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A Ring of Endless Light (Austin Family #5)

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  13,728 ratings  ·  516 reviews
Paperback book, 1990. Young adult adventure story.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 15th 1981 by Dell (first published May 1st 1980)
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Treasure Island by Robert Louis StevensonRebecca by Daphne du MaurierRobinson Crusoe by Daniel DefoeEcho Beach by Jackie WilliamsIsland of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
Down by the Sea
100th out of 344 books — 338 voters
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas AdamsThe Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoThe Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. AuelFirestarter by Stephen KingOne Corpse Too Many by Ellis Peters
Best books of 1980
19th out of 73 books — 77 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Megan
Oct 11, 2013 Megan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone age 13 and up
Shelves: ya
I first read this book as an early teen--I can see now, reading it as an adult, that having read this book (along with all Madeleine L'Engle's other books) at twelve and thirteen clearly had a profound impact on my world view. L'Engle's writing has a depth and profundity that draws on emotions of which most writers only attempt to scratch the surface.

I think all developing adolescents should read this book and all its accompanying ones, if only to see that there is more out there than either com
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Wendy Darling
My favorite L'Engle book ever, about the formative summer when Vicky Austin's grandfather is dying and she meets a young marine biology student who teaches her to swim with dolphins. I'm not sure any other YA author has ever come close to L'Engle's complex and intelligent story-telling with the Austin family, which is secure in its wisdom that everyday life is dramatic enough without having to invent other-worldly plot devices.

To this day, whenever I see dolphins, I think of how L'Engle describe
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Laura
I read this book in fifth grade, and I loved it so much. I bought it earlier this spring at Borders (I think it was on sale because it’s newbery honor sticker is the wrong color), though I just picked it up.

Vicky Austin goes to her grandfather’s house on Seven Bay Island. Each day, her grandfather only seems to grow weaker from Leukemia. The book begins with the Austin’s family friend Commander Rodney’s funeral. There, she meets her older brother’s friend Adam, who she thinks she likes. She wor
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Sarrina
I had to read Meet the Austins and The Moon by Night, the first two Austin Family novels, in eighth grade. While I didn't like Meet the Austins as it read like a juvenile fiction book, I fell in love with The Moon by Night and the book's heroine, Vicky Austin. I reread the book so many times, the pages are coming out.

Surprisingly, I never picked up A Ring of Endless Light until college. My sister read it for school and told me that it was a fellow Vicky Austin novel and was surprised I had not y
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Dan
Mar 09, 2007 Dan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: youth
In my youth I was on a L'engle tear having gone through the "Time" series...however I didn't get the memo that L'engle's writing ministry developed into one catered towards guiding pre-adolescent females through their awkward years.

Needless to say, I caught on when I realized that the books really weren't speaking to me like the others were...and I quietly returned this one back to the library and saw that I was the only dude to read the book for the past decade...

A good read nonetheless!
D
Mar 05, 2009 D rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of L'Engle and of thoughtful young-adult lit
Recommended to D by: Maria Eidietis
Shelves: ya-lit
L'Engle seems to achieve that which Stephenie Meyer is, as yet, technically unable: a respectful, plausible narration of square pegs, alienated dreamers, and teens wiser than their years finding authentic connection. L'Engle's form is by no means flawless, but Meyer and others would do well to follow her lead and learn to show their protagonists' extraordinariness, not dictate, begging us to believe.
Kathryn
First of all, the science in A Ring of Endless Light is WAY off - dolphins are vicious little bastards. I laughed out loud when Vicky said that you never hear about dolphins' inhumanity to dolphins. Are you kidding me? Someone spent too much time daydreaming about her Trapper Keeper.

That being said, I still love this book. Vicky is wrestling with the problem of evil, particularly in terms of death, and she's also learning about burdens and what a person should or should not ask another person to
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Allison
So this is my favorite Madeleine L'Engle book of them all, and I like to reread it every summer. (I didn't reread in 2009, so this is the first time in two years.) It's a Newbery Honor book, which I didn't even realize until this year -- this is the first year I've ever really looked at that medal on the cover and thought about it.

