Friday, April 29, 2011

First Light - Rebecca Stead

First Light, Rebecca Stead (Text Publishing)

What was actually Rebecca Stead's first book, First Light has arrived to our Australian shores as the follow-up to her Newbery Medal-winning stunner When You Reach Me.

First Light is a dual-narrative novel for readers around 10 and up that explores environmentalism and politics through a cracking adventure - and slightly sci-fi/fantasy-ish - set in Greenland.

Peter has gone to Greenland with his parents, who are studying climate change. He begins to spend time with the sled dogs, exploring his new icy home. Having suffered from headaches in the past year or so, Peter also begins to have strange visions...

Thea lives at Gracehope, an underground city her ancestors built after they fled England, a people persecuted for 'gifts' and 'talents' they possessed. Gracehope is a model of sustainability, but its ruler is less than receptive to any questions or suggestions that young Thea puts forward.

Of course, these two curious, intelligent characters are destined to meet and it's when Thea and her cousin find a passage to the surface that the plot changes gear and pitches forward at an exciting pace. The themes are accessible and the language perfect. Highly recommended. 10+

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