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The Arm of the Starfish
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The Arm of the Starfish (O'Keefe Family #1)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  6,718 ratings  ·  199 reviews
When Adam Eddington, a gifted marine biology student, makes the acquaintance of blond and beautiful Kali Cutter at Kennedy International Airport on his way to Portugal to spend the summer working for the renowned scientist Dr. O’Keefe, he has no idea that this seemingly chance meeting will set into motion a chain of events he will be unable to stop. Caught between Kali’s s...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published 1965)
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Jennifer Klenz
This book influenced me to become a scientist. It takes a heck of a lot more skill to write a really good "kid's book" than a best selling adult novel. Madeleine L'Engle once said that when she had something really important to say she put it in a children's book.
Not only did this book influence my career choice but I would like to say it reinforced my character. If you only choose the right way when its easy what's the point?
Emmy
I just love Madeleine L'Engle books. I love the families she gives most (main) characters-- strong, unique, loving, intellectual, spiritual families. I've only read her YA and JF books, but the themes aren't childish-- they deal with death, hard choices, and good and evil-- but she doesn't leave you feeling like the world is a horrible place to live. I would say that if there is any set of "book families" that I would want to model my parenting after, it would probably be the ones found in Madel...more
stephanie
joey carr's mother was a librarian at one of the local high schools, and she found out i was a huge fan of l'engle. she recommended this to me, telling me that she had actually written books for adults and teenagers, outside of the wrinkle universe. (or as l'engle herself divides them, chronos (austins) and kairos (murrays), with characters intersecting both worlds - canon talis, zachary, and adam.)

anyway, i saved this book for a particularly rotten day, thinking that i needed a good comforting...more
Andrew
When Madeleine L'Engle creates a character they seldom appear in only one book, or even just one series for that matter. In The Arm of the Starfish a few of L'Engle's beloved characters from her Newberry Award winning book, A Wrinkle in Time, appear older, wiser and as parents.



Meg Murry and Calvin O'Keefe met in Wrinkle, but by Starfish have married, had six children and live on the island of Gaea off of western Europe. Calvin - now called Dr. O'Keefe - is a successful marine biologist whose dis...more
Kathryn
First of all, ADAM EDDINGTON OMG. I LOVE Adam. He is easily in the top five characters in all of L'Engle's books. He's also the anti-Zachary Gray; his appearance in a book is an automatic plus a million, while Zachary is an automatic minus a million. (Commander Rodney should have let him drown in Ring. And since he didn't, Poly should have let him drown in Lotus. Third time the charm?*)

Anyway, Starfish is a lot of fun. Adam spends a bit too much time trying to make up his mind about whose side t...more
Lillian
Madeleine L’Engle is my favorite writer, and The Arm of the Starfish is one of best books I have ever read. Adam Eddington is the main character and the hero of this story. Adam is a young biology student who is offered the opportunity of working with Dr. O’Keefe, one of the most famous scientists of his time. Dr. O’Keefe is working on a project involving limb regeneration, and if his work got into the wrong hands it could be very dangerous. Adam was recommended by a friend to work for Dr. O’Kee...more
Scott
Really good young adult fiction here. Goes up on the list with Z for Zachariah, Ender's Game, and Feed as one of my favorite books written for young people. A few things I really liked about it:

• There was genuine ambiguity in the characters. L'Engle wrong-foots you from the beginning, and even when you think you've got everything sorted, she'll throw another monkey-wrench in the gears.

