A Northern Light, or A Gathering Light in the U.K., is an American historical novel for young adults, written by Jennifer Donnelly and published by Harcourt in 2003. The story is known as Realistic Fiction because of the untrue life story of Mattie Gokey, the real death of Grace Brown, and the events that could take place in the 1900s. Set in northern Herkimer County, New York in 1906, it is based on the Grace Brown murder case —the basis also for An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser (1925). It features a girl -the narrator-, who gets caught up in the events.
In the U.K., Bloomsbury published an edition within the calendar year, entitled A Gathering Light,[a] and Donnelly won the 2003 Carnegie Medal, recognizing the year's outstanding book by a British author for children or young adults. For the 70th anniversary of the Medal a few years later it was named one of the top ten winning works, selected by a panel to compose the ballot for a public election of the all-time favourite.