A Wrinkle in Time

by Madeleine L'Engle
Series: Austin Family #5
269 pages, Contemporary
Reviewed by Lily A.

A teen girl on an Antarctic adventure finds penguins and poetry and dangerous politics.


Vicky Austen returns to her small hometown from an extended vacation, and finds a friend and mentor in the grandmother of Adam, her more-than-friend. Through this woman, she gains a once in a lifetime chance to visit Antarctica, where Adam is volunteering at the research station founded by his missing father. On her trip Vicky will see a great deal of beauty, and make new friends; but there are also dangers to be found in the frozen continent.


On the positive side, family is valued, and older characters are respected and listened to by the more upstanding of the younger ones. Wise use of environmental resources is strongly encouraged.

On the negative side, villains kill and attempt to kill, kidnap and attempt to kidnap, are greedy, and are willing to go to extreme measures to gain the objects of their greed. Characters both "good" and "bad" lie, deceive, and omit key information, and sometimes this is excused by the book more than at other times.

Spiritual Content

Evolution is accepted by all characters, with some dialogue on the subject.

A well-respected character was a monk, and speaks of the beauty of God's creation. Various characters reference guardian angels, and a character is said to have a special connection with them. Angel physiology is discussed, both seriously and jokingly. "First man" is used in a message as code for the name "Adam."

In a tour of key locations in a fictitious South American country, the Inquisition and Catholic destruction of native artifacts are spoken of.


Nuclear weapons, nuclear waste, and environmental damage are spoken of, as is whaling, and the activities of predatory animals.

Two people are lost or abandoned in a hostile environment. A man is said to have been mauled by a seal, and another to have had a bad fall on a rocky surface. Someone nearly falls from a tall building. One man is fatally shot. A woman is said to have been tortured and killed by invaders of her country.

A wing of a museum is dedicated to depicting the Inquisition. Although this is not described in detail, we know that there are sculptures of men in pain and that the main character is deeply disturbed.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Some characters are said to be engaging in drug trafficking; however, this is not viewed directly by the reader.

Sexual Content

Various characters find one another attractive. A girl is kissed on multiple occasions, and a young man implies that he may be looking for a serious relationship leading to marriage. One woman is divorced, as her husband left her for someone wealthier. A warm, dark room used for conference activities is nicknamed "The Womb."

Crude or Profane Language or Content

None remembered.


"Troubling a Star" has an intelligent female protagonist, intersperses the past and present through a mixture of flashbacks, journals, and the main narrative, and is spattered delightfully with snatches of poetry. It is not frenetically paced, spending more time on character interaction and inner dialogue than on anything perilous, but there is still danger and intrigue here.

What problems will readers find? There is some violence, both in the reader's view and referenced as happening elsewhere. Drug trafficking contributes to the plotline, although it is not condoned. Evolution is taken for granted, and sometimes characters are not honest. In general, though, I enjoyed this book.

Fun Score: 4
Values Score: 3.5
Written for Age: 13+

Review Rating:

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