National Book Award 2019 Finalist!
From the author of Printz Medal winner Bone Gap comes the unforgettable story of two young women—one living, one dead—dealing with loss, desire, and the fragility of the American dream during WWII.
When Frankie’s mother died and her father left her and her siblings at an orphanage in Chicago, it was supposed to be only temporary—just long enough for him to get back on his feet and be able to provide for them once again. That’s why Frankie's not prepared for the day that he arrives for his weekend visit with a new woman on his arm and out-of-state train tickets in his pocket.
Now Frankie and her sister, Toni, are abandoned alongside so many other orphans—two young, unwanted women doing everything they can to survive.
And as the embers of the Great Depression are kindled into the fires of World War II, and the shadows of injustice, poverty, and death walk the streets in broad daylight, it will be up to Frankie to find something worth holding on to in the ruins of this shattered America—every minute of every day spent wondering if the life she's able to carve out will be enough.
I will admit I do not know the answer. But I will be watching, waiting to find out.
That’s what ghosts do.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Laura Ruby’s first historical novel pulled us in from the very first page. Pearl—the narrator of this moody story—is a ghost who’s watching over Frankie, a teenager coming of age in a 1940s Chicago orphanage after being abandoned by her father. As Pearl witnesses the headstrong youngster navigate an uncaring world, she starts to piece together her own story and the circumstances leading up to her death. Ruby’s bold, lyrical writing injects the story with a fiery undercurrent, offering sparks of hope throughout the darkness. Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All acknowledges that the paths forward for young women are often dangerous, but also that the joy of life is worth it.