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First Light

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  5,577 ratings  ·  817 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 ...more
Audiobook, Unabridged
Published (first published June 26th 2007)
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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)
Amelie I think it might not really be fantasy because all the characters and places are real apart from the village under the ice.
I suppose you could say it…more
I think it might not really be fantasy because all the characters and places are real apart from the village under the ice.
I suppose you could say it is either.(less)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,577 ratings  ·  817 reviews

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Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sophie Crane
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals
First Light was written by Rebecca Stead who has written many more amazing books. This book mostly takes place in Greenland and New York. The two main characters are Peter and Thea who know nothing about each other and who live in different parts of the world, but nearing the end you’ll realize that they’re very close to each other. Peter’s father is an ice researcher and he worked in Greenland while their home is in New York. Thea lives in Greenland in a village called Grace Hope which was buil ...more
Oct 19, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 08, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this one....rather magical
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
Steve lovell
Oct 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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 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
Read this one with my 12-year-old for a library book club. We liked it, but it was a little slow for our taste. There were some teasers in the beginning that didn't amount to much in the end. Weren't you expecting more from mom's trance-like journaling in the secretive red notebook, giving her headaches and physically draining her of her energy? We were hoping for a little more science/global warming in the story. This is not a read I would recommend to everyone. It's okay but not a must-read.
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 vacations.
Jan 21, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 lives ...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
Dec 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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!

Monica Edinger
Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I originally read this when it was published and remember enjoying it. Now having read and reviewed the author's subsequent two novels, both of which have a very striking and original authorial voice I wanted to reread this to see if it was there too. One thing I noticed was that she definitely likes plot twists! In all three books there are big ones indeed. And she loves NYC, especially small neighborhoody places. In this one she mentions a few before the action shifts to Greenland.

I have to s
lucy  black
Sep 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
really cool book. reminds me a lot of the giver by lois lowry. i like the way she describes spaces and rooms and small day to day details of things. i also like how the family dynamics aren't all the usual stereotypes.
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
Chance Lee
There are glimmer's of Stead's brilliance -- writing that came to full shine in When You Reach Me and Liar & Spy -- but First Light's divided structure spreads the narrative too thin.

The story follows Peter, who lives in New York and travels with his father, a glaciologist, his mother, and his father's grad student to Greenland. If there were any hope at all of this book turning into Call Me By Your Name on ICE! I would have kept reading, but there isn't.

The other POV character is Thea, who liv
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade, 2017
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  ·  review of another edition
Really good! It’s a weaving of two separate stories. Science fiction for sure, and the setting is a new one for me!
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
garbage, trash and i loved it
Jill Cd
An interesting plot that combines the lives of two unlikely characters and settings. Kids that like books that are a bit different will enjoy this one.
Paula Ibarra
In the book the main character starts to get headaches. Then he notices that his mom gets them too.
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I love books but don't feel like stars capture what I want to say about them. Many of the books on my list are, in my opinion, amazing. Some I didn't like. But I give them all five stars, because stars make people - including me -- happy. Confused? Me too.

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