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Meet the Austins (Austin Family, #1)
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Meet the Austins (Austin Family #1)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  6,625 ratings  ·  257 reviews
For a family with four kids, two dogs, assorted cats, and a constant stream of family and friends dropping by, life in the Austin family home has always been remarkably steady and contented. When a family friend suddenly dies in a plane crash, the Austins open their home to an orphaned girl, Maggy Hamilton. The Austin children — Vicky, John, Suzy, and Rob — do their best t ...more
Paperback, 223 pages
Published September 2nd 2008 by Square Fish (first published 1960)
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Elizabeth
Jun 01, 2011 Elizabeth rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all young teens (maybe mostly the female ones)
This is a novel about a family whose members share their experiences with each other, who accept each each member with love, trusting each other enough to not feel the need to hide things. We could all learn a thing or two from them.

I've read other books in the Austin family series before this one; out of order too. I love A Ring of Endless Light so much, my copy of it is literally falling apart. Recently I decided I really ought to start at the beginning.
I was very glad I did. I can't get enoug
...more
NebraskaIcebergs
Here’s the funny thing about Meet the Austins. When I read it in elementary school, I found the pace slow and so almost never discovered Madeleine L’Engle. I reread Meet the Austins only after I fell for Madeleine L’Engle’s other books. Yet now upon rereading the Austin books, Meet the Austins is by far my favorite because of its rich thematic depth. The rest of the world almost never discovered Meet the Austins either, given that it was rejected by publishers for two years. Why? Because Madelei ...more
Kathryn
Because I probably won't find time to write the thorough review this gem deserves, here are a few quick thoughts:

I loved the story. I felt an immediate bond with the characters and was so caught up in the story. I really appreciated how the story dealt with some difficult, real-life subjects while maintaining warmth, heart and humor. I wish I really could meet the Austin family ;-) And go visit Grandpa and his amazing home--I think I'm adding The Stables to my dream-libraries list, especially si
...more
Lisa Vegan
Sep 03, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children's lit fans, Madeleine L'Engle fans
This is one of my favorite books from childhood. I first read it in 1962 when I was 9. I still enjoy the story, and all of Madeleine L'Engle's books for that matter, but I think it's probably somewhat dated; kids today might not enjoy it that much, unless they are reading it as a period piece. It's the story of a family told from the point of view of the 12 year old daughter. This is the first book about the Austin family, just as A Wrinkle In Time is the first book about Meg Murray and her fami ...more
Tiffany Reisz
I've never read a L'Engle book I didn't love. Books about happy intact families are rather rare since they aren't inherently dramatic but L'Engle still manages to show the drama, romance, and bravery in everyday living.
Judy
Dec 02, 2012 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kids 11 and up
THE SUNDAY FAMILY READ


When Meet the Austins was published in 1960, Madeleine L'Engle was two years away from publishing her break out book A Wrinkle in Time. Somewhere I read that she was quite discouraged as an author at this time, even though she had been writing stories since childhood. She got published but prior to Wrinkle in Time her books had not sold well. In the long run, Meet the Austins grew into her second most well-known series.

I loved this book. It has all the charm of my favorite
...more
Kythe42
Meet the Austins by Madeleine L'Engle is an episodic type book about events in the lives of the Austin family. The book starts off with them being informed of the death of a close family friend and then shortly afterward they take in a little girl who was orphaned due to the same accident that killed their friend. The child turns out to be a difficult spoiled brat and it takes the family a long time to adjust to her living with them. Each chapter tells of different random events in the lives of ...more
Cara Olsen
L'Engle's novels, especially her Austin cannon, make it very difficult on the reader to leave behind the world in which strong connections and indelible memories have been made. Usually, when I've finished a book, I'll just sit there and let myself feel warm and full and contented, and maybe just a little sad it's over. That was true as well for this time.
When I was little, I used to watch The Cosby Show every day. And if any of the Cosby's had ever appeared on my doorstep offering to take me h
...more
E.L.
Feb 03, 2012 E.L. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to E.L. by: Cathy
The Austins manage in this, the first book featuring them, to be real, idealistic, and lovable all at once. None of them are perfect, but overall they represents exactly what I long for most - a family of loving, thinking, laughing individuals. I can never read a dinnertime scene without fiercely wishing for that in my own house.

