The Young Unicorns

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Madeleine L’Engle 1968

In my quest to read and list all of Madeleine L’Engle’s books, I bought a very used copy of this young adult novel to re-read. Below is a cryptic synopsis followed by some general thoughts.

The Austin family, whom I first got to know in Meet the Austins, has temporarily moved to New York City. They have welomed a young houseguest (Emily, who is a gifted and newly blind pianist), and may also be hosting some unwelcome danger. Other characters include a large dog (as always), some teen gang members, the gang’s unlikely leader, a teen boy who is trying to break away from the gang – oh, and a genie.

Madeleine L’Engle was not particularly good at writing 1968 New York City teenage thugs – altough, to be fair, she was working within the constraints on her target YA audience. She was a master at using words and names to hint at a greater, truer story than the one on the pages, however, and she worked that magic in The Young Unicorns. Without that touch, I would rate this at three stars; magic = another half star.

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