Meg Murry is perfectly ordinary. In fact, she feels that she is even less than ordinary. She doesn't do well in school, she isn't pretty, and she has an overactive temper. Her little brother, Charles Wallace, is the least ordinary person Meg can imagine. He is both brilliant and an exceptional empath. They live with their mother and twin brothers. Their father disappeared two years before. Life is bleak for Meg as she waits for her father to return. Once he comes home, everything will be better.
Before long, Charles Wallace introduces Meg to Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which. A boy from Meg's school, Calvin O'Keefe, is also led into their lives. Once Calvin enters the scene, things start to happen. The three women take Charles Wallace, Meg, and Calvin to another world. They enlist them to help in the battle against evil - and to save Meg's father.
Not gonna lie, A Wrinkle in Time is kind of weird; it's more science fiction than fantasy. The beauty of this book, though, is in the characters. L'Engle brings them to life. The main character, Meg, is so relatably human. She has faults. She's not as smart as Charles Wallace or Calvin. She's a pretty normal fourteen-year-old girl. But she still does amazing things. She shows courage in the face of danger despite not having any extraordinary powers. She alone can save the ones she loves, and she doesn't need to be anything more than herself to do it.
This is a children's book, so I'd say anyone from eight or nine years old and up could read it, and that age limit is mostly because there are some big words and somewhat abstract scientific ideas.
I've read A Wrinkle in Time several times throughout my life. It is written simply but not simplistically. You see real life problems through the eyes of a teenager who understands them and struggles to deal with them. As I finished reading it while sitting in my kids' pediatrician's office, I really hoped the doctor wouldn't walk in the door right as I was about to burst into tears. L'Engle writes with such emotion that you feel for Meg. You cheer for her. You care for her. Yes, some of this book is out there. Yes, it's science fiction. But at the heart of this story are its characters - and those characters are real. L'Engle imbues them with life and personality. There is little backstory given in this book, but what's there is sufficient. If for no other reason, read this book for the characters. Feel joy and sorrow with them. Suffer and celebrate with them. Read it.