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First Light Hardcover – June 26, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 71 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The father of 12-year-old Peter is a glaciologist, his mother, a genetic scientist. Peter is thrilled when his father decides to take the family on his latest excursion to Greenland to study the effects of global warming. Fourteen-year-old Thea lives in a secret society called Gracehope under the Greenland ice. After finding a map that leads her to the surface, she becomes obsessed with seeing the sun and bringing her people back above ground. Peter and Thea accidentally meet on the surface and discover, through a secret kept by Peter's mother, that their destinies are unexpectedly joined. This debut novel is slow to start, and Stead's world building isn't quite convincing. There are some gaps in Gracehope's invented mythology, and the motivations behind the creation of the underground utopia are vague and simplistic. But the icy setting and global-warming theme are well realized, and middle-school fans of Neil Shusterman's Downsiders (2000) and Jeanne DuPrau's Books of Ember will also enjoy this solid, well-meaning fantasy. Jennifer Hubert
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Review

“Peter and Thea are vividly realized. . . . Gracehope itself is sketched with sure strokes, its icy setting and its matriarchal social structure fresh and believable.”—The Horn Book Magazine

“Stead’s debut novel rests on an intriguing premise. . . . It is a testament to the storytelling that the existence of this parallel world and the convergence of Peter and Thea’s stories, told in separate chapters, are both credible and absorbing. Young readers will find this a journey worth taking.”—Publishers Weekly


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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
71 customer ratings
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Liz Carter
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 17, 2015
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