Skip to main content

The Voting Booth YA Book Review


The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert
Purchase Through my Bookshop*
Overview: Marva is an activist. She's spent the last 2 years leading up to the 2020 election canvasing, registering people to vote, and being as involved as possible. She's been waiting to vote for the last 4 years. Duke's brother was an activist and community organizer, but he got shot two years ago. Duke doesn't feel his passion, but he definitely knows the importance of showing up to vote. After meeting in line at the polls, Marva becomes tied to Duke as they go through a million different hoops so he can finally cast his ballot. Voting in the US is unnecessarily hard by design. If you've never encountered that, this book makes it abundantly clear. Overall: 3.5

Characters: 3 I liked Duke and Marva, I just didn't feel like they got particularly well developed. We know things about them. There's about five major pieces of both of them that we hear about but don't get too deep into actually exploring. It's understandable because the book is plot heavy and takes place over a single day, but there was a lot of telling as far as the characters go. Marva was a bit more dimensional, I think because we got more glimpses into her truly unfiltered thoughts.
Honestly, the characters I loved most were probably Duke's siblings, his older brother Julian and his younger sister, Ida. Julian died in a drive by shooting two years ago, but before that, he and Duke were super close. We see glimpses of the way that Julian has influenced Duke, and we get a couple anecdotes about who he was. I think Julian, and Ida too, shine so much in a short period of time because they have so much passion- Marva too. Duke, Alec, and other minor character just aren't given enough time to breath on the page to genuinely show who they are.
I wish there had been a bit more time on the character development end, but it wasn't a dealbreaker for the book.

Plot: 4 It's crazy that the way our voting works is so messed up that it easily creates the plot of a scavenger hunt like novel. Every obstacle that Marva and Duke face are ones that voters, especially in areas with high minority populations, encounter every November 3rd. And it's only getting harder.
Beyond the problems at the polls, there are also subplots about a break up, a missing cat, and getting to a gig Duke's band is playing that night. None of these really added to the story for me. I think because none of them were built up enough to get me to care about them, honestly. The stakes of being able to vote are weighty and easy to get invested in, but none of the other ones captured me. They felt like they were there to take up time between moving through the voting process.

Writing: 4 This book is a fast read. It's the first book I read in one day in a very long time. It passed so quickly, I was shocked that I'd read as much as I had. There's a levity in the writing and a straightforward path through the day that makes it easy to work through quickly, but there are still tons of important conversations that feel particularly relevant to the moment. I always find it amazing when books perfectly speak to the current moment, but these have also been problems for generations. Hopefully, we can finally address some of these major issues and start making progress.
I'm glad that so many different conversations were addressed in the book because I feel like teens are often only starting to realize important issues as they start reading YA because, until 13 or so, a lot of what you know is dictated by the adults in your life. It's so important for teens to start developing their own beliefs and widening their worldview.
I thought that the running conversation about the importance of voting was of paramount importance. So many people talk about not voting because they don't like either candidate, but not voting is both a privilege and still a vote. You cannot remove yourself from the equation. Marva also drives home the point that not having politics directly effect your life is an immense privilege. Most people don't have that luxury, so it's extra insulting and frustrating when people don't use their privilege to help those who have less power than they do.
For all the holes I mentioned in plot and characters, there were so many scenes that stuck with me. Small conversations hold a lot of weight, and those moments made the book worth reading. If you like cute rom-com type stories with a topical twist, you'll enjoy this book. It's also great as a light, quick read to get out of a reading slump.

More Like This...
Running

New On YouTube:
More Than Maybe Playlist

Links of Interest:
Today, Tonight Tomorrow
Into YA with Lyla Lee
Louis Tomlinson's Walls Meets YA
I Killed Zoe Spanos

Buy The Voting Booth Through My Bookshop
*This is an affiliate link which means that I may get a small commission on the sale at no price to you. This would go a long way to keeping the blog running well into the future.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Halsey's I Would Leave Me If I Could Poetry Review

