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The Moon by Night (Austin Family Chronicles #2)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  4,601 Ratings  ·  181 Reviews
Vicky Austin is filled with uncertainties about everything. Her parents call it Vicky's "difficult year." But fourteen-year-old Vicky is not so consumed with her problems that she can't enjoy the exciting adventures of her family's summer cross-country camping trip.In the course of their travels Vicky meets Zachary, an intriguing but troubled boy who latches on to Vicky. A ...more
Published January 1st 1963 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Tiffany Reisz
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My L'Engle kick is turning into a fetish.
Sep 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2015-The narrator drove me mad. She was SO DRAMATIC and her Zachary was just over the top. The rest of my review stands.

2011- Let me say first that it's a wonderful book. The characters are people you care about, and get very involved with. The plot is fun. The writing is excellent.

However, I think it is dated, no matter what Wendy says to the contrary. The attitudes of the menfolk, first of all- Daddy makes all the calls, takes the women and children out of danger, and dictates what his wife
Jan 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I discovered The Moon by Night in a high school library. After devouring it, I was hooked on Madeleine L’Engle. I love all the introspective passages from Vicky’s viewpoint. Her thoughts hook me from the very first page: “Indoors there was excitement and confusion and I guess a lot of happiness. I was the only one who seemed to be unhappy because nothing would ever be the same again. Up to a few days ago my life had been all of a piece, exciting sometimes and even miserable, but always following ...more
The Moon by Night is the second Austin family book. This one, like the first, is told from Vicky's point of view and focuses on her experience of growing up.

In The Moon by Night, Vicky and her family are traveling across the United States on a camping vacation as a sort of last hurrah before they have to spend a year or two in New York for her father's research. A lot is changing in their lives; not only are they leaving New England for that time, they're also giving up their foster sister Maggy
Sep 03, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Growing up, L'Engle was one of my favorite authors, and I read pretty much any book I could find by her. Some became all-time favorites. Some I would not recommend or want to read again. This is one of the latter.

Since I have a real soft spot for A Ring of Endless Light (a later book in the same Austin family series) I thought I would revisit this one. I had read it so long ago that I had forgotten much of it, except that it involved a cross-country camping trip and the introduction of Zachary G
Apryl Anderson
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's really no better way to pass a quiet Sunday afternoon in the hammock (or fireside couch) than with a L'Engle story.

'The moon by night' was charming, delightful, enjoyable but not dull from lack of heart-stopping action. It was even kind of eerie and uncanny to experience Vicky's 14yr old view of the American cross-country vacation.

I regret that I tried so hard to be a muffin at that age--read the book, you'll understand--that I overlooked what was right before my eyes. This is the grace
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read, 2013
Probably 3.5 stars, but I'm rounding up because I'm no longer the target audience and I liked this a lot better when I was younger.

I enjoy this book (unlike Meet the Austins, I remembered it almost in its entirety), but I did find it a bit dated. Maybe it's just that my relationship to adolescent coming of age stories has changed now that I'm no longer 13. I still really like a lot of what L'Engle does, particularly the little details. She still got me in the end; there were just few little thin
Krizia Anna
May 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: madeleine-lengle
What can I say? I'm a sucker for teenage romance then throw in some love triangle and one of the boy is the bad boy type... ohhh teenage love and teenage drama. This book made me wish that I am young again. Vicky Austin is growing up, John Austin is still smart and handsome but Zachary Gray soooo bad and I love it! ;p This one is very easy to read and is a nice coming-of-age stroy. Its a nice way to past the time. :)
Solid 3.5 stars. Didnt like it as much as the first though them traveling across country was pretty cool and I am growing to really like Vicky. The earthquake part seemed a little too convenient but eh, that's fine. Still plan on continuing with this series though, I need to see if she talks to Zachary or Andy again.
I really like the Austin Family! They are fun to read about and I like how even when the didn't always get along they still love each other.
Jenalyn C
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
L'Engle is an excellent storyteller. Although I cringed a little at the teenager angst, I really enjoyed the book.
Katie Fitzgerald
This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

