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Meet the Austins

(Austin Family Chronicles #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  9,541 ratings  ·  530 reviews
A revised edition, including one section of the manuscript that was omitted in the original publication. Vicky Austin and her siblings must adjust to the presence of a new member of the household-Maggy Hamilton, who is orphaned when her father is killed in a plane crash. Maggy is at first petulant and spoiled, but gradually opens her heart to the Austins to become one of t ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 30th 1997 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published 1960)
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Trina Talma It is a series, but it's not a new one -- this book was first published in 1960. This series eventually sort of intertwines with the Murry family seri…moreIt is a series, but it's not a new one -- this book was first published in 1960. This series eventually sort of intertwines with the Murry family series, in that they share a couple of characters.(less)

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Average rating 3.85  · 
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Madeleine L'Engle's Meet the Austins, and what can I say about this novel, but that it is a favourite, and will always be thus. I love everything about it, from the loving and episodic (but never tedious) descriptions of family life (and while some of these episodes might well and indeed be more than a bit dated, this has always been part of, or rather much of the charm for me), the nuanced and for a children's book lushly and highly developed character descriptions and yes, even the messages pr ...more
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
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
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kathryn by: Lisa Vegan--thank you!!!
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
Christine PNW
Written in episodic form, this is the introduction to L'Engle's second favorite family, the Austins. Unlike many of her books, this one has no science fiction elements. It is the story of a family of 4 children, 2 dogs, and a bunch of cats, living in a rambling house on a hill in small town New England. Little of consequence happens: an orphaned child joins the family and behaves badly, the narrator falls off her bike and breaks her arm, ice storms rage, meals are cooked and eaten, books are rea ...more
Diana Maria
Uuuu, I feel so nice and fuzzy about this book, I just hugged it and imagined I hugged each Austin in turn🌞


Another gem by Madeleine L'Engle, and again, so surprisingly unique and yet so much like her, worldview, style, prose iand all...I just love everything by her.
Basically, the story is about the Austins, a family of six, parents included, pets excluded (among these there are two absolutely delightful dogs with even more glorious names, Mr. Rochester and Colette, and an
Tiff at Mostly YA Lit
3.5 stars.

Despite my enduring love for Madeleine L'Engle and my obsession with her lesser-known heroine Vicky Austin, for some reason I never quite got to Meet the Austins. Maybe because I knew that it didn't involve any of the scientific elements that feature in so many of her later novels, maybe because Vicky is only 12 in this novel. I'm grateful that my book club forced me to finally read it! Meet the Austins is a very sweet middle-grade, and a great introduction to the loving, warm Austin
We really enjoyed this story. The title is apt because you did feel you were meeting and getting to know this family. We loved the detail of day to day life and relationships, the laughs and the squabbles and ups and downs of family life. We enjoyed looking into their life, the picnics on mountains and stargazing. We particularly liked the visit to their grandfather's, his house and location sound perfect, and what better use for disused horse stalls ! I started to look at a family tree at the e ...more
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-booklist
So, so lovely. Don't read this is you are not a fan of good books, good music, good conversation, faith and examples of inspiring mentoring.... this book contains a healthy dose of all of these ingredients!
I loved this even more than a Wrinkle in Time and plan to read the next books in this series!
Jan 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
I loved this family and can’t wait to read more of their stories. Madeleine’s writing is beautiful and this one comes without all the science and space stuff that’s a bit over my head in the Time books.😂
Oct 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: kids 11 and up

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
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018, ya
My mother assured me that I had loved this in childhood and as soon as I got into it, I remembered it strongly. Good to re-read and one that I hope to continue the series (did I read those? Stay tuned for my memory.)
Pamela Shropshire
Ms. L’Engle opens with a warm and loving description of an all-American, upper-middle class, mid-century family. Dinner is cooking in the oven, the older children are doing homework or working on school projects, and the younger ones are playing, while the mother is orchestrating the whole proceeding. They are all in expectation of the evening’s climax — for Daddy to come home from work. The phone rings and the two younger children rush to be the first one “there” to answer it.

This is the kind
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So charming and heart warming!! Gives me Little House on the Prairie vibes, but set in the 50’s.
Oh dear. My friends adore this. I don't. Even in 1960 one didn't have to believe in spanking, God, and big families. I may have accepted those if I'd read this as a child but I don't think I would have loved the book.

