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First Light

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  5,084 Ratings  ·  761 Reviews
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 w
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published June 26th 2007 by Wendy Lamb Books
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Allison When you read a lot, you come to realize that there are a finite number of themes, tropes, archetypes and plots. There are hundreds, if not thousands,…moreWhen you read a lot, you come to realize that there are a finite number of themes, tropes, archetypes and plots. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of books that feature underground or hidden cities. The use of this device does not come close to plagiarism. (less)
Gaurav I am 12 years old and read it when I was 11 years old. The concepts taught in school , like global warming can help readers of my age understand this…moreI am 12 years old and read it when I was 11 years old. The concepts taught in school , like global warming can help readers of my age understand this novel. It is interesting for both fantasy and science fiction lovers. So , yes , I think this book is appropriate for a 6th graders of any gender.(less)

Community Reviews

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Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I first heard about Rebecca Stead from Ann Cannon at the King's English. She urged me to read WHEN YOU REACH ME, which had been one of her favorite books that year. She said it reminded her of the kind of book she used to read when she was a kid, that it was like reading A WRINKLE IN TIME for the first time. I read it, loved it, and agreed with her 100%. I also assumed that it was Stead's first book, since surely I would have heard of this fine author before! A few weeks later she won the Newber ...more
Oct 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
Not my type at all. At first there was some act of realistic fiction but then it changed to sci-fi and I'm not a fan of that genre. Sorry to all you sci-fi lovers, if you do like sci-fi, this book could be a good fit for you. The three main characters to me are Peter, Thea, and Mattias. First Light takes place in the cold areas. I don't want to spoil so that is why I'm not really saying parts of it. If you like Sci-fi, you should add this book to your want to read list.
Jun 06, 2014 rated it liked it
This is an interesting science fiction story about a secret world under the glacial ice in Greenland. Thea has never seen the sun, but dreams of the "Wider World" her people escaped from long ago. Peter lives in New York City with his scientist parents who study glaciers and DNA. The stories of these two young teenagers are told in parallel story lines until the two narratives converge in a surprising twist to the story. If you enjoy Madeleine L'Engle, then you will certainly enjoy "First Light. ...more
Aug 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: youngadult
I've been reading a lot of young adult and juvenile fiction lately. At its best, this category of fiction provides quick reads with fully developed characters in plots that are designed for a younger reader and therefore usually cleaner. Unfortunately, this book lacked the depth that I want from a book - whether juvenile or adult fiction.

Peter is a NYC teen who treks to Greenland with his glaciologist father and biologist/writer mom. His story is interspersed with that of Thea, who lives in an u
Steve lovell
Oct 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Whilst our politicians dither and deny, global warming marches on. Soon whole countries will disappear under the Pacific, the weather will become even more eccentric, sea wall building will commence, Tony Abbot will bury his head in sand for real and Gracehope will disappear. Gracehope???? Did you not know another peopled land exists under the Greenland icecap???? Well Rebecca Stead does and she puts together a very fine ya novel with this tale of parallel worlds.
This was Stead’s first foray as
Aug 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
First Light was hard for me to put down. Peter Solemn's world is rocked in the very first chapter when his father, a glaciologist, announces the family is going on a research trip to Greenland. Two chapters later, we meet a second main character, Thea, who lives under the arctic ice in a society created generations ago by a group of people fleeing persecution in Europe.

What I loved most about this book was that it plunged me into not just one, but two fascinating new worlds. Greenland itself rea
A little book about a boy who travels with his parents to study global warming in Greenland and encounters a girl from a secret civilization under the ice.

A bit of a disappointment, after her wonderful When You Reach Me. This book is a little younger, a lot simpler; the adults are too competent and the conflicts too reductionist, so a lot of the tension just deflates.

Still, there’s something about the way Rebecca Stead writes. She has a gift for figurative language simple enough to make sense to
I would have given Stead's novel four stars had the first half not dragged on so much. She spent an avalanche of ink setting up the second half, where the real action begins. That being said, it is quite good for a first novel.

