Scythe Declared CRLS’ 2023 Summer Reading Book


Jacob Simon

Students bonded over shared interests and fun activities all night.

Esther Fu and Stella Guest

On Friday, March 31st, the second annual CRLS Read-a-Thon kicked off bright and early at 8:00 AM as 80 students piled into the library, gearing up for the next 16 hours of books, food, and fun. By midnight, these students were to decide on a summer reading book for the CRLS community from a pre-chosen list.

The nine pre-selected books were diverse in their genres, ranging from Japanese graphic novels to murder mysteries to books about female Brazilian soccer players. Within the first hour, one was immediately eliminated via a democratic vote, and the rest were read by one of the sixteen groups and then eliminated bracket-style until there was a winner.

Contrary to popular belief, participants engaged in various activities throughout the day apart from reading. From discussions and heated debates regarding which book was most appropriate for the CRLS community to a live musical performance by the HONK band, the 16 hours went by seamlessly for many attendees. Mubarak Ware ’23, a participant, tells the Register Forum, “It felt well-paced and all the events weren’t too overbearing, even the dance parties and the musical chairs. Everything tied well with each other.” 

The 16 hours went by seamlessly for many attendees.

CRLS library teacher Ms. Emily Houston, who took a role in planning the Read-a-Thon, emphasizes the significance of student input to the Register Forum, “The main goal really is to let students lead in the choice of the book, and for them to have opportunities to read and [build] community.” Students such as Calvin Lewis ’25 corroborated how student input was instrumental at this year’s Read-a-Thon to the Register Forum, adding, “Students who put in the time before the Read-a-Thon in the committee had been given a list of student-recommended books to read and the eventual list was mainly derived from student choices.”

Throughout this experience, however, students not only chose a book for their community, but also fostered relationships with their peers. Ware recalled to the Register Forum, “I liked talking with my group members. It was nice bonding with other people who are like-minded and enjoyed reading.” Other students shared similar sentiments about the Read-a-Thon; Ana Cardona ’24 described to the Register Forum that, “the second half was definitely more fun once everyone got more comfortable with their groups.” However, Cora Smilack ’25 felt that “it was really good, but the last hour was too dragged out. Everyone could have gone home at 11 and still have done all of the same things.”

As the clock struck midnight, a special guest made an appearance: the one and only Principal Damon Smith. After much consideration, the votes were finally in. All 80 attendees gathered around with anticipation to learn which of the books would be the winner. The participants narrowed the original nine to two: Nothing More to Tell and Scythe. In a close final vote, Mr. Smith announced that Neal Shusterman’s dystopian novel Scythe would take the title of CRLS’s 2023 summer reading book.

As the year comes to a close, all members of the CRLS community will receive a free copy of Scythe to read over the summer. Ware hopes that “[members of CRLS will take] away lessons and morals from the book.” 

This article also appears in our April 2023 print edition.