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A Ring of Endless Light (Austin Family) Mass Market Paperback – July 15, 1981

4.8 out of 5 stars 234 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“With customary grace and firm control of an intricate plot, L'Engle has created another irresistible novel about familiar characters, the Austin family. Vicky, 16, narrates the climactic events with Grandfather Eaton on a New England island, where he is living his last days.” ―Publishers Weekly

“L'Engle has the magic storytelling gift that makes it a pleasure to lose yourself in her spell.” ―Newsweek

“L'Engle writes eloquently about death and life with provocative passages that linger in the thoughts of the perceptive.” ―Booklist, Starred Review

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

Vicky Austin is filled with strong feelings as she stands near Commander Rodney's grave while her grandfather, who himself is dying of cancer, recites the funeral service. Watching his condition deteriorate as the summer passes on beautiful Seven Bay Island is almost more than Vicky can bear. To complicate things, she finds herself the center of attention for three very different boys: Leo is an old friend wanting comfort and longing for romance; Zachary, whose attempted suicide inadvertently caused the Commander's death, is attractive and sophisticated but desperately troubled; and Adam, her older brother's friend, offers her a wonderful chance to assist in his experiments with dophins but treats her as a young girl just when she's ready to feel most grown-up.

Called upon to be dependable, stable, and wise, Vicky is exhilarated but often overwhemed. Forces of darkness and light, tragedy and joy, hover about her, and at times she doesn't know whcih will prevail.


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Product Details

  • Series: Austin Family (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf Dell (July 15, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440972329
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440972327
  • Product Dimensions: 4.7 x 0.9 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (234 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,582,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Vicky Austin knows that this will be her last summer on Seven Bay Island with her beloved grandfather, because the scholarly retired clergyman is dying of a fast-moving form of leukemia. 15-year-old Vicky stands on the dividing line between childhood and adulthood. As a budding poet, she promises to retain childhood's heightened and sometimes painful sensitivities even after she crosses that border. That's a bond she shares with her grandfather, but not with the rest of her loving yet far more scientifically inclined family.
Complicating this already trying time for Vicky are three young men. Leo, a lifelong friend of her family, wants more from her than the companionship and sympathy she is ready to offer him. Zachary, a severely troubled and wealthy youth who was her first real boyfriend, follows her to Seven Bay Island and alternately charms and frightens her with attentions that her family would prefer she didn't accept. And Adam, her older brother John's friend from MIT, assumes an important place in her life when he discovers that Vicky's extraordinary (and unexpected, and unexplained) ability to communicate with dolphins can transform his summer project at the Island's oceanographic research station.
While Vicky's romantic and other feelings for this trio are central to the story, this is not a conventional tale of young love in which the girl's choice of suitor is the whole point. Vicky Austin is a complete person, and not about to treat romance at age 15 as the be-all and end-all of her life so far; nor as the defining influence on her future. Until now she has been something of a misfit, with her physician father and scientifically inclined older brother and younger sister tech-talking over her head.
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By A Customer on October 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I don't believe that I've read many books as powerful as this one. All of Ms. L'Engle's books are amazing, but this one is my personal favorite. Vicky Austin, star of two previous books, has hit the hardest summer of her life. Her beloved grandfather, who is an absolutely amazing person, is dying of leukemia, and she has to come to terms with this. Enter three young men, all with their own experiences of death: Leo, whose father had died; Zachary, whose mother had died; and Adam from _The Arm of the Starfish_, who watched as someone he cared for was shot. Vicky hears their stories and has to come up with her own way to deal with dying. And this is only half of it. A previous reviewer didn't like the ending, but it was one of my favorite parts. The book as a whole is a testament to humanity's ability to see the whole of things, not one part. Like another previous reviewer, I would recommend this book to the 13-plus age group, rather than the fifth or sixth grade level the book has been given. One of the perfect pieces of children's literature.
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By A Customer on April 24, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Hi ya'll! First of all, A Ring of Endless Light is a simply great book by Madeline L'Engle, probably her best book. It's about not-quite-sixteen Vicky Austin, who in one summer finds out about life, death, and love. She finds herself the attention of three boys. Leo is a fried longing for more than friendship, but becoming more of a friend than ever to Vicky. Zachary is sophisticated, rich, and gorgeous to boot. However, he has a dark, maniacal side, that flirts with death. He pleads to Vicky that he needs her, but she's not so sure. Adam is a friend of her older brother John, nineteen. He's doing a project with dolphins, and Vicky is excited to help. She begins to think of Adam as more of a friend, but he just acts as though she were a child. Death seems to be erupting everywhere to Vicky. Commander Rodney, Leo's father had died, Zachary's mother died, her grandfather's health is deteriating, and an awful tragedy suddenly brings Vicky's life to a halting stop. She has held Death in her hands, literally, and her consciousness just fell apart. Only one thing can save her, the light, the ring of pure and endless light from the dolphins. This is an amazing book by Madeline L'Engle, and is one of my all-time favorites. Coming from me, that's really something. L'Engle fans are sure to love this, as well as anyone who enjoys a thoughtful, serious, well-written book. Read it!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A Ring of Endless Light has got to be one of my all time favorite books! If you've read Meet the Austins then you already know the characters, but for those of you who haven't, it's about a girl named Vicky Austin who has moved with her family into her grandfather's house because he is sick and they want to be with him when he,well,dies. At her new location Vicky meets Adam, her older brother's friend from work. Adam is studying dolphins and soon, Vicky gets to be apart of his project where she meets Basil, a wild dolphin. Vicky also re-unites with Zach, a rich boy who is not happy with his life. When Zach tries to commite suicide and ends up causing the death of a local life gaurd, Vicky must begin to face death, and heart ache.This is a wonderfully dramatic book that will keep you in tears, and in smiles. If you like dolphins, I gaurantee you will love this book. I've read it many times at the library already and now I'm buying it. This book is dramatic, sad, heart-wrenching, yet at the same time, fun and interesting. This is a must-read book! One of L'Engles best!
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