The themes of discovery, persecution, and hope intertwine over and over, creating a gripping action spiral (in the second half of the book) that binds the reader. I found it hard to put the book down. I also enjoyed the perspective shifts between the two main characters, P
Annabelle Amber
Sep 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like it.
It is different.
It has zing.
It has coldness.
Because it's in Greenland.
I like it!
Jamie (ReadsInTrees) Dacyczyn
Hmmm, I this is my least favorite book by this author so far. The story, writing, and characters were mostly fine (though lacking the charm of those in her later books)...but I had a hard time with believing the world building.

The basic idea is that there's a colony of people who've been living in caves under the ice sheet of Greenland for centuries, living alongside a subterranean freshwater lake, and never surfacing in all that time. Hm. The population has grown to six hundred people and an eq
Jan 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 10-13 year olds
Recommended to Beverly by: indie next list/
Before the masterful When You Reach Me and the equally excellent Liar & Spy, Rebecca Stead published First Light. It is a somewhat interesting fantasy with a predictable family expectations vs. individual goals conflict and a little bit of science fiction thrown in to keep the action going. It starts out as two stories that merge halfway through the book. Peter is brought to the glaciers of Greenland by his scientist father. Peter spends most of his time alone exploring the glaciers. Thea li ...more
May 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-read
Excellent, I stayed up until nearly dawn and finished the book earlier this afternoon. I didn't want the story to end. Rebecca Stead put together a very credible story with very strong young female and male characters mixed in with a bit a science and very early settlers similar to the pilgrims but in the Arctic Circle.

The plot is well woven with intricate patterns that come together to create a beautiful tapestry of words. The book has humor, adventure and some danger as well. The conclusion do
Aug 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I literally read it this fast... after i had it on the desk for a few days...

After reading this great book all i could think of was getting to skip school for a week, ride dogsleds, live in a giant blue tent and explore glaciers in Greenland every other day. Until i returned to my reality...

I once read a review of this book that said "for people who slow to warm to books, First Light could be just the thing to fire the curiosity in them" and this book certainly did that!

Dec 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
When Peter's dad, a scientist who studies global warming, wins a grant to explore Greenland, Peter and his mother jump at the chance to travel with him. Little does Peter know that there is a hidden civilization of people who have lived in a city under the ice for generations.

This book switches narrators between Peter and Thea, a girl who lives in the iceworld. Eventually their paths cross and secrets are revealed that change both worlds.

I enjoyed this book a lot. It reminded me of City of Ember
Peter's life changes first when he begins to have the strange headaches his mother gets, and second when his father decides that a 6-week stay in Greenland would be good for his mother. Life in such a snowy environment is quite different, but Peter enjoys the sled dogs and the newness of everything. Elsewhere, a girl named Thea lives in a strange world where she can communicate with dogs and there is no sun, no electricity. They skate to get from one place to another. How do these two worlds con ...more
Ash Rocketship
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
This was conceptually very interesting and full of both world-building and real world details that are extremely rich and enjoyable as well as characters that I was invested in and liked spending time with. It did a nice job alternating between the two pretty likable leads and keeping me interested as their stories began to intertwine. The reveal wasn't particularly surprising, but that's usually a sign that a plot has been really well laid out, which I think is very characteristic of Rebecca St ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

It kept my attention the entire time. The whole book was a very interesting concept. Two different worlds and how they are alike.

I needed some light reading and this book seemed perfect. Therefore I read it and I wouldn't be opposed to reading a sequel should she ever decided that it is necessary. (She should seriously think about writing a sequel. Because it would be awesome. Just sayin'.)

At times, I forgot how old the main characters actually were because they came across like they w
Sagar Castleman
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was very enjoyable but it was definitely my least favorite of Rebecca Stead's books. Her second book, When You Reach Me, is definitely the best of them, and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.
Jen Petro-Roy
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, middle-grade
Just lovely. I really don't want to leave these characters. So glad I finally picked this up.
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really good! It’s a weaving of two separate stories. Science fiction for sure, and the setting is a new one for me!
Paula Ibarra
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
In the book the main character starts to get headaches. Then he notices that his mom gets them too.
Sep 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: special-shelf
Thank you to Text Publishing for sending me a copy of this!

