August is my Madeleine L’Engle month. In my quest to read good young adult novels, I decided to read some of L’Engle’s works and decided to start from the beginning with the Austin series. In September, I am back to reading a better mix of books, so hang with me for this month!
The Giver by Lois Lowry – Somewhere in my education, I missed reading The Giver by Lois Lowry. It’s a classic dystopian young adult novel dealing with themes of freedom and choices verses safety and sameness. It’s a good book, well-written, and a great book for a middle school or even early high school class to read together. Personally, I was a little disappointed with the ending, but perhaps I need to read the other three books in the series, although I realize the other books follow different characters. 5 out of 7 Stars.
The Austin Family Series by Madeleine L’Engle
Meet the Austins – Meet the Austins is one of the few Madeline L’Engle books I haven’t read. The book introduces us to the Austin family. The family has to take in a young girl who is vaguely related to them when her father suddenly dies. This isn’t the strongest in the Austin series, but a good book, nonetheless. I love how L’Engle weaves faith throughout her stories. And the descriptions are stunning. 4 out of 7 stars.
The Moon By Night – The second book in the Austin family series is a story of a cross country camping trip and how Vicky Austin matures during the trip. It’s not my favorite L’Engle book, but it’s good. I still love how faith is weaved throughout the story. I didn’t like Zachary Grey at all in this book, so I’m interested to read A Ring of Endless Light again. 4 out of 7 stars.
The Young Unicorns – This book is a departure from the other Austin family series books. Although the Austin family is a big part of the book, the story follows Dave, a former gang member and a dangerous plot threatening New York City. After reading the first two Austin books, I enjoyed the change of pace with the suspense and mystery in this book. Again, the descriptions are wonderful. I also enjoyed the bit of sci-fi / futuristic piece of the book, as long as you keep in mind the book was written in 1968. So far, this is one of my favorites in the Austin series. 5 out of 7 stars.
Book of the Month
A Ring of Endless Light – As one of my favorite books growing up, I was anxious to read A Ring of Endless Light as an adult. L’Engle drew me in once again to this story of life, love, and loss. Her writing is so precise and the descriptions are magnificent. The story tugs on your heart as Vicky copes with growing up and dealing with loss in her life with a backdrop of dolphins, but the story doesn’t feel dated, simply timeless. L’Engle adds a bit of science fiction and fantasy, but it is perfect and adds depth to the story. A Ring of Endless Light is one of the best YA books I’ve read. 7 out of 7 stars.
If you would like to win a copy of A Ring of Endless Light, leave a comment below telling us a book you loved as a kid or teen which still holds up today! I will pick a winner in a week based on comments.