  I Would Leave Me If I Could  by Halsey  I've started this review a couple times and scrapped all of them. I've written hundreds of reviews before, and this is the first time I have absolutely no clue how to review a book. It's not just because it's poetry. And it's not because I don't have thoughts on every single poem. I've read the book twice and scrubbed a million notes around her words and highlighted every poem on my second read through. I have so many favorites, and my heart feels like it's going to burst after finishing each poem. Halsey exceeded every expectation I had set to the high bar of her music. I almost feel like this book is too good for my review to remotely do it justice, so I don't even know where to begin.  This book is extremely vulnerable. Halsey has never held back on telling the ugly truth in her lyrics, but the poetry takes it so much farther. She has space to tell the entire story, fewer constraints than what will fit in

Blog Tour Stop: Like Home by Louisa Onomé

  Today, I want to shine the spotlight on Like Home by Louisa Onomé, which came out this week. That means you don't even have to wait to pick up a copy of your very own. Thank you to Turn the Pages Tours and Penguin/Delacorte Press for arranging this. So let's get into what this latest YA is all about! Synopsis: Fans of Netflix’s On My Block, In the Heights, and readers of Elizabeth Acevedo and Ibi Zoboi will love this debut novel about a girl whose life is turned upside down after one local act of vandalism throws her relationships and even her neighborhood into turmoil. Chinelo, or Nelo as her best friend Kate calls her, is all about her neighborhood Ginger East. She loves its chill vibe, ride-or-die sense of community, and her memories of growing up there. Ginger East isn’t what it used to be, though. After a deadly incident at the local arcade, all her closest friends moved away, except for Kate. But as long as they have each other, Nelo’s good. Only, Kate’s parents’ corne

YA You Need To Read: April 2021

It's already April! School has been super super hectic, and I'm starting my old job as a bookseller again, so I haven't had much time for reading lately (ironic, I know), but I did want to talk about some books coming out in April that I can't wait to read (one day) that might inspire you to pick them up. I particularly can't wait for My Epic Spring Break Up! It's been on my list for a while now (I mean, look at that cover), but I also found some new books that hadn't been on my radar while browsing around the internet that I wanted to bring to your attention.  Let me know in the comments what April books you can't wait for!  Zara Hossain Is Here by Sabina Kahn  April 6th Zara has lived in Corpus Christi, Texas for a while. She's always dealt with the Islamophobia that's rampant in her high school, but when the star football player gets suspended, Zara becomes the target of a racist attack by the rest of the team that puts her and her family'

Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi: YA Book Review

  Yolk  by Mary H.K. Choi Overview: Jayne is in fashion school in NYC. Well, she's enrolled. It's debatable how often she actually attends. June has a fancy job in finance, or that's what everyone thinks. But when June gets cancer, the estranged sisters are pulled together because June needs Jayne's identity to get treatment. By pretending to be her sister to get the life-saving procedure, June is forced to come clean and pull Jayne back into her orbit. Though their relationship stays rocky, they're suddenly glued together, forced to admit that their respective glamorous lives are actually filled with roaches and trauma and missteps. Overall: 5+++ This book made me happy cry (that's never happened while reading) and sad cry. Characters: 5 The book is told from Jayne's perspective in an extremely close first person. This book has plot. Things happen in the way that life happens, but it's mostly just characters getting split open and probed for all their w

Swimming Lessons By Lili Reinhart Poetry Review

  Swimming Lessons  by Lili Reinhart  Overall: 5 This is the first poetry book I've ever read in its entirety outside of Shel Silverstein, so I've checked off one of my reading goals for the year with this one. I've now read a graphic novel and a book of poetry. I've been anticipating Swimming Lessons  so long that I can't believe it's actually in my hands. I've been a fan of Lili since Riverdale, and I've continued to be a fan of hers even when the show got a bit too ridiculous for me to keep watching every week. I've been excited for the chance to get to see something completely created a controlled by Lili.  I'm not sure what I expected from Swimming Lessons . I think I had almost no idea what it would be like or the topics it would cover. After the first couple poems, I was completely hooked. In the intro, Lili prefaces the collection by noting that poetry has always given her solace in knowing other people felt the same specific emotions tha

