First Light by Rebecca Stead

Peter is thrilled to join his parents on an expedition to Greenland, where his father studies global warming. Peter will get to skip school, drive a dogsled, and–finally–share in his dad’s adventures. But on the ice cap, Peter struggles to understand a series of visions that both frighten and entice him.

Thea has never seen the sun. Her extraordinary people, suspected of witchcraft and nearly driven to extinction, have retreated to a secret world they’ve built deep inside the arctic ice. As Thea dreams of a path to Earth’s surface, Peter’s search for answers brings him ever closer to her hidden home.

Rebecca Stead’s fascinating debut novel is a dazzling tale of mystery, science and adventure at the top of the world.


I am going to be participating in my school's upcoming Battle of the Books competition and have been tasked (with my fellow teacher teammates) with reading ten books chosen by our librarian. We will compete in a trivia-style competition in early May. First Light was the first book of the list for me. I liked the story, but I confess that I wasn't blown away by it. It's billed as a "science fiction" story, I think mostly because Peter's mother and father are both scientists and they are on a scientific expedition. There is a touch of magic in that some of the characters have special abilities, but it lacks many of the characteristics that I have come to associate with the science fiction genre. I did like how Stead brought the two parallel stories of Thea and Peter together in an interesting plot twist. There were a few things about Thea's underground society that were never fully explained, which probably wouldn't bother a younger reader, but stood out to me. Overall, I think it was a fun little adventure story.

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