I may have liked it more then, though, what with the Grandfather's library, and the dog, and the adventures. Reading it now, as a parent looking forward to an empty nest, I'm just overwhelmed by the challenges these children inflict upon their parents. And the way Vicky's voice some
Feb 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Reading L'Engle's memoir Two-Part Invention put me in the mood to reread this old favorite for the umpteenth time. The Austin family shaped my ideal of family life: the classical music as soundtrack, the bustling happy chaos, the spirited discussions of literature and art and religion, the homey rhythms. Little did I know when I fell in love with this book, this family, as a teenager that it was shaping the course of my future: the homeschooling ideal we strive for (and do not always achieve, ju ...more
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was an off-the-cuff re-read. I was in the Children's area of the library with my kids, who had become absorbed in their own books, and I suddenly had an itch for Madeleine L'Engle. So I grabbed this one off the shelf. I didn't recall reading it when I was young, but I must have, because as soon as I got into it, I realized passages of it had stayed in my subconscious. I also realized how Vicky Austin, like Anne Shirley and Emily Starr, had influenced my view of both myself and the world aro ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the young and the young at heart
Recommended to Ivonne by: Manybooks
I have a love/hate relationship with the late Madeleine L’Engle. I loved A Wrinkle in Time, but I hated the sequel, A Wind in the Door. I enjoyed The Arm of the Starfish, but I couldn’t bring myself to finish the sequel, Dragons in the Waters. But on the recommendation of a Goodreads friend, I checked out Meet the Austins, the first in yet another of L’Engle’s series.

Unlike the two previous series, Meet the Austin contains no paranormal or sci-fi touches. Twelve-year-old Vicky Austin and her sis
Cara Olsen
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
In my upper years of grade school, I discovered Madeleine L'Engle's Time Trilogy (at the time it was a trilogy) and my literary world changed. The sense of wonder those books awakened served as my gateway to the realms of science fiction and fantasy. At least, that's how I remember it. In any case, she was a "favorite author" and A Wrinkle in Time was the best book ever. And yet, for some reason I did not explore much of her work beyond these books. It was probably because, despite some of the t ...more
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
Jul 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read, 2013
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
Molly Billygoat
Aug 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Surprisingly unlike Madeleine L'Engle's more famous and fantastical works, such as "A Wrinkle in Time," Meet the Austins is a mystery centered around a family so loving yet vulnerable as to be almost Von Trapp-like. L'Engle's prose has to it a classic feel, and each character is introduced sporadically, so as the reader is unsure who is most seriously embroiled in the mystery.

Set in New York, this rather naive family find themselves caught in what appears to be some kind of conspiracy with the c
Kate Willis
This was quite the cozy book with adorably sweet family relationships. I very much enjoyed the way the eccentricities of family life were brought out, and it reminded me of my own awesome family. There were quite a few hilarious moments, but a lot of sweet ones too. (John was such a great older brother to Vicky!) I especially loved Rob, and I think I want the Grandfather's house. ;) Just a note that there were some odd philosophical ideas put forth (mostly from children's wonderings) and a nonco ...more
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Treating myself to a year of rereading Madeline L'Engle. Bought the rest of the Austin books with some of the amazon gift card that I got from my friends at the Union Library when I retired and am going to read through the five of them first. Rounding out my collection as I go. Probably alternating fiction and non fiction, juvenile and adult books.

I love her style and the reality of living with a family that you sometimes love until it hurts and sometimes can't stand to be around. Filled with m
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith, classics, ya
This is a favorite from my youth, and I had the pleasure of reading it with my 15-year-old daughter for Homeschool. It’s such a delightful book about normal family life, yet Madeleine L’Engle makes “normal” so beautiful.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's hard to believe, but I never heard of Madeleine L’Engle and her books until I was an adult. The only one of her books I had read prior to Meet the Austins was A Wrinkle in Time and that was several years ago.
I feel an author obsession starting to grow – and I am thrilled that she wrote over 60 books so I have a lot to obsess over. I’m planning to read the remaining 4 novels in the Austin family series. Jeanne Birdsall of the Penderwick family books (another children’s series I love) must h
Dec 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A frolicking, rambling tale about five children, two dogs and their life together. This little book surprised me as actually being pretty good, as I’ve seen the movie made of ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ (also by L’Engle) and was thoroughly disappointed.

I loved the truthfulness displayed in this tale about family life - arguments, getting lost, picnicking, etc - but also the charm of seeing the world from that childlike perspective. My only disappointments in this book were the authors obvious lack of b
"Suzy said, 'I'd like to know everything in the world.'
'It's more than everything in the world, though, Suzy,' Grandfather said. 'It's much bigger than that. The search for knowledge and truth can be the most exciting thing there is as long as it takes you toward God instead of away from Him.' "

Well, it seems I am re-reading all my Madeleine L'Engle books this year!

I don't know how many times I read this book as a girl. I LOVED the Austin family and wanted to just jump inside this book. I wanted
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Would you be upset with me if I told you that I didn't really understand all the buzz about A Wrinkle In Time? I might just need to try it again, but I finished that book feeling kind of 'Meh'. Meet the Austins was completely different for me. I loved it, through and through. It's a gentle, sweet, real family story. L'Engle's descriptions made me feel like I knew this family personally. It's a very character-driven plot. Slow-moving in a perfectly lovely way. I can't wait to move on to the 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

Other books in the series

Austin Family Chronicles (5 books)
  • The Moon by Night (Austin Family Chronicles, #2)
  • The Young Unicorns (Austin Family Chronicles, #3)
  • A Ring of Endless Light (Austin Family Chronicles, #4)
  • Troubling a Star (Austin Family Chronicles, #5)

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