First Light was a beautiful read, blending science fiction and fantasy in a clever way, filled with mystery and suspense, and with its lovable characters. Rebecca Stead is most well-known for her second book When You Reach Me, the Newbery Medal winner -- which I do highly recommend! -- but I did slightly prefer First Light over it: its plot was more complex, and the characters more compelling. My thoughts are below.

To start with, I absol
James Webster
Sep 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction
Doggies On Ice

First Light, by first-time novelist Rebecca Steadman, has an intriguing premise: in the far past, a band of English settlers, fleeing from religious persecution, founded a colony under Greenland’s ice sheet, where they have lived for generations with almost no contact with the rest of the world. As one who has hiked on a glacier can attest, this world is filled with eerie colors, strange crevasses and ice patterns; the sound of melting ice far under one’s feet is an unearthly symph
So this book was pretty awesome :) I'm totally starting a new shelf for middle-grade/older children's though. The library had it shelved as YA but the two main characters are only 13 and 14, and it read much more like a children's adventure book than a YA novel.

I found it a little slow to start, but it was interesting enough to keep going with and then luckily picked up the pace a fair bit, when Peter arrived in Greenland!

I love how there was no magic or epic science fiction involved either. The
Lisa Vegan
This first novel is the third book I’ve read by this author. I really enjoy this author’s writing, her writing style, her stories, and especially her characters. I adored When You Reach Me; it made my favorites shelf, and I really loved Liar & Spy too, though I think this one is now my second favorite book by Rebecca Stead. I’m a huge fan of all three books and will happily read any future novels she writes.

I was greatly moved as I read this book. Reading it was among the best of book vacati
Anne Hamilton
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, fantasy
Some spoilers follow - though nothing you couldn't guess from the back cover blurb.

First Light is a satisfying blend of science and fantasy, steeped in adventure and laced with wisps of history.

Peter Solemn's been having strange headaches for a while. Even before he got the first one, his mum started to ask probing questions about their duration and severity. He wondered about that and so determined to conceal them all from her.

His dad is a lecturer, an expert in glaciers. Peter longs to meet th
Cathy Keller
Feb 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-byu
First Light by Rebecca Stead is an interesting novel which combines mystery and adventure with science fiction. The main character 12-year-old Peter lives in New York City with his mother, a genetic scientist, and his father, a glaciologist. When his father’s work takes the family to Greenland to student the effect of global warming, Peter discovers 14-year-old Thea and her secret community, Gracehope, which is under the Greenland ice. After finding a map that leads Thea to the surface, she beco ...more
Madeline Smoot
May 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
This book follows the stories of Peter and Thea. Peter is in Greenland with his environmental scientist of a father studying the effects of global warming on the ice sheets. He should be enjoying his time away from school, but he keeps getting odd visions of images he can’t explain.

At the same time, Thea is rebelling against her society which lives hidden deep under the ice. Built many generations before, Thea’s home was a refuge for people different from society. However, Thea feels a deep need
Sally Spratt
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
I was hooked on First Light after the first paragraph. Rebecca Stead has a style of writing that makes it seem as if the story is not fantasy or science fiction. First Light, like her other books, is definitely a fantasy/science fiction novel, however it's set in the modern world. You don't have to learn a slew of new words, figure out the setting, learn about made up cultures etc. What Rebecca creates, feels as if it could be real, or that it could actually happen. I find myself thinking about ...more
Apr 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: youngadult
The sci-fi elements in this engrossing book feel more like magical realism; there's an aura of magic surrounding this dual tale of Arctic adventure. Thea lives below a glacier in Gracehope, the only world she or her community members have ever known. Peter is the son of a molecular biologist and a glaciologist. Thea is determined to find a way for her community to expand beyond the increasingly cramped and resource-starved cavern they call home. In an insulated blue tent above the ice, Peter is ...more
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“But every person has to learn to accept what has happened in the past. Without bitterness. Or there is no point in continuing with life.” 7 likes
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