Troubling A Star
By Madeleine L'Engle
Bantam Doubleday 1994
From my to-read shelf
Vicky Austin is feeling restless after returning to Connecticut from New York City. She wishes she could spend time with her friend Adam in the hopes that something more will develop, but Adam is on his way to a once in a lifetime internship. Instead, Vicky becomes close to Adam's Aunt Serena who makes her feel like one of the family. When Aunt Serena offers to send Vicky to Antarctica to have an amazing experience and meet up with Adam, she can't refuse. As Vicky prepares to leave, she receives threatening notes in her locker at school and becomes increasingly uncomfortable about how Serena's son died on a similar expedition. Vicky's trip will put her in danger beyond her imagination and show her amazing marvels that she will never forget.
Madeleine L'Engle is one of my favorite writers ever. Excuse me while I gush about her and her writing for a bit. Troubling A Star is what would be called YA literature today. Our protagonist, Vicky, is a high school student with normal problems but very unusual circumstances. She is a sister who feels intimidated by her younger sibling, who seems to have more ease with math, science, and social events. She is a girl hoping that a boy will see her as more than a friend. She is a student as interested in biology as she is Shakespeare and poetry. Vicky is a great everygirl protagonist.
There is so much happening in this small novel. It's a love story, a coming of age story, a mystery, and a thriller about the intersection of politics and science. Every time I read L'Engle, I appreciate the way she respects her readers. She is writing for teens and believes that they, like Vicky, will care about the effect that politics have on the Antarctic and its inhabitants. L'Engle writes characters who are smart and care about their families and friends. Best of all, she writes characters who are not defined by their romances.
I love Madeleine L'Engle and while this is not my favorite of her novels, I enjoyed reading every page. This is the way I wish authors would write YA fiction today. The mystery is tense and surprising and there are interesting characters on every page. This is not a story about a romance, it is Vicky's story about the ways that she grows and changes because of her experiences. If you've never read L'Engle, pick up one of her books today. She is a writer you don't want to miss.
While I've read and re-read A Ring of Endless Light, I've only read Troubling a Star once. Maybe it's time to go back and re-visit it. I love the Austin family!ReplyDelete
I've read and re-read A Ring of Endless Light as well. When I need to find calm, sometimes I still think about Vicky meditating on the rock. I didn't realize L'Engle continued to tell the Austin's story. I've apparently not been paying attention.Delete
I'm trying to figure out now which ones I read as a teen. I think I read some of the Austin series, but not all of them. This one was new to me, but it's the last one in the series.Delete
I love L'Engle so much as well. I own this book and have read it once but I remember very little about it except the "being on an iceberg" thing. I definitely want to revisit this and A Ring of Endless Light. Have you read any of L'Engle's books for adults? They are also amazing. Two of my favorites are The Small Rain and A Live Coal in the Sea.ReplyDelete
Yes, I thought The Small Rain and The Severed Wasp were exquisite, but I haven't read A Live Coal in the Sea yet. I am constantly amazed by how much she wrote in her lifetime!Delete
I can feel your passion for Madeleine L'Engle which just may equal mine. I love her for all the reasons you listed here and I have read almost all of her books. But, not this one. I have it on my shelf, along with A Winter's Love, for this winter. I love The Love Letters, too, which taught me at a very young age to love unconditionally.ReplyDelete
She is one of the few authors whose complete works I am determined to own and read. I am amazed time and again at her skill as a writer and insight into life, whether she is writing for children or adults.Delete