PURPLE TREE BOOKS REVIEW: Troubling a Star is a fantastic tale of adventure for leading lady Vicky Austen who has received a ticket from a friend’s great aunt for a trip to Antarctica! That’s right, Antarctica, where marine biologist Adam Eddington, Vicky’s friend with the endearing great aunt, is stationed to study. But Vicky realizes “there is something rotten in the state of Denmark!” How Vicky ends up stranded on a precarious iceberg with a dangerous seal is half the mystery. Will she ever get home or is her ticket to Antarctica for a one way trip?
AUSTIN FAMILY CHRONICLES: MEET THE AUSTINS – BOOK ONE
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For a family with four kids, two dogs, assorted cats, and a constant stream of family and friends dropping by, life in the Austin family home has always been remarkably steady and contented. When a family friend suddenly dies in a plane crash, the Austins open their home to an orphaned girl, Maggy Hamilton. The Austin children—Vicky, John, Suzy, and Rob—do their best to be generous and welcoming to Maggy. Vicky knows she should feel sorry for Maggy, but having sympathy for Maggy is no easy thing. Maggy is moody and spoiled; she breaks toys, wakes people in the middle of the night screaming, discourages homework, and generally causes chaos in the Austin household. How can one small child disrupt a family of six? Will life ever return to normal?
AUSTIN FAMILY CHRONICLES: THE MOON BY NIGHT – BOOK TWO
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As if simply being fourteen-years-old weren’t bad enough—what with the usual teenage angst and uncertainty, Vicky Austin’s always comforting and reliable home life is changing completely. Her brother John is going off to college in the fall. Maggy, an orphan taken in by the Austins two years ago, has gone to live with her legal guardian. And the rest of Vicky’s family is moving from their quiet house in the country to the heart of New York City. But before the big move, the entire Austin family is taking a meandering trip across the country in their station wagon, stopping to camp along the way, with no set schedule and not a single night of camping experience among them. Wild animal attacks. Life-threatening natural disasters. Cute boys on the prowl. Anything can happen in the great outdoors.
AUSTIN FAMILY CHRONICLES: THE YOUNG UNICORN – BOOK THREE
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The Austins are trying to settle into their new life in New York City, but their once close-knit family is pulling away from each other. Their father spends long hours alone in his study working on the research project that brought the family to the city. John is away at college. Rob is making friends with people in the neighborhood: newspaper vendors, dog walkers, even the local rabbi. Suzy is blossoming into a vivacious young woman. And Vicky has become closer to Emily Gregory, a blind and brilliant young musician, than to her sister Suzy. With the Austins going in different directions, they don’t notice that something sinister is going on in their neighborhood—and it’s centered around them. A mysterious genie appears before Rob and Emily. A stranger approaches Vicky in the park and calls her by name. Members of a local gang are following their father. The entire Austin family is in danger. If they don’t start telling each other what’s going on, someone just might get killed.
AUSTIN FAMILY CHRONICLES: RING OF ENDLESS LIGHT – BOOK FOUR
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After a tumultuous year in New York City, the Austins are spending the summer on the small island where their grandfather lives. He’s very sick, and watching his condition deteriorate as the summer passes is almost more than Vicky can bear. To complicate matters, she finds herself as the center of attention for three very different boys. Zachary Grey, the troubled and reckless boy Vicky met last summer, wants her all to himself as he grieves the loss of his mother. Leo Rodney has been just a friend for years, but the tragic loss of his father causes him to turn to Vicky for comfort—and romance. And then there’s Adam Eddington. Adam is only asking Vicky to help with his research on dolphins. But Adam—and the dolphins—may just be what Vicky needs to get through this heartbreaking summer.
AUSTIN FAMILY CHRONICLES: TROUBLING A STAR – BOOK FIVE
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The Austins have settled back into their beloved home in the country after more than a year away. Though they had all missed the predictability and security of life in Thornhill, Vicky Austin is discovering that slipping back into her old life isn’t easy. She’s been changed by life in New York City and her travels around the country while her old friends seem to have stayed the same. So Vicky finds herself spending time with a new friend, Serena Eddington—the great-aunt of a boy Vicky met over the summer. Aunt Serena gives Vicky an incredible birthday gift—a month-long trip to Antarctica. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. But Vicky is nervous. She’s never been away from her family before. Once she sets off though, she finds that’s the least of her worries. She receives threatening letters. She’s surrounded by suspicious characters. Vicky no longer knows who to trust. And she may not make it home alive.