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Troubling a Star (Austin Family Chronicles, #5)
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Troubling a Star

(Austin Family Chronicles #5)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  6,946 ratings  ·  305 reviews
For her birthday, Vicky receives the gift of a trip to the Antarctic, where her friend Adam Eddington is working as a marine biologist. But as Vicky meets her fellow travelers, it quickly becomes clear that some of them are not what they seem. Vicki's trip into adventure becomes a journey into icy danger. ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 296 pages
Published August 1st 1995 by Laurel Leaf (first published 1994)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,946 ratings  ·  305 reviews

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I know many might find this a terrible thing to admit, but I've always loved A Ring of Endless Light and Troubling a Star best of all Madeleine L'Engle's books--yes, even more than A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels and companions. I'm not sure whether I can even explain why, other than to say that I somehow just really identify with Vicky Austin, more than I ever could with Meg or Cal or Charles Wallace or the twins.

This book is sort of part mystery, part travel adventure, part political intrig
Dec 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: teen
This is a continuation/sequel to A Ring of Endless Light, but it's not nearly as good as that one. There's no magic to it, none of L'Engle's usual mystery.

It is a mystery story, but it's a political mystery rather than a metaphysical one. Our heroine goes to Antarctica and gets caught up in a political power struggle for control of the continent. And, like in the previous book, the girl has three love interests. Three! And the one we're supposed to like is hardly in the book at all. Plus it get
Liz Irmiter
Jun 01, 2010 rated it did not like it
I'd just like writers to know that even if they've published over a dozen books, I hope their editors still have the nerve to edit their work. This was a great idea that was so poorly written, I was so disappointed. I've loved her other work so much and think that L'Engle is a fantastic writer. That this is a part of her body of work stains her reputation for me. I have two other of her books that I bought at the same time as TROUBLING and I am a wee bit hesitant to read them. So basically, stay ...more
I'll be honest, this is not Madeleine L’Engle’s best work. However, even a second-rate L’Engle story is a treat. This one is rather an odd bird—part a story of an angsty teenager trying to find her place in life; part political thriller; part Antarctic travelogue with a strong theme of environmental preservation. (Also literal odd birds: lots and lots of penguins.) Despite some plot weaknesses, I turned the final page with a sigh of content.

'Troubling a Star' got off to a slow start, but a few c
Ugh, I feel horrible rating this at 2 stars because I usually LOVE L'Engle's books but this one, this one I was not into. I was dying of boredom and I had to literally force myself not to skip to the end (which I kind of ended up doing anyways). I loved seeing Vicky and Adam again (Adam my boy!) and meeting Aunt Serena and Cook was a delight but I spent most of this book just missing Vicky's loud family and the bond they all shared. With Vicky away traveling for 70% of this book her family was n ...more
Jul 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008, young-adult, fiction
It's been since junior high or early high school that I last read Madeleine L'Engle's Austin Family books. I remember LOVING Vicky's experiences with the dolphins. Other than that, I only have vague memories of the storylines. I never reread any of them, as I have the Wrinkle in Time series several times over the years. So I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy Touching a Star, which was published around ten years after I read the others in the series. I did like revisiting the characters, but did ...more
Diana Maria
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This feels like the old times in Meet the Austins, with part weird upside-down A Swiftly Tilting Planet scenario which was both intriguing and a bit strange to say the least (it does make the events and Charles' and Gaudior's work pointless...I really don't know what Madeleine L'Engle was thinking in ruining the outcomes of the A Swiftly Tilting Planet just to have some sort of background for this one; this one was published in 1994 and A Swiftly Tilting Planetin 1978, so you can't say she did ...more
Ben Fleck
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Troubling a Star: Or, Iceberg Woes

For the last book in the Austin Series, young Vicky Austin finds herself trapped on an iceberg in Antarctica! Oh, that crazy Vicky and the situations she gets herself into. How did she end up on this iceberg you ask? Well, you'll just have to read this book to find out!

Vicky gets to travel down to South America ALONE to meet her "friend" Adam Eddington (THE THIRD) in Antarctica. He's there doing some research or something. What follows is a tale of adventure
I think this touched on global warming. At least I remember environmental concerns. I'm going to have to reread this!
On rereading: This seemed a book to sneak in philosophy to young people under the guise of a fictional story. I say this because the ending was very rushed and confused, the confrontation with the boyfriend very curt with a bare apology for the way he treated her. It was more focused on world peace than on climate change but there is a slight reference to that. There was more abou
Michael Fitzgerald
Aug 15, 2008 rated it liked it
I'm longing for the first two books in the series where normal things happened to normal people. Now the normal people are getting involved in international plots, nuclear weapons, kidnapping, etc. - oh, yeah - in Antarctica. It's a bit much to swallow. I could sort of go along with that kind of thing in the Poly O'Keefe books, but not here. Again, I think this book suffers from the removal of the character from her normal environment. The other problem is even when there are characters who are ...more
Aug 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read, 2013
If it has feathers, it must be a bird.

Enough said, really.

Because formative books are formative.

This reread reminded me of that period when I was convinced I was going to be a marine biologist and study penguins. Didn't quite happen (though, I'm not upset about it).

