Copyright: 1962

Age: Junior High+


Meg and Charles Wallace are geniuses, children of remarkable scientists. But their father has been missing for some time. After they are approached by a group of strange old women who seem to know their problems intimately, they are led on amazing adventure through time and space to confront a great and creepy evil that threatens the universe.

Sexuality: 3
A teenage boy pats a crying teenage girl on the head.
A teenage boy says that a teenage girl is the nicest thing that's happened to him in a long time.
A teenage boy tells a teenage girl that she has "dreamboat eyes." He doesn't want any other boy to notice. He calls her eyes "gorgeous." She blushes.
A teemage boy and girl hold hands throughout the entire book. Many times it's because they are in danger. But many times it's for comfort, and they are clearly attracted to each other as well.
A scared teenage girl clutches at a teenage boy.
A teenage boy moves his fingers with a teenage girl's fingers as they worship the Lord and feel joy.
A teenage boy circles a teenage girl's waist with his arm to protect her when she shivers.
A teenage boy puts his arms around a teenage girl.
A teenage girl feels the pressure of a teenage boy's hand and feels a teenage boy holding her tightly.
A man is said to have left his wife and run off with another woman. (He hasn't.)
A teenage boy says, "One look at your mother and no one would think her husband would leave her for someone else."
A teenage boy grabs a teenage girl by the wrist.
A teenage boy takes off a teenage girl's glasses and wipes her tears with a handkerchief.
A teenage boy holds the elbow of a scared teenage girl. She is happy. The teenage boy's fingers barely touch the teenage girl's arm protectively.
A teenage boy tells a teenage girl her mom is gorgeous.
A teenage girl calls a teenage boy handsome.
A teenage boy asks a teenage girl to go for a walk with him.
A teenage boy crouches over an injured teenage girl and she gazes up at his face.
A teenage boy touches a teenage girl in a quick gesture that might be appreciative.
A teenage girl takes a teenage boy's hand in hers, trying to comfort him by the pressure of her fingers.
A woman-creature winks at a teenage boy and says she wants him to kiss her and that she always loved red hair. She calls him "laddie-love." He blushes and kisses her cheek. She tweaks his nose and tells him he has a lot to learn.
A teenage girl feels tingling warmth go through her, then is sleepy when alien tentacles touch her. (It is not clear whether this is likened to sexual feeling, but it seems to be a motherly-nurturing action.)
Aliens strip off a teenage girl's clothes and rubs something into her body. (No sexual intent.)
A teenage boy catches a teenage girl by the arm and kisses her.
In fear, a teenage girl wants to grab a teenage boy's hand, but she decides to be brave instead.

Violence: 3

A brainwashed man gives a smile that is so horrible, a teenage girl says she is about to throw up. (She doesn't.)
A teenage girl tries to hit a man.
A teenage boy tackles a boy.
People who are sick are murdered.
A teenage girl barely escapes being crushed by the wall.
A being is called "the happiest sadist."
A woman whacks two of her children with a wooden spoon (No malice intended, just discipline.)
A boy threatens to kick a man in self-defense.
A boy hits a man.
Children are brainwashed by an evil being.
A teenage girl tackles a boy and he falls, hitting his head with a sharp crack on the floor.
A teenage girl feels utter loathing and revulsion when an alien tentalce touches her face.
A teenage boy says humans would shoot aliens.
A teeange girl hits glass with her body. The impact makes her fall back, sick and dizzy, and she feels like she's going to faint or throw up. (She doesn't do either.)
A boy punches a teenage girl in the stomach. She gasps for breath.
A teenage girl kicks at a boy.
A disembodied, revolting brain pulses, quivers, and makes people nauseated to look at it. A teenage girl wants to dissect the brain, slashing through it with a knife.
Moving through space feels like agony. A teenage girl almost dies. Her heartbeat is faint. When the feeling comes back in her body, she hurts.
A boy screams in pain as he is punished. (We are not aware of how he is punished, but it seems mental.)
A teenage girl feels great pressure while time-traveling, like she is flattened and dying for air. Her lungs, heart, and mind could not think or expand.
A teenage girl wonders if her father is dead.
A teenage girl is plunged into scary darkness and cannot feel her body.
A shadow feels evil and beyond terrifying. it is the scariest thing a teenage girl has felt and she is beyond comfort.
Thin air feels like a knife slashing through the lungs.
A teenage girl tackles a boy and they fight because he insulted her brother. She ends up with bruises under her eye and a torn blouse.
A teenage girl is afraid to be in a hurricane storm. She is afraid the roof will blow off of her house.
A teenage girl is afraid to get robbed.
A teenage girl bruises her hip by bumping against a table.
A teenage girl is afraid that an imaginary tramp has a knife.

Language: 2

A teenager calls her dad "stupid."
"Dumb baby brother" is used three times.
"Moron" is used five times.
"Dumb" is used four times.
"Dope" is used twice.
"Golly" is used twice.
"Ass" is used for "donkey"

Christian Principles: Minimum

The critic would love to have awarded this a higher score in the Christian Principles section, but this book failed on a few key doctrinal points. The protagonists do go off and visit other worlds, the angelic-star-like beings that help them quote many Bible verses, they listen to creation worshipping God, and the whole story is a fight against evil. But the author's universalist thinking is made known when the angel-star creatures ask the children to name people who have fought evil in the past. When Jesus's Name is coupled with Buddha's and the children's names, the critic had to cringe. Jesus is just another man who "fought evil" and is on the same plane as Buddha or you and I? I think not! Generic Bible verses may be quoted, but the author clearly thinks that all paths lead to heaven. The Great Darkness does not originate from inside human beings either, but is an outside entity. In L'Engle's writing, sin is not something we do, but an outside source we must fight. This is clearly against Scripture, and leads one to think that all people are equally good. Finally, it is not Christ Jesus who sacrificed His life for us to save us from our sin. Instead, it is one of the angelic creatures, who claims she was originally a star, and who fails and makes mistakes just like a human being. She is said to have died as a star to fight evil. This was a bit repulsive to the critic.

A mature, Christian child might be able to ignore those heretical bits, enjoying the thought of other worlds all praising God, and of the battle against good and evil. The critic herself read the book as a teenager and came away with nothing but a love for science fiction. However, be ready to discuss these three points with your child, to make sure they know that we are all sinners, Jesus is God, and He is the one way to heaven.

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