Even though A Wrinkle in Time is probably the best written of her children's books, I've always liked Vicky better, and I've always found Adam to be the more crush-wor
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Amanda
I LOVE this book it is amazing! i've read this book about 5 times and i'm still not sick of it.it's about a girl named vicky who falls for a guy named adam. he doesn't really think she's all that special until he realizes she can communicate w/ dolphins! Then it becomes a battle for her heart because 3 guys are interested in her. Lessons you can learn from this book is to not take life and your friends and family for granted because no one has them forever. Also, it teaches you how to figure you ...more
Andree
This is another one that really stands up to reread, I have to say.

(view spoiler)
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Shenek
I've been going through a pile of books that I've been given to see if they are worth keeping. Most aren't worth commenting about...this book on the other hand left me a bit perplexed about how well I liked it.

The back of the book and the first few chapters it seemed like a realistic fiction coming of age/teen romance (yuck-in my opinion). I was irritated about the 3 boys interested in the 15 year old girl. And I felt that she had to make too many decisions about intimacy that I think girls of
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Cindy
A Ring of Endless Light takes what could be a beautiful, poignant book with the most saintly of grandfathers and a reverence for the poetic soul, dries it out, overloads it with sentiment, and then beats it over the head with understanding and well-wishing. And that's my polite impression of it.

Honestly, I don't know how anyone can like this book unless they find picture-perfect, saccharine families and neat answers appealing. Vicky is the most understanding and emotionally and psychologically a
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Nicholas Kotar
I missed this book growing up, preferring L'Engle's more adventurous fantasies. It's too bad, because I'm sure I would have loved it growing up. I picked this lovely gem of a book up in the library last year in the kids section, during a kind of "pilgrimage" to my local library, where I hadn't been in over ten years. I used to go there every week when I was a kid. I read it in one sitting.

It doesn't have the heart-stopping action of A Wrinkle in Time or the fantastic settings of A Wind in the Do
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Nira
I was probably around 12 years old when I read this and I remember very well how much it appealed to my little heart.
I think I might have also watched the movie and that's what drew me to the book.
If I picked it up again today I would probably finish it in a few hours without batting an eyelid and that's no fun, so I'll keep my 12 year old impression of it... and say it was the most magical read I'd ever had.
Rebecca
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa
4 1/2 stars. I really enjoyed this book and it pulled strong emotions out of me. A reminder that life is hard, death is hard, watching others suffer is hard, but all things are connected to a ring of endless light and all things will be okay because there is a God in charge. The message for me was to serve and encourage but not to carry the crosses of others in a way that their burdens become mine. Her grandfather reminded her often, "other men's crosses are not my crosses". Choose to resist the ...more
Melissa
This is one of my favorite books. Has been since I was a child and continues to be so today. It's beautifully written, has some strong messages, and is very relatable, especially for teenage girls (of which I was one when I first started loving the book). It's actually a part of a series, but is easily a stand alone book. If you want more background on the characters, it might be better to start with the first book though.

Vicky Austin and her family have come to their grandpa's home on an island
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Elizabeth
I think this might be the deepest of all the Austin novels. It's certainly my favorite.
The author's talent for lyricism and word usage shines brightly in this book, as does her understanding of love and loss, life and death. It's a story about growing up and discovering who you are, but also learning about other people and seeing them as individuals.

There's little that can be said negatively about this book. If it is seen by some as too harsh of a voyage into reality, I would counter that the
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Louisa George
I was surprised at the completely different tone that this book had compared to the Wrinkle in Time series. It's almost like it was written by a completely different author (In fact I flipped to the front of the book just to make sure it was by L'Engle). I did like it however. Again with L'Engle's books I really appreciated the moral/religious themes in the story and the questions it posed about people and life. I thought that this book was well written and the different "magical" or "spiritual" ...more
C
I discovered Madeleine L'Engle in elementary school and poured through every one of her books that our local library carried by the sixth grade. But this one in particular was especially moving and became a guiding part of my teenage years for it's hauntingly beautiful prose, the romance of communing with nature, and most of all, for it's intelligent and stubborn protagonist - Vicky Austin.
(view spoiler)
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Jacqueline
This was my second time reading this book. The first time I read it, which was quite awhile ago, it immediately became one of my favorite books. Reading it again as an older and perhaps more discriminating reader, I still enjoyed it immensely but was more aware of flaws.

