June 25, 2012

Troubling a Star by Madeline L'Engle

L'Engle's books always seem to have such poetic names. Troubling a Star, isn't that fantastic? Unfortunately the book wasn't quite as wondrous as the book title, but it was still pretty good. After all, L'Engle is a terrific writer.

Vickie (from the Austins series of which this is book 5) is still trying to find herself in the world. She recognizes that she loves to write, and more specifically loves to write poetry and is taking steps to improve this talent. She also has started visiting with her somewhat boyfriend Adam Eddington's Aunt, who is an interesting lady herself. Aunt Serena once had a child also named Adam who explored the Antarctic before disappearing and being declared dead. Now, Vicky's Adam is also headed to Antarctica to do research. After spending more time with Aunt Serena, Vicky is surprised when her birthday gift from her is to take a trip to see Adam there. But it will be much more dangerous than she thinks as there are people there that think she knows too much information.

Vicky is always a great character. She is so real that I think just about any teenage girl could identify with her. While she may not be "modern" because of the time this book was written, her thoughts are timeless. And she's a nice person. She has her faults but she just tries to be good and enjoy the world around her. Adam confuses me a bit more. I like him, but he's very changeable in his demeanor and thoughts and it can be unsettling. All the other characters are great as well though. Aunt Serena is charming and her cook Cookie is mysterious but kind. They each fill their own role quite well.

I wasn't as amazed by this plot though. Sure it was exciting what with the trip to Antarctica and the side-plot about Vicky in danger. But as well as those two things meshed I just didn't feel engaged in the book and it was a slower read because of it. I guess there was a lot of description I had trouble with, including the two countries that L'Engle made up for the purposes of the story. I can understand why she did make them up, but it made it harder to read as everything else was based in reality. Some of the plot ideas seemed to be resolved too easy too and the ending seemed rushed. It just wasn't the well paced story I've come to expect from L'Engle. But it still is highly appropriate for young adults and it's hard to find any fault with the language of this book.

A nice book and I do like L'Engle. Just not the best of this series or her work as a whole.

Troubling a Star
Copyright 1994
296 pages

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