The Moon By Night is the second book in Madeleine L’Engle’s Austin series, occurring roughly two years after the events of Meet the Austins. Vicky, who was then twelve, is now fourteen, and experiencing the typical doubts and growing pains associated with adolescence. In addition to her personal changes, she’s also forced to confront some serious family upheaval. Uncle Douglas has, as predicted by the family in Meet the Austins, married Aunt
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: overdrive
Surprisingly relevant to today, despite the fact that it takes place during the summer of 1959 (the book doesn't explicitly give a year, but I'm going by the earthquake that takes place in the book). Yeah, there's things different, like a lack of technology - which isn't too obvious, since "roughing it" even today has little technology use - and the way people interact with each other (Vicky's boyfriends are a little too possessive of her for my comfort). But as Vicky says her mother says Shakes ...more
Tina Wilson
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this one up because it is about the Austin's as they spend a summer camping and we were going camping so it seemed appropriate. Also, wanted to reread to see at what age/stage to share this one with Brooke. She's still got a few years to go (15ish?). Definitely keep this (and other's in the series) to read together, although she could read alone as well. Just so much good stuff in here to open up conversations about life and God and boys and the confusion of the teenage years. I so love L ...more
Lorelei Jaramillo
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love seeing the character development; however, it's hard to grasp that a 14 year old would be as nonchalant about receiving attention from a boys. Vicky is a very mature 14 year old. I don't think I would have been that way at 14 and looking at my 14 year old daughter now, I don't see her behaving similarly to Vicky. As a parent, I don't think I would have been as willing to let her hang out with Zachary alone. :)
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
In a time when most families are lucky to get a week of vacation together (or for some, any vacation together at all!), it was a little hard to suspend my disbelief of this family taking an entire summer off to travel around the country camping. I did like the accounts of all the different parks they stayed at and how the parks put on educational and entertaining programs each night.
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather Dubarry
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book as a kid, and it holds its own as an adult. I've got a lot of thoughts about this that need to marinate a bit more before sharing. Definitely am going to go back and read more L'Engle. She had a huge influence on my childhood.
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Forgot all about this one. It's totally ridiculous but completely lovely at the same time. L'Engle is just wonderful.
Kim Gray
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read all of the Murray books, but someone missed the Austins when I was a kid. Love coming back to these!
Louie Mattox
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teens
Though I didn't really like this book at first, I stayed through till the end and found important messages and meanings about faith and being a human. Definitely worth sticking through till the end.
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I enjoyed this break from harsh modern fiction. It was a simple story of family life and a young teen's emerging awareness of her own nature and her place in the world. There was nothing dysfunctional, scandalous, traumatic or mysterious. It was a fun book because it chronicled the family's vacation across America. Having done several such trips as a child, I appreciated the descriptions of the beauty and wonders they encountered in the various regions of the country. It was fun to relive the ad ...more
Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I think it's very hard to find a book by L'Engle that is bad. And this book just furthers that point along, it is very very good for being a young adult novel. There's just so much information and wisdom packed into the series that it's hard not to like them.

The Moon By Night is the 2nd book in the "Meet the Austins" series. I've read all the books out of order and as stand-alones (A Ring of Endless Light was perhaps my most favored book through my teenage years) and it's never really bothered m
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great book. I wish I had read it when I was an adolescent, it would have shed some light on love stories for me. It's also a great book about America and it's different sceneries. I wish we had a similar book about New Zealand. It's somewhat a bit old fashion in some ways, but still great for teenagers. I strongly recommend and I want to read the other books from the series.
My goodness. I haven't had such mixed feelings about a book in a long time.

Vicky's struggle with faith/Christianity/God: 4.5 stars. It's a bit overblown at times, like in the early chapters when she's reminding the reader at every opportunity, "Rob prayed--not that I was really into prayers, and I'm sure glad nobody asked me to pray--but I liked hearing Rob pray." On the whole, though, it's a good exploration of a sensitive but very pertinent topic. Uncle Douglas's thoughts on growing up ring tr
Sara Kreps
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good coming of age story.
Apr 21, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, four stars...That's quite a bit but this novel deserves them, despite its flaws. After all, I'm re-reading it, and I'm well past 'young adult'. Just that says a good deal about a book.

It's skillfully written, sometimes tedious (how many descriptions of campgrounds can you take?), and mostly persuasive. Many have gushed about how 'true' Vicky's fourteen year old voice is. That's perhaps my biggest problem with this book. After all, I, too, was fourteen and female at a date not so terribly p
May 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great one by L'Engle. Honestly, the only thing I didn't like about it was that sometimes, Vicky (the first-person narrator of the story) makes judgments about the different places the family visits on their summer-long camping trip that are really unfair. For instance, Vicky remarks that she doesn't really like Tennessee because they have a few bad experiences there. She then says something along the lines of, "We can't really judge Tennessee by these experiences, and it really is a beau ...more
Arliegh Kovacs
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, series
The Moon by Night is the second in the Austen Family series (Meet the Austins, The Moon By Night, The Young Unicorns, A Ring of Endless Light, Troubling A Star. There are also several shorter works The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas and A Full House:An Austin Family Christmas).
It was written in 1963 so some of the language is outdated as far as slang goes, but other than that, the story is one that girls in their young teens will be able to relate to.
Vicky is fourteen and has lived with her f
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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 Chronicles (5 books)
  • Meet the Austins
  • The Young Unicorns (Austin Family, #3)
  • A Ring of Endless Light (Austin Family, #4)
  • Troubling a Star (Austin Family, #5)

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