I love this book. I love the sibling relationships between Vicky and John, and even Vicky and Suzy. I love Aunt Serena, I love Cook. I love the trip to Antarctica,and almost everyone on it. I love the discussions they have and the sil
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I always seem to revisit this series every few years, I love Madeleine L'Engle's voice and the life she gives to Vicky.
As an adult it is a very quick read I can read it in probably a day's commute to and from work on the bus. I so enjoy Vicky and Adam and Cook and all the whole Austin family really, re-reading is a little like visiting friends! The fact that it has stayed with me for almost 20 years should be recommendation enough for you to read it!
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another good read by Ms. L’Engle. She wove in her love science, adventure, and poetry.
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Madeleine L'Engle's books are like comfort food for me, and Vicki Austin is one of my favorite characters. ...more
Jun 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
This book was my first Austin Family book, and I really loved it when I first read it. I think it was the first thing I read that resembled a suspense or spy novel. This time around, I still enjoyed it, but more for the connections to Aunt Serena and the past, along with its letters and literature references, than I for the spy implications. Still, this book introduced me to the Austins, and I'm glad I read and re-read it. ...more
Jul 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Not my favorite of L'Engle's, but it wasn't a bad read. Adam Eddington is one of my favorite characters, so I am always glad when he is in one of L'Engle's books. ...more
Dec 09, 2009 added it
I loved Madeleine L'Engle's books as a kid (didn't everyone love A Wrinkle in Time?) and thought I could go for a nice fantasy romp. But Troubling a Star was written in 1994 and didn't have the same magic I'd remembered. The dialogue was stilted and a 16-year-old girl who loves to hang out with an octagenarian and delights in reading Shakespeare so that she can have witty(ish) banter with her far-off love interest seemed charming but hopelessly unrealistic (sadly). I kept thinking that soon Vick ...more
Kiirsi Hellewell
Mar 25, 2011 rated it liked it
I know I've read this before, since the names and some of the situations were familiar to me, but it's been a long time. It was good to read it with fresh eyes.

I've never been a huge fan of Vicky Austin...I much prefer the O'Keefe family and books. That said, I was willing to give Vicky a chance. But this book was a little boring. It read like someone's travelogue journal entry where most days were pretty routine and nothing much happened. Also, I found it strange that no less than THREE boys on
Dec 03, 2007 rated it liked it
the last of the austin family novels- perhaps not as good as i remembered it, or as good as the others in the series. adam's rich aunt serena, who lives conveniently near the austin's home, takes a shining to vicky and send her on an educational antarctic cruise. a highlight of the cruise, for vicky, will be visiting adam, who is doing some marine biology work or other on the ice. but lo! there is a foul plot afoot.

i found all the other characters on the ship incredibly annoying. they are consta
Sep 14, 2007 rated it liked it
Sometimes I think about writing a review of this, but I never know exactly where to start with the whining. I will note that I felt like I had to rate it three stars because it's entertaining enough and I HAVE read it multiple times. If anyone else had written it, if I didn't know these characters at all, sure, it would be three stars. As a Madeleine L'Engle book, it's only two stars. Maybe one. At least in places. Major complaints: the plot is silly and unrealistic (but not in a magical-realism ...more
Sep 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: k-fic-post1948
Second read (first time was in Jan of 2000)

This isn't L'Engle at her best. Here, she has too many characters and a complex plot with quite a few storylines intertwined. Some of the major ones include: Antarctica, environmental ethic, penguins, young love, politics, suspense, mystery. Then there are minor storylines: friendship, respect for the elderly, Shakespeare, poetry, angels, ... (I call these storylines because they reappear time and again thruout the book.)

This is typical L'Engle in that
Ashlie (ardaigle)
Jan 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I mean, I love Madeleine L'Engle. I'll read pretty much anything by her. I thought I'd read all of the Austin stories when I was younger, but this was one I'd never read. I wished I was Vicki Austin back then, and, well, I still kind of do now... ...more
Apryl Anderson
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Great writing, with wisdom & adventure thrown in to keep us hanging on.

Now I want to see Antarctica!
Rachel Bayles
Aug 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Charming story. Takes me right back to childhood. All the L'Engle hallmarks; literature, music, writing, ethics, nature, kindness, and doing the right thing. ...more
Nov 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Re-read August 2013.

ADAM. <3
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: l-engle-reread
this book was extremely stupid, highly highly unrealistic (to the point where it's more unrealistic than anything else that L'Engle has written, and yes, I'm including the Wrinkle in Time series in that assessment), and just flat out BAD. it alarms me how L'Engle went from writing the phenomenal and earth-shattering (for me, at least) Ring of Endless Light and then followed it up with this garbage book where Vicky seems like so much more of a child than she was previously. Was this because she r ...more
Brittni Brinn
(spoilers included)

I really, really, really wanted to like this book. Madeline L'Engle is one of my favourite authors, and the previous book in this series, A Ring of Endless Light, is a nuanced and thematically harmonious look at a young adult's experiences of death and the interconnectedness of all living things.

But this book turned out to be disappointing. Although there is a professed theme (moving a flower can affect the life of a star), it did not unify the story into a satisfying whole.
Apr 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, popsugar
I found this one at a library sale and since I liked L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time series I picked it up. This one, however, is just plain YA and turns out to be the last in a series. Ah well. It was easy enough to pick up on who was who. Here's the thing though, it was started in the 60s and honestly this had such a 60s feel to the narrative/language. I think it might have been an effort on L'Engle's part to do so because this was written in the 90s nearly 30 years after half the series. It's also ...more
Aug 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
Kirkus got this book wrong so I am quoting everything that I think was important and stating my opinion on it. I disagree that the book is a “well-written story,” and I say you can barely feel any sensitivity from the book. It didn’t have any emotion. While I read this book, all I felt was boredom. It was like the story was at way too fast a pace for anyone to catch up to. One thing happened after another, so I couldn’t understand where the characters were coming from. When I read the book, it w ...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

Other books in the series

Austin Family Chronicles (5 books)
  • Meet the Austins (Austin Family Chronicles, #1)
  • The Moon by Night (Austin Family Chronicles, #2)
  • The Young Unicorns (Austin Family Chronicles, #3)
  • A Ring of Endless Light (Austin Family Chronicles, #4)

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