book review · Uncategorized

The Austin Family Chronicles Mini-Reviews

Hi Team! ’tis the season of rereading! I’m lately super into reviewing books in series or groups, possibly because I’m lazy but also because I like to see how books interact. Yesterday’s post was about the Austin Family Chronicles as a whole; today I cover each one individually. (and if you like this, should I keep doing it?)

mini reviews

Meet the Austins

Summary: the Austins have to adjust their family when a orphaned girl called Maggie comes to live with them.

Review: I read this in September or something, and it was the only book in the Austin family chronicles which I hadn’t previously read. It was fairly basic’ yies my family is changing’ book, but still enjoyable.

The Moon by Night

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how this book made me feel: SO MANY THINGS (also peep the hair in urgent need of more dye!)

Summary The Austin family takes a road trip across North America so they can see more of the world and encounter a troubled rich boy who is intent on his own roundabout destruction.

Review: some things about this book are definitely a product of its time. See: Queen Elizabeth visiting Canada, descriptions of Native American peoples (Margaret Mead, a flawed heroine of anthropology), and how the Americans feel lowkey hated when they cross the border (HONESTLY I WONDER WHY). This book made me wonder why troubled and/or outdoorsy smart and stable young men have not attached themselves to me. It’s so peculiar (nah I have high standards and low initiative). Zachary Grey is really troubled, obviously, and I don’t quite know what the message was?

But road trips are such fun! and I really liked Suzy in this book, and the way that Vicky accepts her own angst as a teenage byproduct (though lying abour ther age is obviously stupid.). There are some very dramatic moments and I just want to chill with Andy in Yellowstone National Park.

The Young Unicorns

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Summary: The Austins are living in New York. Someting sinister is afoot at the Catholic cathedral, gangs are vilified, and there is a blind girl and a priest and vague warnings which wrap up weirdly.

Review: This book has a lot more paranormal elements which are characteristic of L’Engle’s writing but honestly it was sort of unsatisfing. The close third person didn’t really work for me and the plot was bizarre. There’s something about lasers and mind control and the rising threat of gangs and how unsafe NYC is. It was sort of a shoddy story and didn’t fit together all theat well. I did like Josiah and Mr. Theo as characters however.

A Ring of Endless Light

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won a newbery medal for a reason!

Summary: Vicky’s grandfather is dying (of cancer, obvs) and it seems like there is a lot of death around her. She and her family are spending the summer with him and there are big quiestions about death and life to be asked, the messy intertwined connections of it all, the endless beauty. Vicky is a poet, and somehow has three boys interested in her and there are also dolphins, which are cool I guess.

Review: if you want to know why I like these books so much, you could skip numbers 1, 3, and 5, and just read The Moon By Night and this one. I loved all the deep questions, and the wilingness to examine them without being mired in them. I love Adam, and how the science is at the heart of the story–but L’Engle always asserts that magic and science are two sides of the same coin, and that the coin is a the currency of existence, and it’s all so lovely, from astrophysics to research

I did think that Zachary needed further interrogation, and that Leo was a sweetheart. I loved how much casual dating there was in this book because in the books I read love tends to be only one person ever and it’s a big deal, and this was not like that, and that was good. This book just makes me extremely happy, and it has intense summery vibes with death around the edges (because that’s how it works! circle of life etc.)

Troubling a Star

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Summary: Vicky Austin has the opportunity to go to Antarctica. But bad things are happening.

Review: I don’t even know what happened with this book. I finished it today and it was all telling and no showing and just not that scary (which it sort of should have been as it had a mystery set up) and the ending was confusing and I was beyond caring. The tone felt quite out of whack with the rest of the series. Antarcitica is still such a pressing issue, and the environmental awareness in this book was interesting, but the vilification of South American dictatorships was lazy (I mean Bolansaro Not Great but nothings was really explained) and Prince Otto is a slimeball. I think this story was too political for what it should have been and that really let it down.

what is a series you’ve read with hugely variable content? and have you rerad anything lately? tell me in the comments!

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