Although there are some deep elements to the theme, the major over riding focus of the plot is about Vicky Austin's relationship with three young men. The boys are very different from each other, and although she likes all three
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Grace
So this is one of those rereads that is more like a first read because it's been so long since I've read it, and it was the only of the Austin books I ever read.

I really did like this, which is about all I remembered from having read it before (other than a little bit about Adam and the dolphins). Adam was great and I love the growing up that Vicky has done over the course of the last few books and everything with the dolphins and Vicky's relationship with her grandfather. As much as I am not in
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Sierra
This book was one of my elective reads, I think I am becoming increasingly more alarmed that I have not read more Madeleine L'Engle in my life, and I plan to amend this immediately. This book follows Vicky, who returns to a summer home and becomes involved with a science project involving communication with dolphins. Meanwhile, she is learning how she feels about religion, death, and boyfriends. This book is not to be confused with the horrible, watered down, counterfeit Disney movie that shares ...more
Stefany
After An Acceptable Time I didn’t really have much hope for this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. I liked Vicky Austin (even though she was a little bit too forgiving of some of the characters) and she made for an interesting protagonist. I also liked the scenes with the dolphins and found it interesting that Madeleine L’Engle was able to put so much personality into these characters that essentially have no dialogue. I thought the plot with the dolphins was great and it made me really wish ...more
Ela

There's something about looking up at the stars that makes it easier to look at your problems clearly. The vastness of the ocean pulls me in and lets the words spring to my mind.

I think everyone when they were little dreamed of swimming in the ocean along with all of the sea animals. Adams' project with the dolphins brings back a little bit of my childhood, and the results end up speaking to me as an author and songwriter. I've always been obsessed with the different ways that different people
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Melody
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bethy
Great read from what I remember from high school. I like L'Engle's writing.

However, from what I remember, I think she paints the Austins as a perfect family, which doesn't exist. Also, though this is not at all a "naughty" romance novel, and more of a young-adult book (although the main character's three prospective love interests are a big subject), I wanted to use this to comment on the subject of romance in reading. A sermon on sexual purity (by Bob at ECC) let me know that even the Christia
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Colleen
This is not a book to read quickly in a gulp -- like I did, because it was a present for my sister, which I was supposed to be wrapping. Oops.

This is one of the darker books L'Engle has written -- which is why I'm gifting it to a sister who just attended her first wake and sickbed. I can't imagine a better way to grapple, like protagonist Vicky Austin does, with the Big Questions in life, than to a backdrop of beach, dolphins, love, poetry, and philosophy.

That said, if you read it in one big bl
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Chinette
"A great ring of pure and endless light
Dazzles the darkness in my heart
And breaks apart the dusky clouds of night.
The end of all is hinted in the start.

When we are born we bear the seeds of plight;
Around us life and death are torn apart,
Yet a great ring of pure and endless light
Dazzles the darkness in my heart.

It lights the world to my delight,
Infinity is presend in each part.
A loving smile contains all art,
The motes of starlight spark and dart.
A grain of sand holds power and might,
And a great r
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Christy Luis
This is truly one of the first books I read that inspired me; after reading this, I BECAME a reader. This is the story of a summer for Vicky Austin in which her grandfather is dying, she is dealing with three very different boys, she sees that her parents are real people, and is learning to accept the harder points of life. The first time I read it, I was into the romance. The second time, into her emotions in general. The third time, the beautiful character dynamics, expecially those of her gra ...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) The Time Quartet Box Set (Time Quartet, #1-4)

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“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” 412 likes
“It's hard to let go anything we love. We live in a world which teaches us to clutch. But when we clutch we're left with a fistful of ashes.” 175 likes
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