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Austin Family Books In Order

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Publication Order of Austin Family Chronicles Books

Meet the Austins (1960)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Moon by Night (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Young Unicorns (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Ring of Endless Light (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Anti-Muffins (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Troubling a Star (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Full House (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
When reading this series in chronological order, Troubling a Star and The Anti-Muffins are reversed.

The “Austin Family” series follows Vicky Austin, Maggy Hamilton (who is an orphan that the Austin family take in), and Vicky’s three siblings (John, Suzy, and Rob). This series follows Vicky around as she faces new things (love, grief, joy, and other difficulties) while she grows up. She even narrated her own picture book called “The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas”. The series is for young adults and children.

Vicky is the narrator of some of the novels in the series, and is the second child of the four Austin kids. She is an aspiring writer who is honing her chops by writing down her observations of the behaviors of her large family. Her older brother John is an astrophysicist, and her little sister Suzy has aspirations to be a doctor. This puts her at odds because all she wants to do is lead a life that is more philosophical and with more purpose than that of her siblings. At times, she goes off on her own to be by herself. She is closest to her younger brother Rob. Her parents are Dr. Wallace Austin and Victoria Austin, who used to be a singer.

While Vicky narrates a lot of the books in the series, there are some novels that she is a secondary character so that other people from her family can narrate. One such novel is “The Young Unicorns” that stars Josiah “Dave” Davidson. That being said, she still appears in eight novels by L’Engle.

Much like the novel “A Wrinkle in Time”, the first novel in the series, “Meet the Austins” had trouble getting published. It was rejected multiple times due to the fact that the novel starts with a death and is for children or young adults.

“Meet the Austins” by Madeleine L’Engle is the first novel in the “Austin Family” series that was released in 1960. An honorary uncle of the Austin family dies in a plane crash and shakes up things. The co-pilot on the plane died too, and the Austins take in his ten year old daughter. They find that she is a spoiled only child who had little family life, and very rarely saw her parents and was left with different governesses and nurses. Maggy is a bad influence on one child in particular, Suzy, who Maggy encourages to act up. The novel is made up of different events, divided into chapters, and Vicky comments on things like new developments.

Fans of the novel like the parts of the novel and find that part of its charm is that it is a little dated. There is some interesting messages that the author gives readers, and a lot of depth thematically. The novel, even though it is for kids, features grief in it. This novel is a favorite for some readers. Once again, the author wrote a novel that was loved by her fans. Some felt that the author’s character, Vicky Austin, works her way into your life and helps you see yourself better. Some found themselves seeing new things each time they read the novel. Fans shaped their ideas of family, over the years, off of this book, and found that they fell in love with it. Some will be unable to simply read this novel once, but will return many times to it. This is a novel that should not be missed by any young readers.

Some did not like the way that not a whole lot happened in the novel, it is a little on the cozy side. Some found that the novel was rather mundane, and without a whole lot of adventure. Readers found that the religion, that is in this author’s work, got more and more worked in and felt awkward, feeling that the author had to work it in anyway possible. Some found it odd that Vicky is a teenager who was able to quote different poets, authors, and essayists in the novel; making it hard for them to see her as a typical teenage girl who is struggling with who she is.

“The Moon By Night” by Madeleine L’Engle is the second novel in the “Austin Family” series that was released in 1963. Vicky is on a family trip, going cross country and camping. She is uncertain about things. Everything. This is being called her difficult year by her parents. That being said, she is still enjoying things. This trip is supposed to help them transition from their life in Connecticut to the one they will have in New York City. This will be where Dr. Wallace Austin (Vicky’s father) will be gathering research. Maggy decides that she wants to move in with Elena, a legal guardian, that is marrying Vicky’s uncle Douglas Austin. Vicky meets two different boys that become rivals for Vicky’s attention. One is more dependable and stable and less interesting for Vicky, Andy. The other is more wild and exciting who sweeps her off her feet, Zachary.

Fans of the novel thought the plot was fun and the writing wonderful. Not to mention, a novel that was populated by well drawn characters. This novel made some readers become fans of Madeleine L’Engle’s writing. Once again, L’Engle gives her readers a wonderful novel that they can devour and enjoy the whole time. Some really enjoy reading the novels in the series and cannot wait to read further installments. L’Engle has a knack for creating wonderful families and telling stories about them in a unique way. She also creates realistic teenage girls, and readers get to the point where they got to know Vicky and like her.

Some did not like how dramatic the narrator was and how maddening she could be at times. Readers found some of the subject matter to be dated. Some found themselves really not liking Zachary, one of the boys that Vicky meets, finding him to be a manipulative boy who says and does anything that gets him what he wants. Some did not enjoy the way the novel features a love triangle, ruining things for some.

“A Ring of Endless Light” was given the Newbery Honor.

“A Ring of Endless Light” has been adapted into a Disney movie that starred Mischa Barton in 2002.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Austin Family

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