A blog for young readers (and YA lovers) from the Providence Athenaeum.
The Providence Athenaeum is a unique library and cultural center in the heart of Providence, Rhode Island. Growing out of the Providence Library Company (fourth library in the United States), the Athenaeum as we know it was formed in 1836. Our handsome building on the corner of Benefit and College was completed in 1838.
We are one of the few surviving membership libraries in the nation. Student memberships are available - visit or call for more information.
This blog is updated by one of our circulation assistants (and YA enthusiast), RJ. Follow us to find out what's new in our Young Adult corner, or just for a daily dose of literary shenanigans.
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New to the Athenaeum’s YA corner is The Rithmatist, the first in a new fantasy series by Brandon Sanderson. From the author’s website:
More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings—merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.
As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery, one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever.
…And what is a novella? Well, according to Writers Box, the word itself comes from Italian for “piece of news”. It has the same root as novel, and the line between a novel and novella is a little blurry - a novella is longer than a short story, but not quite a novel.
Is the difference in quantity or quality? Word count or narrative arc? It’s a little of both, and up for debate, but Josh Weil offers this definition: “a novella, I think, looks through the narrow lens of a short story, and with a short story’s intense focus, at a small, precise part of the world, but it treats what’s within that lens with a novel’s generosity and care.”
While we might think of novellas in terms of older works - Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Hemingways’ The Old Man and the Sea, Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle - there has been a recent surge of YA novellas. Writers of young adult series can use novellas to flesh out a character’s history or show us the world they’ve created from a new point of view. You can find a list of recent YA novellas on goodreads.
Do you have a favorite novella?
Gwendolyn Brooks, former poet laureate of the United States and the first African American to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize. Brooks was born on this day, June 7th, in 1917.