If you are looking for an exciting story, this isn't it. If you are looking for a story that seems simple on the surface, yet simmers with quiet joy underneath, that sta
...more
Hannah  Messler
Eh. I go all bonkers for kids books usually, and I am going to keep reading this series, but jeez, Madeleine! This book is like 90% telling! Duh, didn't you take Creative Writing where they teach you to SHOW?
Nancy Butts
At last! A beloved book from my childhood that seems as wondrous to me now as it did then. I've been re-reading a lot of books by my girlhood favorite Madeleine L'Engle recently, and I'm afraid that most of them have disappointed me, sometimes sorely. But not this one. It is just as warm and glowing and loving and generous and perceptive as I remembered. I still adore this book about the Austins and their 200-year-old farmhouse Thornhill and their musical mother and doctor father and the dogs, C ...more
Andree
You know, I remembered absolutely nothing about this book. It's been a while since I've read it, but still. It was a bit ridiculous. I actually remembered nothing, to the extent that it was almost like reading it again.

This one has never been one of my favourites though. I may have only ever read it once before now. Maybe twice. I don't dislike it, but it's never really stuck out for me. I think part of it is that I've never been a huge fan of the Maggy plotline, I guess. I do love John and Vick
...more
Dolly
Dec 18, 2011 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Hallelujah! We finally finished this book! We started it about nine months ago...

This is an interesting tale of a family's life in rural Vermont, filled with moral lessons, compassion and anecdotes that are at times sad, funny or happy. The family eschewed the materialism that seems to plague Americans; and the traditions and principles that the family holds dear are ones that we could all likely benefit from in our own lives. The tale has an old fashioned feel to it, which makes sense as the st
...more
steph
I liked this. I liked this a lot more than I thought I would because the main character is twelve years old and I am, well not that age any more. But I could still relate to Vicky, like a lot -especially with regards to her family and how it worked. There was a line in here in which her mom told Vicky her being moody is partly due to her age but MOSTLY due to her and I laughed because that sounded exactly like something my mom would have told me at that age.

I think I would have liked this a LOT
...more
Cassandra
3.5 stars

It took me about 30 pages to really get into this book but once I did, I was delighted. I can't wait to read more about the Austin family! They seem like such a down to earth family, a bit of sibling squabbling but they still love each other at the end of the day. The family probably seems "quaint" by today's standards but I love how the mother takes care of her husband and children, the father works hard to provide for his family, and the children have chores and are expected to mind t
...more
Karima
Product details tell us that the target audience for this book is 11-18year olds. I would think 9 to 14 would be more accurate. This book was first published in 1960 when family life was quite different than it is today. This family is too good to be true but you can't help but love them and wish you were part of their rambling, bustling household. It is told through the voice of twelve-year-old Vicky Austin who knows that she is surrounded by a loving family, full of good-will with just the rig ...more
Kate
Vicky Austin is the second oldest child of four growing up in rural New England in the middle of the 20th century. This is the story of part of her twelfth year; the part that begins with the news of a dear uncle's death, continues with the arrival of an orphaned (and rather spoiled) ten-year-old Magggy, and ends with a decision about Maggy's future home. In between all of this, various scrapes and accomplishments ensue as the family adjusts to Maggy's presence and Maggy adjusts to her new life. ...more
Thomas Bell
It was a book about a family that tried to make you feel all warm and fuzzy. For me it was unsuccessful. However, it has intrigued me enough to want to read the rest of the series for some reason. Not sure why though.

The book was laden with un-realities that the author tried to make seem just everyday happenings. For example, a 15-yr old boy who spends all his time working on his space-suit that takes him 15 minutes to put on or take off will not have 8 girls all send him an invitation to the da
...more
Cathy
What a lovely book!

Without a doubt my favourite by L'Engle so far, I really enjoyed this and I love the Austins! Their family dynamic feels real, I love that they're a close-knit family and the entire story just made me feel so nostalgic. I was reminded of my own childhood on several occasions, which made me smile.

