First Light by Rebecca Stead.
Wendy Lamb Books/Random House: NY, 2007.

First Light is a very interesting tale. Unusual in every sense. It is part utopian science fiction, with a twist of the historical, a smudge of global warming, and a mystery at the heart of it all.

Thea lives in a community under Greenland's ice cap. They went underground more than a century ago when they were driven close to extinction by their neighbors. Thea's mother (dead since she was a toddler) had the dream of resurfacing to expand the community. Thea is now continuing her mother's vision.

Peter's father has a grant to study global warming in Greenland, and he finally gets to go with his parents and watch his father in action, or so he thinks. The camp is a bit of a letdown, but he is allowed to explore a little on his own. He starts to see strange images in his wanderings.

Thea and Peter meet when Thea and her cousin are tempted by the finding of a passage to the surface. Her cousin is stuck in the ice, requiring aid, and Peter's sled dog is called there by Thea's dog.

The story sounds simple enough then, except that there is unrest regarding Thea's behavior and a power struggle rooted in the history of Thea's mother, and even before her. Also, Peter's parents are acting strange. He hears snips of conversation and does not know what to think.

This is certainly a Knock Your Socks Off kind of book. As in When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead likes the plot twists. I wasn't expecting any underlying mystery, only waiting for the inevitable meeting.

The under-ice community is a charming world. One I think I'd like to visit. It was interesting to think how it could work, and I was disappointed by the leaving of it.

related-secrets, Greenland, adventure and adventurers, high interest
RL=5th and up

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