Between Two Worlds
Wendy Lamb Books / Random House
Ages 14 and up
Washington State Book Award finalist
Available in both hardcover and paperback editions
Kirkpatrick sets this engrossing work of historical fiction in Greenland in 1900–1901, when an American ship arrives with supplies for Arctic explorer Robert E. Peary; on board are his wife and 10-year-old daughter (whose story Kirkpatrick told in her nonfictional 2007 book The Snow Baby). Narrator Billy Bah is a 16-year-old married Inuit woman who lived in America with Peary’s family for a year during her childhood. Her experiences motivated her parents to follow suit, but they died in America. Deeply Inuit in spiritual foundation and lifestyle, Billy Bah nevertheless feels caught between cultures, a feeling that intensifies when her husband begins trading her (a common Inuit practice) to an American sailor to whom she grows deeply attracted. Rich details about building igloos; hunting, preparing, and eating animals; and sewing clothing from their skins and furs (Billy Bah is an expert seamstress who outfitted Peary’s expeditions) create a total immersion in Inuit life. While the sexuality isn’t explicit, the story’s mature themes recommend it to older readers. Includes extensive and equally fascinating historical notes, as well as a timeline of the real-life events.—Starred Review, Publishers Weekly.