THE VOTING BOOTH by Brandy Colbert is a timely and engaging novel about civic duty, race, and activism. Marva is passionate about politics and has been waiting for this day forever — Election Day! It’s a presidential election year and it will be her first time voting. She spent the past year registering voters and preparing for this election. So, when Marva sees Duke turned away from voting at her polling location before school, she springs into action to ensure that Duke is able to cast his ballot. Their day together is spent traveling around town, waiting in lines, dealing with registration mishaps, and finding it incredibly difficult to do something that shouldn’t be so difficult to do: vote.
I’m a sucker for stories that take place over the course of an entire day; but, it isn’t always an easy thing to pull off. Brandy Colbert does a fantastic job, drawing readers into Marva’s story and the frenetic pacing of her day. Chapters alternate first person narration between Marva and Duke, which highlight specific issues and personal experiences they each share during the day. Additionally, the subplot of Marva’s relationship with her white boyfriend helps facilitate a larger conversation about privilege and choosing not to vote. The writing tackles topics like grief, being Black in America, interracial relationships, and moving on after high school – and these are handled with honesty, wit, and characters who are incredibly likable. It’s impossible not to cheer for Marva and Duke during their crazy Election Day.
In a presidential election year, and especially a year in which social justice and voting rights are at the forefront, this is an important addition to the contemporary YA world. Readers, especially those newly at (or approaching) voting age, will enjoy this thoughtful story as they consider larger issues in the world around them and in their own communities.
Suggested Reading Age: Grades 9+ | Disney-Hyperion | 304 pg. | July 7, 2020 |
Source: Digital ARC provided by Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley.
“Change takes time. And patience. And … a willingness to listen to people we may not understand.”