You may have read Madeleine L’Engle’s most famous book, A Wrinkle in Time, which won the Newbery Medal and is still available almost everywhere, even 60 years after it was published in 1962. But you may not know about L’Engle’s “other” famous series, about the Austin family. The Moon by Night is the second book in the Austin family series. The book, which is not science fiction, focuses on the coming-of-age story of Vicky Austin, age 14.
The Moon by Night was published in 1963, and it is set in the early 1960s. Some of the language and situations seem old-fashioned today. But the story of Vicky’s first loves, of her attempts to figure out who she is and who she wants to be, will resonate with all teen readers. The story opens with a family wedding, and Vicky feels awkward and not pretty. Immediately after the wedding, her family sets out on a summer cross-country trip. They camp at state and national parks, and meet all kinds of people. These interactions help Vicky grow up and learn more about herself. She meets Zachary, a “bad boy” who turns out to be more fragile than one expects. And she meets Andy, a “good boy” who introduces Vicky to new ideas and interests but isn’t quite as exciting as Zachary.
The book ends with an episode of danger and drama, as the Austin family heads home to the East Coast at the end of their road trip. Any reader will be curious to find out who Vicky chooses, Zachary or Andy. Every book in the Austin family series is worth a read! 4/5 for some language/situations that make the book seem dated.