So many books, so little time: Kado’s top 2 picks

Julia Kado '24, Web Editor


For many students, spring is a bustling season. With AP weeks, early finals for seniors and other impending events, it’s difficult to find time to pick up a book. However, many amazing hidden gems come in the form of quicker reads. Often, some will shortsightedly think that shorter books are of worse quality, or that they don’t “count” towards reading goals.

I beg to differ. I believe that any format, length, or category of book is reading. Though I support challenging yourself with reading— which includes healthy, reasonable goals—comparing yourself to others or evolving it into a competition is unhealthy. It promotes a toxic mindset around a hobby that’s supposed to be fun. With that in mind, here are my top two quick picks that I’ve read thus far this year. Ain’t Burned All the Bright follows a Black teen boy’s perspective throughout 2020, focusing mainly on the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. Though it is a narrative story, each page is a gorgeous piece of mixed-medium art. The words are on white paper, then pasted onto lined paper, which is then printed in the book. Underneath lies gorgeous, metaphorically brilliant art pieces.

Jason Reynolds, who wrote the narrative, did a spectacular job of packing a punch with few words. There’s only about a sentence or two on each of the 384 pages, so it’s remarkable what he was able to do. Jason Griffin, the illustrator, is an artistic genius. Each piece conveyed so much emotion, and that’s saying something. I’m not very experienced in reviewing art, so I can’t even imagine how much more somebody who loves art would adore this book.

The second book is Vinyl Moon, which also has a lovely representation of BIPOC. It follows Angel, who has switched schools due to a horrible past relationship that ended violently. This book records her healing, budding friendships, and everything in between. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and raced through it in less than a day.

Ain’t Burned All the Bright Content Warnings: Covid-19 Pandemic, mentions of Police Brutality
Vinyl Moon Content Warnings: Domestic Abuse, mentioned violence