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First Light

by Stead, Rebecca


Syndetic Solutions - [Book Review for 9780375840173]

Book Review

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Publishers Weekly :

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Stead's debut novel rests on an intriguing premise—that a group of people with unusual powers was forced to flee England generations ago to live peacefully below the ice in the cold world of Greenland. Fourteen-year-old Thea is a strong-willed resident of Gracehope, named after the woman who sacrificed her life to fulfill her dream of resettling her community safely under the glaciers. However, Thea, the last woman in Grace's direct bloodline, insists that her ancestor's intention was never to stay in Gracehope forever, but to rejoin life on the surface. Her life is forever changed the day she and her cousin find a secret tunnel to the world above and meet Peter, the 12-year old son of two scientists from New York who are ostensibly researching global warming. Peter is a reticent child who, like his mother, suffers from headaches and unusual ailments. After a long build-up, including a seemingly ancillary scientific puzzle about DNA, the story takes on a livelier pace as the central mystery unfolds—the connection between Peter and Thea. 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. Ages 9-12. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

distributed by Syndetic Solutions, LLC.:
Syndetic Solutions - [Book Review for 9780375840173]

Book Review

:

School Library Journal :

Terms of Use:

Gr 5–8—Stead's debut novel is an exciting, engaging mix of science fiction, mystery, and adventure. Thea lives in Gracehope, a world hidden inside Greenland's ice cap. Her English ancestors, hunted and slaughtered as accused witches seven generations earlier, retreated beneath the ice, settling in the cold world. But now, the population has increased to 600; births are limited and food rationed. Thea believes that the intent of the Settlers was to one day return to the world above. She and her cousin, Mattias, find the passage to that world, but in the process Mattias is hurt. Alternating with Thea's story is that of Peter, a seventh grader from New York City who is in Greenland for six weeks while his father, a glaciologist, investigates the melting ice cap. Thea's and Peter's lives cross when he finds the passage and Thea asks him to help with Mattias. He learns that his mother has a connection to Gracehope, and that his parents are trying to locate it and warn the people that, due to global warming, the community is sinking. Readers may wish that the fascinating underworld setting was described in more detail, and that the reason for the Settlers' abandoning the world above was revealed more clearly and sooner. But, Peter and Thea are fully developed main characters. Thea especially, with her growing independence from her family and her determination to help her people, is a strong and memorable protagonist. A great discussion starter of issues ranging from global warming to shunning and building a new society.—Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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