I read this book when I was in elementary school, and I picked it up randomly at the library. All I can remember is the plot and the name of one character.

There are two points of view; one is a kid (I think a boy) who lives in a small apartment with his family and goes on a research trip to Antarctica. (His parents have been to this exact site before and his mom is trying to find something.) The second viewpoint is a girl named Thea who lives in a city inside a glacier in Antarctica.

They use ice skates to get around, and she’s 12-16 and works with the dog breeder, or the veterinarian but they breed the sled dogs. Her mom died in the lake. I think she lives with her aunt and she has a friend who might be named Marco? There’s a council but they seem to be keeping secrets.

The first boy is alone during a big storm and gets lost from the bubble tent. He finds an exposed part of the ice that looks like it has a ring frozen inside. Somehow he ends up finding a staircase or magically ending up in an ice tunnel that leads into the city (that’s more like a large village).

Together they solve a mystery that the council covered up, that the boy’s dad found the village a while and fell in love with Thea’s mom I think. The boy’s dad gave her a disease her immune system couldn’t handle and so either the council said they had to leave and covered up that there was a way out, or he took her out to try and find help. I don’t know if the mom is both Thea’s mom and the boy’s mom or if they’re cousins or something, but the mom wanted to come back to Antarctica to try and find her village and family again.

I think the book cover might’ve been blue but I might be completely off on that. I have slight recollection that they lived in New York and he slept on the top bunk and had a best friend. He was bitter about something, maybe he didn’t want to go to Antarctica, but I can’t remember. At one point he overhears his parents having a conversation.

Thea’s mom was a member of the council and she defies them or questions them, and Thea is now also a member of the council. One of the first scenes in the book is her running late for a council meeting. Her childhood friend, Marco (placeholder name) I think is an artist and his mom has a job (maybe cartographer) that uses paper, but paper is really precious and there’s only a few pieces left.

One of the other parts is that she raises and trains the puppies (and I think maybe everyone gets paired with a dog) and there’s a new litter and she tries to save the runt but I think the runt dies.

I absolutely loved the book and loved Thea. I confused it with City of Ember for a while because they both have underground communities that are a few hundred years old, and I read it around the same time. I think I read it it 2018 or 2019.

Edit: I found it! It was indeed First Light by Rebecca Stead. No wonder I couldn’t find it when I was looking at Antartica books😅

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    Hi Flori, if the answer below is correct you should accept it by clicking on the grey checkmark under the voting arrows; that will let other people searching for the same book who find your question see that it has been answered.
    – DavidW
    Commented May 24 at 23:59
  • Did you find it, or did DavidW? Please don't put the answer in your question. Accept the answer instead. Commented May 25 at 13:22

1 Answer 1


I think you have one important point confused; if the book takes place in Greenland and not Antarctica then it's almost definitely First Light (2007) by Rebecca Stead.

Quoting the blurb on Goodreads:

Peter is thrilled to leave New York City to accompany his parents on an expedition to Greenland to study global warming. There he has visions of things that should be too far away for him to see.

Generations ago, the people of Thea's community were hunted for possessing unusual abilities, so they fled beneath the ice. Thea needs help that only Peter can give. Their meeting reveals secrets of both their pasts, and changes the future for them both forever.

Cover of "First Light" showing Peter and a dog against the ice and sky, a twisted ring centred on the page with the title and Thea below, walking with a dog across ice amid rocks

Quoting bits from some of the reviews:

This book mostly takes place in Greenland and New York. The two main characters are Peter and Thea who know nothing about each other and who live in different parts of the world, but nearing the end you’ll realize that they’re very close to each other. Peter’s father is an ice researcher and he worked in Greenland while their home is in New York. Thea lives in Greenland in a village called Grace Hope which was built in the ice where there is a freshwater lake. It is an unknown place to most people except to the ones who live there and to Peter’s mother.

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