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 Madeleine George’s novel about a young activist pulled between the cause in which she believes and the girl that has her head over heels. From the official website:
Jesse cuts her own hair with a Swiss Army knife. She wears big green fisherman’s boots. She’s the founding (and only) member of NOLAW, the National Organization to Liberate All Weirdos. Emily wears sweaters with faux pearl buttons. She’s vice president of the student council. She has a boyfriend. These two girls have nothing in common, except a passionate secret attraction to one another. Jesse wishes their relationship could be out in the open, but Emily feels she has too much to lose. When they find themselves on opposite sides of a heated school conflict, they’re each forced to decide what’s more important: what you believe in, or the one you love?
The (beautiful) cover and the summaries I’ve read made me think that this book would be a straightforward high school romance. After reading it myself, I don’t think that label quite fits. This also isn’t a coming out story (“I’m here, I’m queer…” Jesse declares at one point, “We’re used to it,” is her mother’s weary but supportive reply) - a very refreshing starting point for a YA novel about a lesbian teen. This surprisingly complex book would be a great read for blossoming young activists, and has plenty of humor (I found Emily’s first-person sections packed with run-on-sentences and cognitive dissonance hilarious) and passion (some of the best kissing scenes I’ve read in any book, not just YA) to keep anyone entertained.
This book also contains a few pages of resources for young people who want to learn more about three of the book’s major elements: queer youth, suburban sprawl, and Joan of Arc.