Meet the Austins by Madeleine L'Engle is an episodic type book about events in the lives of the Austin family. The book starts off with them being informed of the death of a close family friend and then shortly afterward they take in a little girl who was orphaned due to the same accident that killed their friend. The child turns out to be a difficult spoiled brat and it takes the family a long time to adjust to her living with them. Each chapter tells of different random events in the lives of this family until the future of the orphan can be decided. For the most part I found this book to be rather dull and I was glad that it was a fairly short read so it didn't take me too long to get through it. I probably would have rated this book as two stars, but there were some parts of the book that were really quite funny and made me laugh, so I gave it an extra star for that. I doubt I'll be reading it again though. I still plan to read the other books in this series because there are some character's that overlap with the author's Time Quintet series which I love, and I recall reading other books in this series as a child and enjoying them much more than I did this book. I probably wouldn't recommend this book unless you are a big fan of the author or a completionist as far as series go.
I also have some additional thoughts on this book. I found a lot of similarities between the family in this book and the family in the author's other book, A Wrinkle in Time. Both families have four children and multiple pets and they both live in similar types of houses. They both live in small towns and both live in the same part of the country. The main character in both books is the eldest daughter and both of them are rather plain looking and insecure about their appearance. I also noticed at least three character names that were used in both books, though there were some variations in two of the names. I'm not saying that all of this is a bad thing necessarily, but it did give me the impression that the author had some creative difficulties. I can overlook most of the similarities, but I found the name thing a bit annoying and feel it shouldn't have been too difficult for the author to come up with more original character names.