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A Ring of Endless Light (Austin Family #5)

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  15,293 ratings  ·  564 reviews
Vicky Austin is filled with strong feelings as she stands near Commander Rodney's grave while her grandfather, who himself is dying of cancer, recites the funeral service. Watching his condition deteriorate as the summer passes on beautiful Seven Bay Island is almost more than Vicky can bear. To complicate things, she finds herself the center of attention for three very di ...more
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published July 1st 1981 by Perfection Learning (first published May 1st 1980)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Wendy Darling
4.5 stars Re-read for our readalong discussion on Friday 4/24!


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
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
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
Battle is over for this book, at any rate.

Before anyone starts throwing stones or even worse missiles, I have to point out that this is not a review, but rather a response. Furthermore, I read this book at the wrong time. Which is NOT code for saying that it's an immature book you could only love if you read it as a child. But really, rather than desiring to avoid abuse, I hate to say why a book that is an abiding favourite for so many friends is one that really didn't work for me.

As a child m
Rashika (is tired)
Upon re-read: still one of the best books ever.

(mini-review as a follow up to the read along)

A Ring of Endless Light is one of my all-time favorite books. I first read it many years ago and when I got the opportunity to re-read it, I was terrified. I worried that even though I had loved this book so many years ago, I wouldn’t feel the same way years later. I was wrong. I feel like I need to bang my head on a wall for ever underestimating this book but there it is. This is one of the best books I
Melissa McShane
Vicky Austin’s summer is filled with joy and heartbreak. Her family has come to the Island to stay with her grandfather, who’s dying of leukemia. She has three boys vying for her affections, each of whom has his own demons, all of whom look to Vicky for a kind of salvation. She’s trying to find her place in the world at a time when the support of her family isn’t what it used to be, not because they’ve changed, but because she has. And she is introduced to three dolphins with whom she has an unu ...more
Tiffany Reisz
Loved this one. I can see why so many women say this was their favorite while growing up. Nice to see Vicky coming into her own. These books take me back to my own adolescence. I don't miss it but it's nice to visit.
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!
Mar 05, 2009 D rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
4.5 stars although note to my future self, never re-read this if you are sad because wow, this book packs a punch. I love Vicky and her family though. No one does families as well as L'Engle.

Reviewed more in depth here at the YA/MG book battle
I finished reading this one on my last night shift at work and holy hell, was that a bad choice... If you’re wondering why it was a bad choice for me to read this one at work? Well, I was feeling pretty down with all the death and with Vicky’s reaction to it all and did I mention all the death and accidents? A real bummer to go and try to smile at my patients while I wake them at 6 am for meds and blood tests.

Well, I give this one 4 stars, even if I have some serious issues with some parts of th
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
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
I LOVE this book it is amazing! i've read this book about 5 times and i'm still not sick of'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
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
This is another one that really stands up to reread, I have to say.

(view spoiler)
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
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
Vicky is in a tough position, she has two boys who are vying for her attention, and one that she seems to have a crush on. "Adam was different from anybody I'd ever known. He wasn't spectacularly gorgeous, like Zachary, but he had a kind of light within that drew me to him like a moth to a candle." I'm not a huge fan of stories where there is this triangular relationship thing going on, but Leo, Zachary and Adam all played their roles of "good" guy, "bad" boy and "older" guy so well. Zachary alm ...more
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.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Although I do not share Madeline L’Engle’s religious beliefs, I sure as hell love her books. A Ring of Endless Light is not her most famous work, but it is her best. It’s a touching tale of life, loss, grief, love, and the things that make us human. Also, there are telepathic dolphins. L’Engle does like to throw in the occasional fantasy element into her work, not that I’m complaining!

The story is relatively simple, but heartbreaking. Vicky Austin is spending the summer with her grandfather, wh
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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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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)
  • Meet the Austins (Austin Family, #1)
  • The Moon by Night (Austin Family, #2)
  • The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas (Austin Family, #3)
  • The Young Unicorns (Austin Family, #4)
  • 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)

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“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” 449 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.” 199 likes
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