Vicky Austin's noisy, loving, mostly-happy family is disrupted when the family's honorary uncle dies in a plane crash. His co-pilot was also killed, leaving behind a ten-year-old daughter, Maggy, who has no one to care for her.
The Austins take Maggy in, and she proves to be a spoiled, troubled only child who had very little family life. Maggy encourages Vicky's sister Suzy to misbehave, which makes everyone's life more difficult.
Meet the Austins is largely episodic; each chapter covers a specific incident such as Vicky's bicycle accident or a family vacation. Throughout the book Vicky comments on the changes her family experiences during this time, and the reader sees her growing self-awareness. Although Vicky will later appear in three novels that have fantasy and/or science fiction themes, there are no such elements in Meet the Austins .