant readers in my classes who will be hooked by this book.  If you enjoy fast-paced adventures, plot twists, mysteries, or Haddix’s other works, I highly recommend this novel!