Sunday, February 14, 2010

Rebecca Stead. FIRST LIGHT


Peter finally gets to see his father as an exploring scientist, rather than just a stuffy professor. His mom and dad have decided to let him come along on a scientific study in Greenland. His dad is a glaciologist and will be studying weather changes on the glaciers. His mom plans to continue writing her book on DNA. Peter is thrilled to leave school for a few months and go on the adventure with his family.

The secrets he uncovers there turn out to be beyond all comprehension. One day he goes exploring and stumbles upon a girl named Thea trying to pry a boy out of a crack in the ice. Peter helps Thea pull him to safety and continues to help her carry him to her “camp.” But what he finds isn’t a camp, but a huge community living underneath the ice in secret. After Peter has amassed a truckload of questions, they hustle him back to the surface refusing to answer any of them. He’s sent on his way and told to keep their secret.

Then when Peter sees his mom doodling a symbol that he saw down in the secret community, more questions come up. What is going on with that place and how is his mother involved?

The author has woven such an amazing story out of so many interesting topics.
There are many aspects of this story that I loved: The sled dogs that work so hard for their people and become members of their families, the science of fireflies, the igloo building, the mitochondrial DNA…I was continually intrigued and entertained! I’m not even going into some of the other cool aspects, so I won’t divulge any spoilers!

I’m floored that this is the author’s first published book. (but not totally surprised, since she just won the Newbery for her second book, which I also loved and reviewed here.) Also, what this author does better than anyone is tie up loose ends. You know how sometimes when you read a book or see a movie and something happened early on & you think “why didn’t they ever explain such & such.. or why did they bring that up & never finish it.” Well, every little thing you’re curious about in the book is neatly explained along the way or at the end. I love that! She did that with her second book too.

There is a really nifty website for this book here. The author's website is here.  I will be FIRST in line for her next book!