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 going out of their way to ensure their votes are counted and heard wouldn’t have really been popular, let alone 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 am honestly so thrilled to see that 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. And there are a lot of issues discussed within the pages of this book, many relevant and crucial topics that we find ourselves facing today. And the fact of the matter is that if we are to have any progression and positive change on these issues is that we have to vote to get it.
A day of fighting to have your voice heard.
The Voting Booth follows two characters, black Americans Marva Sheridan and Duke Crenshaw as a chance encounter sends them on a day-long excursion to ensure that Duke is able to exercise his most basic right as a citizen of the United States: voting. Issues like black rights to life and liberty, voter suppression, gun control, abortion, and many more are present within this story. None of it feels like a talking point or 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 for me to say that important issues being discussed in politics today are 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 have said I would be found reading a fictional book about voting and politics and enjoying it, but I’m so thrilled that I now can say so.
Alongside a brilliantly executed center-plot of voter suppression and the struggles one faces to ensure their voice matters is an incredibly touching story about two people sharing an experience. They literally 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 and yet these characters are so brilliantly fleshed out and developed that you 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]I frankly 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 wen’t a little too far in the end, solidifying something that should have remained more of an inclination and a promise of a future to come.
I’ll be the first to admit that 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, considering the characters were fantastic and the rest of the book was pretty excellent, this is really a minor complaint.
I hope this book becomes the inspiration it needs to be.
In the political climate that we face today, books like this are so 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 that The Voting Booth has the possibility to help bring into existence a group of enlightened young adults 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.