The Voting Booth

Stonewall Award-winner Brandy Colbert (Little & Lion) rocks the vote with this sweet, politically minded YA romance about two teens who bond while attempting to cast their first-ever ballots.

Civil-rights-conscious Black high schooler Marva Sheridan has waited her entire life finally to vote and feels betrayed by her white boyfriend's last-minute decision to skip it in protest of the two-party system. Duke Crenshaw, whose father is Black and mother is white, feels obligated to vote in honor of his deceased big brother, Julian, a community activist. When Duke's car breaks down in the parking lot after he goes to the wrong polling place, Marva forcefully steps in to help. Duke is more concerned about his calculus test and drumming gig, but she assures him they have plenty of time. Their day turns into an avalanche of mishaps and surprises involving registration errors, family drama and the disappearance of Eartha Kitty, Marva's Instagram-famous feline. Duke falls hard for passionate, driven Marva, and she begins to appreciate his laid-back charm. However, both will have to address challenges in their personal lives if they want to live democratically ever after.

Colbert gently but thoroughly addresses the strain of grief, the relief of having someone to lean on and the importance of involvement even in an imperfect system. Filled with breezy banter that veers easily into deeper conversations about race, rights and the democratic process, this upbeat love story may inspire civic engagement and dreamy smiles, making it a must-have for high school libraries and romance fans. --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth services manager at Main Branch, Dayton Metro Library

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