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 a magical tale set in Nigeria, Akata Witch.
The story stars a twelve year old American-born girl with albinism, Sunny. She’s unpopular at school, her father seems to hate her, and she’s worried that a vision was showing her the end of the world. She soon finds out she is a Leopard Person, just like her serious friend Orlu and the mysterious girl next door, Chichi. Her magical education takes her to exciting and dangerous new places, brings her into a powerful quartet of young magicians, and puts her and her friends up against Black Hat, a serial killer targeting kids.
I read this one myself and liked it a lot! I was constantly reminded of Harry Potter, but with an African setting, and with more of an edge - instead of being inducted via letter-carrying owls and an oversized hat, Sunny has to make an oath not to tell anyone that involves pressing the tip of her tongue to a knife.
You can read the prologue and the first chapter at Nnedi Okorafor’s official website. The author also recommends this review for some insight into cultural context - it’s from a blog dedicated to the sacred arts and sciences of the Igbo people, and takes the clever perspective of reviewing one of Sunny’s magical books excerpted within the story instead of just Akata Witch itself.