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 Perks of Being a Wallflower motion picture.
Starring Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief), Emma Watson (Harry Potter) and Ezra Miller (We Need to Talk About Kevin), the film tells the story of Charlie, a shy and sensitive high school freshman whose only friend has recently committed suicide. Two seniors, Sam and her step-brother Patrick, take him under their wing. As Charlie comes out of his shell, he’s forced to navigate a wealth of new experiences - some good, some bad, some transcendent, some devastating.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Stephen Chbosky, also available here at the Ath!
New to the Athenaeum’s YA collection is The Hunger Games on DVD. A talented cast (including Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Amandla Stenberg and more) bring this story of survival from the pages of Suzanne Collin’s dystopian novels to the screen. From IMDB:
In a dystopian future, the totalitarian nation of Panem is divided between 12 districts and the Capitol. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal retribution for a past rebellion, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. The 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors while the citizens of Panem are required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives.
New to the Athenaeum’s YA corner is another entry in the Brat Pack film collection, Sixteen Candles. From Roger Ebert’s 1984 review:
“Sixteen Candles” is a sweet and funny movie about two of the worst things that can happen to a girl on her sixteenth birthday: (1) Her grandparents shrieking “Look! She’s finally got her boobies!” and (2) her entire family completely and totally forgetting that it’s even her birthday. The day goes downhill from there, because of (3) her sister’s wedding to a stupid lunkhead, (4) her crush on the best-looking guy in the senior class, and (5) the long, involved story about how a freshman boy named the Geek managed to get possession of a pair of her panties and sell looks at them for a dollar each to all the guys in the locker room.
If “Sixteen Candles” begins to sound a little like an adolescent raunch movie, maybe it’s because I haven’t suggested the style in which it’s acted and directed. This is a fresh and cheerful movie with a goofy sense of humor and a good ear for how teenagers talk. It doesn’t hate its characters or condescend to them, the way a lot of teenage movies do; instead, it goes for human comedy and finds it in the everyday lives of the kids in its story.
New to the Providence Athenaeum’s YA corner is another entry in the “Brat Pack” movie collection, Weird Science. From Roger Ebert’s 1985 review:
“Weird Science” combines two great traditions in popular entertainment: Inflamed male teenage fantasies and Frankenstein’s monster. Then it crosses them with a new myth, that of the teenage computer geniuses who lock themselves in their bedrooms, hunch over their computer keyboards and write pro grams that can change the universe.
In the movie’s opening scenes, a couple of bright guys write a program with their specifications for a perfect woman. They feed in centerfolds and magazine covers, measurements and parameters. Then, for additional brainpower, they tap into a giant government computer. And at exactly that instant, lightning strikes (just as it did in “The Bride of Frankenstein”), and out of the mix of bytes and kilowatts steps … a perfect woman.
She is played by Kelly LeBrock in the movie and she has full, sensuous lips, a throaty English accent and a lot of style. She is a little more than the boys had bargained on. For one thing, she isn’t an idealized Playmate, all staples and no brains, but an intelligent, sensitive woman who sees right through these teenagers and tries to do them some good.
That’s why “Weird Science” is funnier, and a little deeper, than the predictable story it might have been. The movie is the third success in a row for John Hughes, a writer and director who specializes in films about how teenagers really talk and think.
New to the Athenaeum’s YA corner is another 1980s teen classic, Say Anything.
You probably recognize the now-iconic image of heartbroken Lloyd (played by John Cusack) holding his boombox aloft, hoping his persistence and the tunes of Peter Gabriel will bring his beloved Diane (played by Ione Sky) back to him. But this scene comprises only a few seconds of a more complex movie about love, family, honesty and trust.
Diane is beautiful and brilliant - the valedictorian of their recently graduated high school class - and no one really gets what she sees in Lloyd, who is a devoted boyfriend but an aimless underachiever. Diane’s father, who acts as her closest friend and most trusted confidante, particularly disapproves of the relationship. She values his advice enough to break things off with Lloyd, but before she can leave for England at summer’s end, Diane’s world is turned upside-down.
Roger Ebert wrote that “Say Anything is one of those rare movies that has something to teach us about life… That such intelligence could be contained in a movie that is simultaneously so funny and so entertaining is some kind of a miracle.”
New to the Athenaeum’s YA Corner is the 1985 teen film phenomenon from John Hughes, The Breakfast Club. From the film’s opening:
Saturday…March 24, 1984. Shermer High School, Shermer, Illinois. 60062. Dear Mr. Vernon… we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was that we did wrong, what we did was wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make us write this essay telling you who we think we are, what do you care? You see us as you want to see us…in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athelete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That’s the way we saw each other at seven o’clock this morning. We were brainwashed…
New to the Athenaeum’s YA corner is the highly acclaimed Hoop Dreams. From Top Documentary Films:
This much-celebrated documentary from 1994 follows the life of William Gates and Arthur Agee, two young Chicago basketball players who share the familiar dream of college scholarships and eventual NBA stardom. Pruned from 250 hours of footage, the riveting 3-hour film spans five years in the lives of these young black men, starting as they prepare to enter St. Joseph’s, the predominantly white Catholic high school that helped shape NBA legend Isiah Thomas.
Examining the pressures and the incredibly long odds facing even créme-de-la-créme athletes, director Steve James artfully balances the triumphs and suspense with pathos — including Arthur Agee’s return to a high school in the inner city. Although there’s more than enough exciting basketball footage, James and his cowriter Frederick Marx, capture their most dramatic moments in Gates and Agee’s off-the-court experiences.
For anyone lured by the extraordinary highs of the sporting life, Hoop Dreams emphasizes that the lows can be just as significant. It’s easy to see why this remarkable film provoked a huge outcry when it failed to receive an Academy Award nomination in the Documentary category: No other film has ever explored this triumphant and heartaching court of dreams…
Despite the Oscar snub, Hoop Dreams has received a multitude of awards, and was named the best documentary of all time by the International Documentary Association.
New to the Athenaeum YA collection is Clueless, the 1995 teen comedy based on Jane Austen’s Emma. From Rotten Tomatoes:
Jane Austen might never have imagined that her 1816 novel Emma could be turned into a fresh and satirical look at ultra-rich teenagers in a Beverly Hills high school. Cher (Alicia Silverstone) and Dionne (Stacey Dash), both named after “great singers of the past that now do infomercials,” are pampered upper-class girls who care less about getting good grades than wearing the right clothes and being as popular as possible. But Cher, who lives with her tough yet warm-hearted lawyer dad (Dan Hedaya) and hunky, sensitive stepbrother (Paul Rudd), also has an innate urge to help those less fortunate — like the two introverted teachers she brings together (“negotiating” herself improved grades in the process) and new friend Tai (Brittany Murphy), who starts out a geek and ends up a Cher prodigy. Cher also possesses her own sensitive side, and she is looking for the perfect boyfriend, whom she ends up finding where she least expected.