I was charmed. I have GOT to get my hands on the next two books.
Alida
As a huge fan of A Wrinkle in Time, this book was pretty disappointing. Granted, I read A Wrinkle as a child and I have just read Meet the Austins as an adult, but the Austins are so BORING! I went through the book quickly, so I have to admit it was fairly engaging, despite the fact that I found the writing style somewhat obnoxious. It is written from the point of view of 12-year-old Vicky, and is therefore quite bland and juvenile. Furthermore, the events were far too mundane to be truly intere ...more
Hans
3.5 stars - I recently learned that Madeleine L'Engle had (eventually) written 5 books with the Murry family (rather than simply the 3 that I knew), as well as, two other series that somehow tied together. It seemed like it would be interesting (and easy) to read through them. (Which would also be enough books to push another author above the "James Patterson" line in my GoodReads most read author list. It's all about the stats, people.)

I'm going to read on because I hear that several of the lat
...more
Ellen
I love Madeleine L'Engle books! Her writing is so fun, but always has a deeper meaning. This is the first book in the series and I'm thrilled to read the rest! It started out light and easy and built up perfectly until it reached it's thoughtful ending. I would suggest this book to anyone who wants a quick book and a fun read. The book was descriptive, but not so much you can't understand. I liked the bits of repetition of certain phrases and thought it was so cute! Also, I loved the chapter tit ...more
NC
I liked this book. I thought that I was reading it for the first time, but found that I had read it long ago. There was one chapter where Vicky was having a bad day. She got mad and then found that she couldn't stop herself from doing things she knew were wrong. I remembered that chapter so clearly from my childhood reading. I knew just what she was talking about then and I still do. Do we never grow out of that? I loved the characters and their struggles. I loved the lessons that were part of t ...more
Heidi
I didn't read the description of the book beforehand, so I was expecting something similar to A Wrinkle in Time. This was not on those same lines, but I really enjoyed the story. It reminds me of books The Four-story Mistake, which I loved as a kid. Light and fun, not a big commitment.
Ruth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Madeline Knight-Dixon
At first when I started reading this book I thought it was a boring story about a seemingly perfect family and their less than extraordinary life. Then I remembered that not every book needs to be full of strife and conflict and sadness and action-packed despair. Some books can be about life, the SIMPLE parts of life that often get neglected in storytelling. Which is exactly what this book is.

The story is about the Austin family, two parents who love each other, four siblings who love each other
...more
Millie Shumway
The Austins seem like the perfect family. Then one day their blissful lives are interrupted by a tragedy. A family friend and his copilot were killed in a plane accident, leaving behind a ten-year old spoiled brat, Maggy who has nowhere to stay. She lives with the Austins, and their adventures begin. She has a big influence on the Austins' daughter Suzy who starts getting into trouble with Maggy. The story follows their life together and adjustments they have to make for Maggy. It is narrated by ...more
Jill
Another feel good book from Madeleine L'Engle. It had a modern-day Little House on the Prairie feel to me.

"They'd always hoped it would be longer than it was...she said she was grateful for every moment she'd ever had with him, and, even if it was all over, she wouldn't trade places with anybody in the world."

"Grief for the big things takes a long time to come," Mother said. "You know how, when you cut yourself badly, you don't feel it at all for a long time? It doesn't hurt till the numbness w
...more
Maren
This was an interesting book. It's told from thirteen year old Vicky Austin's point of view. Her family is a semi-devout, middle class family who is very close. In the book, Vicky deals with several different things. Her first problem is a new addition to her family. After her uncle and his co-pilot die in a plane crash, Maggy, the co-pilot's daughter, comes to live the the Austin family. She is spoiled and doesn't really know how to socialize with other children. It takes a while for the family ...more
Alyce (At Home With Books)
Going into this book I had no idea that it was the only book in this series that didn't have a fantasy or science fiction theme. Throughout most of the book I couldn't quite put my finger on why I was disappointed with it, but after reading the description from Wikipedia it was obvious to me that that was what I was missing. Most of Madeleine L'Engle's other books that I love include some element of fantasy and I really missed that in this story.

I hadn't read this book before, and the only other
...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...

Other Books in the Series

Austin Family (9 books)
  • The Moon by Night (Austin Family, #2)
  • The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas (Austin Family, #3)
  • The Young Unicorns (Austin Family, #4)
  • A Ring of Endless Light (Austin Family, #5)
  • The Anti-Muffins (Austin Family, #6)
  • Troubling a Star (Austin Family, #7)
  • Miracle on 10th Street and Other Christmas Writings
  • A Full House: An Austin Family Christmas (Austin Family, #9)
A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1) A Wind in the Door (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #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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