Barbary and The Moon and the Sun - two very different books by Vonda McIntyre
1986's Barbary is a straightforward and short Sci-Fi novel about the twelve year old Barbary moving to her new home on a space station just when an alien vessel is approaching it. She smuggles her kitten on board with her and doing so has an unexpected impact on Earth's first contact with an alien species. 1998's The Moon and the Sun is a historical fantasy set in the court of Louis XV. Marie-Josephé is a Lady-in-Waiting to the King's niece and her brother is his Natural Philosopher who has returned in triumph from the new world with a captive sea monster, a mermaid. As Marie-Josephé assists her brother is studying the creature she realizes that it is intelligent and she becomes determined to save it from becoming the King's dinner.