Author: Brandy Colbert
Audience: Young Adult; Grades 8+
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Light Romance
Tags: election, voting, politics, realistic
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ /5
Release Date: 07/07/2020
I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book for free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert is a really cute realistic fiction/ romance perfect for election year!
I went into this book a little unsure of how heavy the story would be. Voting suppression of people of color has a long, violent, horrible history in this country, and so I wasn’t sure what to anticipate. The story ended up being much lighter and fluffier than I’d expected- not necessarily a bad thing!
The Voting Booth centers around the story of Duke, a first-time eligible voter who’s just ready to be done with the election altogether. Unfortunately, the election is not ready to be done with him- he discovers he is unable to cast his vote at the local polling place. For many young voters, this might be where the story ended. Many people will not go to great lengths to cast their ballot if they are met with resistance, and the data suggests this is especially true for young people. But (un)fortunately for Duke, Marva is on the scene. Marva is the classic future-politician teen who takes it upon herself to try and help Duke solve his voting problems. What follows is a romp of a day with two teens on a quest to make one vote count.
I appreciate how Brandy Colbert wove in themes of racism but didn’t make it the key focus of this story, because it is so important to feature realistic fiction in the classroom library that represents people of color in day-to-day stories. I did feel like the romance between the two main characters was perhaps a little rushed, particularly because one of them was already in a relationship when the story began.
I think that this book would make a great addition to any 8th-12th grade classroom library, and my 8th-grade team has selected it as one of our future book club options. Teachers should be aware that there is a scene in which the characters are pulled over by police, as this may be uncomfortable for some students. There are no explicit scenes in this book.