It’s no question that this book is coming at an incredibly telling time. Ten years ago. a book about newly eighteen high schooler’s working to ensure votes are counted wouldn’t have been popular or written in the first place. I remember where I was in my life ten years ago. Myself and a great many of my peers had absolutely no interest in things like politics or voting. I think that just goes to show how poorly taught and unfortunately disillusioned we were. But I’m so thrilled to see books like this are being written, published, and marketed to young adults. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more important trend right now.
Brandy Colbert’s The Voting Booth is an incredible story with some deeply meaningful messages. And at the core of those messages is one simple truth that is imperative for young voices to learn; ensuring your voice is heard within the government of the country you live in is immensely important. There are a lot of issues discussed within this book, many relevant and crucial topics we’re facing today. And the fact of the matter is if we’re to have progression and positive change on these issues is that we have to vote for it.
A day of fighting to have your voice heard.
The Voting Booth follows two characters, black Americans Marva Sheridan and Duke Crenshaw. A chance encounter sends them on a day-long excursion to ensure Duke is able to exercise his most basic right as a citizen: voting. Issues like black rights to life and liberty, voter suppression, gun control, abortion, and many more are present within this story. Amazingly, none of it feels like a talking point. It doesn’t seem as though Colbert is trying to force in as many issues as she can. Instead, everything melds and flows expertly within the confines of the story and the world we are experiencing.
This is something I’ve often found novels have an incredibly difficult time with. It is very rare that I notice important issues being discussed in politics today written seamlessly into a novel. For that, I have to give Colbert a lot of credit. She includes a lot of these and she does it well. Several years ago, I don’t think I could’ve said I’d be found reading a fictional book about voting and politics and enjoying it. I’m so thrilled that I now can say so.
Alongside a brilliantly executed center-plot of voter suppression and struggles to ensure voice matters is an incredibly touching story about people sharing an experience. They spend a single day together, not even a full 24-hours, and you can feel their connection seeping from the pages. It’s such a quick snapshot into their lives, yet these characters are so brilliantly fleshed out and developed. You genuinely feel like you’re watching someone’s real life.
And while I will admit that the romance aspect of this novel was definitely not great—
[spoiler]Frankly, I do not think they should have kissed at all, but rather the novel could have ended brilliantly had they simply ended the story reaching for and holding each other’s hands[/spoiler]
–I definitely loved the connection these two built. I think Colbert went a little too far in the end, solidifying something that should have remained an inclination. It should have been a promise of a future to come, something for readers to speculate about.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m always waiting for the culmination of a relationship at the end of things. I watch a rom-com and I expect the couple to be together and kiss before the end credits roll. But I just don’t feel like that was the right direction for this book. A hopeful promise was all we needed for the perfect ending considering certain aspects of how Marva began the story. Since voting ended on a hopeful note, so too should the relationship.
But, since characters were fantastic and the book was excellent, this is really a minor complaint.
I hope this book becomes the inspiration it needs to be.
In the political climate we face today, books like this are essential to the growth and development of teens today. We need books like this. And I want this book to exist as an inspiration to all who read it. I truly believe The Voting Booth has the potential to help bring into existence a group of enlightened young adults. The chance to grow young minds who genuinely have a possibility to make real and positive change in the world. They can help shape the future of this country and this book is a push in the right direction.
I could not be more thrilled that it exists.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.