They Both Die At The End

They Both Die At The End  by Adam Silvera (368 pages) Overview: Mateo and Rufus are both going to die at the end, but I'm guessing you got that from the title. The thing is, Mateo and Rufus don't know each other till the day they are going to die. After getting their calls from Death Cast, the new organization that lets everyone know that they are going to die with a call sometime after midnight. While trying to digest the news, they both turn their attention to the Last Friend app in search of finding another "decker" to spend their final day with. As the boys try to think of ways not to waste their final moments, they start to form a bond they never anticipated. Overall: 4 Characters: 4 I have to applaud Silvera for keeping his (mostly) duel prospective narrative voices so separate. Mateo and Rufus not only have different traits but totally different dialects. Mateo is Puerto Rican, quiet, and totally paranoid with a hyperawareness about safe. Both careful an

Writing Morally Gray Characters: A Guest Post by Laurie Devore, Author of A Better Bad Idea

Laurie Devore is stopping by the blog today to talk about her new book from Imprint, A Better Bad Idea , which is out now! This mystery/thriller/romance fusion is Laurie's third book, and it's a new twist on her usual contemporary YA stories. For this guest post, Laurie talks about crafting morally gray characters that your readers will still feel attached to and cheer on. Here's her best writing tips:  I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of what people will do when they’re pushed to their brink. While my new novel, A BETTER BAD IDEA, may seem like a departure in some ways from my previous novels, I actually think their DNA is quite similar. The stakes are higher, but as ever, this book is about girls making unimaginable choices because of their circumstances, whether self-inflicted or not.   I’m constantly thinking about what it means to write morally gray characters, and I think the main takeaway from me is that I’m just much more interested in what people do and w

Fear of Missing Out

Fear of Missing Out  by Kate McGovern  Overview: Astrid has a form of brain cancer called astrocytoma that causes a star shaped tumor to form near her brainstem. Though she was in remission, two years later, the cancer comes back, and Astrid becomes convinced that she won't beat the disease. She starts to pursue options that will allow her to have a life in the future, namely, cryopreservation. After essentially freezing her body, she hopes to wake up when there's a cure for her cancer so she can rejoin the world and see some of the milestones she fears missing. On the road trip to tour the Arizona facility, though, Astrid makes other realizations about her life and eventual death that alters how she sees her original plan. Overall: 4  Characters: 4 Astrid is relatable. She has a touch of dry, witty humor that makes her relatable. She loves her friends and family deeply, but she also has a conviction to follow what feels best for her. I appreciated how she always tried t

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon: Romance Review

  The Ex Talk  by Rachel Lynn Solomon Overview: Shay Goldstein was born to be on public radio. She used to pretend to host a radio show with her dad when she was a little kid, and she was crushed when he passed away. Now that she's getting ready for her first hosting gig, Shay feels like she's making him proud. Well... mostly proud. He always loved the truth that radio brought out and her new show is built on a little white lie- the idea that she used to date her co-host Dominic Yun. Though they bicker like exes, they never actually dated (though they might be currently?). As the popularity of the show takes off, all of Shay's dreams are coming true, and she might actually have found her dream guy too. And then everything falls apart. But it's a romance, so I think we all know how this ends. Overall: 5 Perfect for: enemies to lovers fans  Characters: 5 I love Shay and Dominic and their show producer, Ruthie. They're all just great. Shay is super relatable. She's

Perfect on Paper: YA Book Review

  Perfect on Paper  by Sophie Gonzales (2021 Release!) Preorder The Book on Bookshop! Before I get into the review, I'm just so excited to be writing a book review! I hadn't finished a book since the end of September :(. Hopefully that's over now. Anyway... Overview: Darcy is like Hannah Montana. Well, kinda. She's not a secret pop star, but she does have a hidden identity. She's the girl behind Locker 89, home of the best relationship advice in California. Or, at least, at her high school. People drop a letter and $10 in the locker, and Darcy collects them after school when her mom, a teacher there, stays late. This goes perfectly until Brougham catches her. While it's a minor disaster, he has a fascinating Australian accent and some traces of charm, and he ropes Darcy into giving him personal relationship coaching to win back his ex-girlfriend. But maybe he doesn't want his ex-girlfriend back after all? And maybe Darcy could get over her painful crush on h