A Song Below Water

 
Author: Bethany C. Morrow
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magical Realism
Pages: 288
Publisher: Tor Teen
Format: E-Arc
Publication Date: August 4, 2020

Book Description

Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either.

-From GoodReads

Review

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

When I saw sirens, I knew I wanted to read this book. There is little more I love than sirens and mermaids and well, I couldn’t resist. So I was so happy when I was given the chance to review this book ahead of publication. I was delighted for it. I really think though, that this book will mean so much more to POC. This I believe, will probably resonate with them. While I don’t face the same issues discussed in this book, I found the read to be wonderful and address many important issues of today.

The Writing & Pacing
The writing was very good. I think that Morrow is a good writer, and that is conveyed through how easy the book is to read. It all flows so well together, and I loved the dialogue. I think it was well done, and it really added to the story. It is also #ownvoices in the topics that it touches on. The pace is a little bit slow at times, but I think that is because some really relevant issues are addressed and the plot and pacing needed to slow down to address them. We get dual POV from both Tavia and Effie, and the voices were distinct, and so that worked really well for me.

The Plot
The plot was mostly character driven in my opinion. Most of the characters were in some way acting or reacting to events in the plot, but the main bulk of the story was about their journey and their introspection. I liked that. I think the combination of magical realism and the relevancy of the topics to today were great plot driving forces for the character arcs.

The Characters
Through Tavia and Effie we are presented with important, real life issues interspersed throughout the book. They’re worked in so well, that everything flows together. You really feel for the both of them as they struggle with their inner selves and the world at large. There is a lot going on in terms of character development and I think this book is really pointed about certain ideas. I don’t want to go into them here, as I feel this book is best experienced by actually reading it, not me just telling you this book does this, this and this. However, it reflects on what is occurring to POC today, and in my opinion, someone who is POC is going to relate to this far more than me, a white girl. I may understand the issues, but I do not live them.

There was a tiny romance subplot, I didn’t love it, and I didn’t hate it. It was there.

The World building
I think the world building was a great concept; and it was interesting too. Especially the parts about the sirens and their relation to being black. Excellent on all levels.

Overall
This was a great book, and one I highly recommend that everyone should pick up and read. There is very little in this book that doesn’t work — and it was an amazing read. I think this is going to resonate with many readers!

Rating

4 star
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