• The links to previous L'Engle books was fun. I was really confused when Adam got to the O'Keefe's house, and...more
Wendy
Thousandth-time reread. I had MANY THOUGHTS. Like, I see now that it wouldn't have been that big of a deal for Temis to lose a finger--doubtless the natives would have been used to that--certainly not worth possibly giving her a flesh-devouring disease. And it is hard NOT to read gay subtext between Adam and Joshua. If I didn't know that it would have been basically impossible for Madeleine L'Engle to write something like that without it being weird, creepy, and all-wrong, I would be convinced o...more
David Gregg
Excellent book! For the first almost-quarter of the book, I thought the story was hackneyed and unimaginative, but as I discovered later, the way-too-coincidental "accidents" that occur early on weren't at all coincidental, and the seemingly-improbable were provided truly plausible and satisfying explanations that managed to resolve conclusively all my uncertainties about the ability of the author. The story progressed with rapidity through a number of unexpected turns. It was pleasingly full of...more
Eleanor
Somehow I have managed to work around my busy movie-watching, clothes shopping, lunching schedule to reread some of the kids books in my basement. Frankly, I think this book is amazing, A lot of adult novels (and movies for that matter) tend to go so far out of their way to make a point that they lose track of plot. This plot, although written for 12 year olds, is perfectly paced and still manages to make a point. Yes, some of the teenage stuff is awkward, but still. I'll take it over Zach Braff...more
Rebekah
I never quite got to the O'Keefe Family stories back in Germany. I notice that these stories so far, though using females to push along the story on both side of the fight, this story at least places the boys in control. The women are helpmeets and protectresses and tools for manipulation rather than intelligent beings. I hope that the second story rights this somewhat.

Adam steps into an airport and a world of intrigue. I wonder at the role of a 16 year old playing as a man because he is going...more
Anne Seebach
I read this book many years ago, and only had a fairly vague memory of the story before picking it up to re-read now. I did enjoy the book, but not as much as the novels in the associated 'Time' series. I felt that the main character Adam spent so much time feeling confused, and thinking about feeling confused, that the other characters became very peripheral. Ms. L'Engle did tend to focus on one character fairly heavily in most of her books I've read to date, but this one seemed more marked. I...more
Christy Sibila
Few books have made the transition from my childhood to adult shelf, but this book is a really fun mystery. I never read the rest of the series, actually, but if you are looking for something that is Madeleine L'Engle deep (which all fans of A Wrinkle In Time series know can be very deep indeed), or if your teenager is looking for something to read, check out The Arm of the Starfish. And if you read any of the other books in the series, let me know if they are any good. I may have to read them m...more
Violet
This is the second time around reading this, and I actually think I enjoyed it better the first time. It was still great, but I didn't wait long enough in between reading it the first time, and then reading it again. I knew exactly what was going to happen, so it kind of took the pleasure out of reading the book.

But this is a great book; definitly in the top five best Madeline L'Engle books!
Cthrower9gmail.com
I read all of the Time Quintet first and then started the story of the O'Keefs. Apparently, people have suggested to read 1-4 of the Wrinkle in Time series THEN read these three about the O'Keefs and then read the 5th book "An Acceptable Time" because Polly is about 12 in this book and she is 16 in the 5th time book. That said now let's discuss the book... Obviously since I read the books in the order I did it gave away a few details about later on in Polly's life. I don't think they gave very m...more
Melody
Hokey? Yes. Stiffly unrealistic dialogue? Yes. Unbelievable characters? Yes. Credulity-straining plot? Yes. Annoying spelling of Poly? Yes.

Is it a wonderful book that transcends all the limitations? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

Again, it's the joy L'Engle evokes that hooks me. Her world, at base, makes sense and is full of strong, moral, and unabashedly joyful characters.
Michael Fitzgerald
Intrigue! Espionage! Double agents! I was rather surprised by the rapid appearance of these elements. There are still enough of the usual L'Engle traits recognizable in the O'Keefe family and their actions and beliefs but this book introduces elements of science, politics, morality, and mortality in a way that is different from the author's two other series.
CLM
Sigh. One begins to feel very possessive of Adam.

