First Light by Rebecca Stead

First Light by Rebecca Stead tells the story of two children who live two very different lives.  Thea has never seen the sun. She lives deep within a glacier in Greenland.  Long ago, her people were accused of witchcraft and escaped hunters to take refuge under the ice in their new home, Gracehope.  When Thea is handed a map of Gracehope, she discovers a secret passage leading to the outside world, which she sets off to explore.  However, her search forces her to defy her grandmother, who is the leader of her people, and reveals the truth behind her mother’s tragic death.  Peter lives in New York, but has come to Greenland to live on the ice while his father studies climate change.  While in Greenland, he starts to have strange visions that lead him towards a meeting with Thea.  Their two worlds collide and life for the people of Gracehope will never be the same again.

First Light reminded me a lot of Juno of Taris by Fleur Beale. Thea lives in a society that is shut off from the outside world and when she discovers that their leaders have deceived them, she tries to find a way out.  The story is a mixture of real life, fantasy, adventure, science and mystery that will keep you guessing right to the end.  I loved the world of Gracehope with its transport (ice skates), technology (light globes and ice sealant) and the Chikchu (husky-type dogs).  If you’re looking for First Light in the library it has a different cover and doesn’t have a blurb (which is why I haven’t picked it up before), but don’t be put off because it’s a great story. Recommended for 10+   8 out of 10

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