The Voting Booth
by Brandy Colbert
Published by Disney-Hyperion
Released on July 7, 2020
Young Adult – Contemporary – Romance
From Stonewall Award-winning author Brandy Colbert comes an all-in-one-day love story perfect for fans of The Sun is Also A Star.
Marva Sheridan was born ready for this day. She’s always been driven to make a difference in the world, and what better way than to vote in her first election?
Duke Crenshaw is do done with this election. He just wants to get voting over with so he can prepare for his band’s first paying gig tonight.
Only problem? Duke can’t vote.
When Marva sees Duke turned away from their polling place, she takes it upon herself to make sure his vote is counted. She hasn’t spent months doorbelling and registering voters just to see someone denied their right. And that’s how their whirlwind day begins, rushing from precinct to precinct, cutting school, waiting in endless lines, turned away time and again, trying to do one simple thing: vote. They may have started out as strangers, but as Duke and Marva team up to beat a rigged system (and find Marva’s missing cat), it’s clear that there’s more to their connection than a shared mission for democracy.
Romantic and triumphant, The Voting Booth is proof that you can’t sit around waiting for the world to change, but some things are just meant to be.
Brandy Colbert is the award-winning author of several books for children and teens, including The Only Black Girls in Town, The Revolution of Birdie Randolph, Stonewall Book Award winner Little & Lion, and the forthcoming The Voting Booth. She is co-writer of Misty Copeland’s Life in Motion young readers edition, and her short fiction and essays have been published in a variety of critically acclaimed anthologies for young people. Her books have been chosen as Junior Library Guild selections, and have appeared on many best of lists, including the American Library Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults and Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. She is on faculty at Hamline University’s MFA program in writing for children, and lives in Los Angeles.
Oh.. my… GOSH! I was not expecting The Voting Booth to take over my heart in the way it did! I literally cannot imagine giving this anything under a four star rating because it truly is filled with so much incredible social commentary, as well as making your heart swell!
To start off, the entire book takes place over the course of a day – November 3rd, or better yet known as Election Day here in the United States. Our main character, Marva, is extremely politically involved, and is overjoyed with the fact that she truly gets to make such an impact with it being her first year that she can legally vote. Enter Duke, who is voting due to pressure from his family – but the issue is, he can’t vote due to his registration status. And here is where the story takes off. Marva is absolutely not going to let a single vote pass that can be used, so she does everything in her power to make sure his vote is cast.
I find that one-day books tend to be hit or misses with me because there is only so much character development you can create in a day – but Colbert does it! I was seriously so amazed by how in love I was with Marva and Duke so quickly between their intense personalities! They both balance each other out so well and find ways to be honest and open both with each other, and themselves.
The conversation about being Black in a world dominated with bigotry, classism, and racism is done extremely well (to no one’s surprise). Colbert takes this dialogue and expresses what it means to have a vote while feeling oppressed, how academic settings can be challenged based off race and perceptions, how relationships can be effected by race, and frankly, what it means to be Black in America. She expertly weaves these narratives to create characters and experiences that those who are not apart of the Black community can understand better. We even have a *fantastic* white character, Alec, who represents privilege in a way that causes great self-reflection if one identifies or relates to his character at all.
Once you add the next generation, Marva and Duke’s parents create a new meaning to this dialogue. Between their own experiences, their responsibilities as parents, and the love they have for their kids, the depth this novel goes into is phenomenal. Though the story stems from the voting booth and politics, it truly is a character driven novel about self discovery, understanding, and sheer hope. Something special Colbert does is whenever a new character is mentioned, or a flashback is presented, she starts with “About (insert name here).” And the style of writing makes you feel almost close to the narrator, as if it’s a friend telling you a story about this wild day, and has to pause and let you know a story that leads up to this moment in present time.
To save myself from yelling about this book from the rooftops, please go pick this up! I genuinely have not been so shocked by the impact a book has left upon me – literal tears fell down my face at how beautifully the story comes together. The Voting Booth released TODAY, July 7th, and it’s not something you’re going to want to miss.