Who doesn’t love a meet cute with a healthy dash of civic engagement and an Instagram famous cat? I didn’t even know about the cat until it happened, but I’m so glad I readThe Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert. I’ve heard such good things about her as an author and I know she has a reworking of Little Women coming out in the future, and this book was just a delight to read. While it touches on some heavy topics (aka; death, grief, disenfranchisement) it was overall a really uplifting read that made me really hopeful about the future.
It’s election day for two very different teens in this meet cute/activism story with shades of Nicola Yoon, Angie Thomas, Jason Reynolds, and Renee Watson. Marva has been working diligently the past two years to get people excited about this election, and she’s at the top of the line at her polling place that morning. But as she’s leaving she overhears Duke getting turned away, and she can’t abide disenfranchisement. This moment leads them both on a day-long journey to get Duke’s ballot cast, find a missing internet-famous cat, figure out what’s up with their respective relationships, and learn a lot about themselves and each other along the way. By the time the results start pouring in, neither of them will be the same.
I really enjoyed this book! I love contemporary YA and this was poignant, well-done, thought-provoking, but also just fun. I loved the bits about the missing cat, Selma, I thought the “day long journey” was really compelling, and I loved the side characters—especially the parents. Also, this book is great and well done political engagement without leaning into the “this entire book is about bashing Trump” because it’s not–it’s about the importance of voting and making your voice heard no matter who you’re hoping loses that election. Because she never names Trump or a specific candidate but leans into ongoing debates about voter disenfranchisement, racism, prejudice, and such, I think this book will be a long-lasting hit! I love a good meet cute, I love dual POVs, I love a TASK to complete, and therefore I really enjoyed this book!
The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert is on sale everywhere July 7, 2020.