Laurie can help me out here since I have not reread some of these for years but didn't M L'E mess up her generations here, making Adam a contemporary of Meg's daughter but also of Vicky Austin, when logically Vicky and Meg should be the roughly the same age.
Katie
It's astonishing that this book was written by the same author as A Wrinkle in Time. Terrible dialogue, boring characters, convoluted plot, and overwrought puppy love so contrived I almost began to rethink my whole Twilight-is-the-worst-love-story-ever position.
Martha
Holy Shit. The cover on this book looks cheesy; in 1989 it ruled. And I think it still does. I'll let y'all know. It is all about a starfish's ability to regenerate, within a teenage romance.
Rebecca
I read this novelette as a teen and - I have a sketchy memory for most books - believe I enjoyed it. When I ran across a reference to it some weeks ago I thought I'd run through it again and checked it out of the local library. Somehow, I had ascribed to it a mystery and depth that I wasn't able to pick up again, reading it with some 40+ years of life experience now under my belt, but that doesn't reduce it necessarily in value for the pre-teen and YA set. L'Engle is a fine writer and her storyl...more
Robby Pettit
This book was, as many of Madeline L'Engle's books are, pretty good. The book have me something to do while reading on the beach, though at some points I would rather have read something else.
So, in order of things I liked and that I didn't like:
#1. The science was great, like it normally is, though it was nothing compared to the science of the tesseract.
#2. The villains were very convincingly evil.
#3. There were some twists and turns along the way, though not many.
#4. They touched on some prof...more
Amanda
First read in fifth grade instead of whatever I was supposed to be reading at the time. Good choice, me!
Kythe42
The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L'Engle is the story of a young man named Adam Eddington who has landed a summer job abroad with a renowned marine biologist, Dr. Calvin O'Keefe. Due to unforeseen circumstances he winds up caught in the middle of an international conspiracy between Dr. O'Keefe and those that would steal his work. Adam must figure out who he can trust and decide whose side he wants to be on, but this decision is not as simple as he would like.

This book was an ok read. It was...more
Patrice
I chose this book as one of my “lifetime of books” reading challenge because it was written by Madeleine L’Engle. I remember reading a few of her other books and that I had always enjoyed them. As soon as I started the story I was reminded of how much I like Madeleine L’Engle’s writing style. This is listed as a YA book, but based on the story line my feeling is that the only reason it is regarded as YA is the fact that the main character, Adam Eddington, is a recent high school graduate, at th...more
Ben Fleck
Wow. I had never heard of this book before reading it, so I had no expectations. I liked "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle and had read two others in her Time Quartet ("A Swiftly Tilting Planet" & "Many Waters"). Let me tell you, this book spoke to me on many levels. It was thrilling, mysterious, intriguing, and just a lot of intense fun.

Whenever I would pause from reading the book, I found my thoughts kept coming back to it. The message of science vs. faith, good vs. evil, power vs....more
Becky
"What she was saying was only a soprano twittering in his ears. Most girls' conversation was, in his opinion."

Oh, Adam... I'm glad you smartened up by your next book / even the end of this one!

More seriously, as I was reading, I was thinking that MLE did well at highlighting the fact that things or people aren't 100% good or evil, that there's always ambiguity and good people do bad things. No sooner did I start thinking about that than it was discussed directly in the book. This interests me b...more
Melissa
Madeline L'Engle is a brilliant writer. That being said, this is one of her works that I just don't particularly care for. It's still good, but when you compare it to some of her others, it just isn't as good as those, and that is why I only rate it three stars.

Adam Eddington is a smart guy. He's going to be studying marine biology and is offered the chance to go to the island of Gaea to study with Dr. O'Keefe who has been doing research on regeneration in starfish. But Adam's not the only one w...more
Rebekah Choat
Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Adam Eddington, a gifted marine biology student, is en route to Portugal for a summer job assisting renowned scientist Dr. Calvin O’Keefe when he encounters gorgeous Kali Cutter in an airport. This “chance” meeting thrusts him into a fast-moving power struggle between those who would rightly limit the use of an amazing scientific discovery and those who would manipulate it with concern only for their own gain. Through a whirlwind of necessarily instantaneous decisions a...more
Elizabeth
While not as fantastical as the Time Quartet, this book is much more action-packed and full of intrigue than the Austin family novels, which make up the bulk of my L'Engle reading.
I liked it a lot, despite that. It delves into the issues of trust and betrayal, and learning to still find goodness in mankind after having been betrayed. Someone learns something, in every Madeleine L'Engle novel, about his/herself as well as people in general... and the reader finds him/herself learning right along...more
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Madeleine L'Engle was an American writer best known for her Young Adult fiction, particularly the Newbery Medal-winning A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and Many Waters. Her works reflect her strong interest in modern science: tesseracts, for example, are featured prominently in A Wrinkle in Time, mitochondrial DNA in A Wind in the Door, organ regener...more
More about Madeleine L'Engle...
A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1) A Wind in the Door (Time, #2) A Swiftly Tilting Planet (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #3) Many Waters (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #4) A Ring of Endless Light (Austin Family, #5)

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