Title: A Song Below Water
Author: Bethany C. Morrow
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: June 2, 2020
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.
Talia lives with a secret: she’s a siren. She has a powerful voice that can compel people to do things. That makes people think sirens are dangerous. Talia and her family keep her siren identity a secret because of the prejudice against sirens. Talia’s best friend, Effie, has questions about her identity. She blacks out and can’t remember what happened. Effie isn’t sure who she really is, especially since her grandparents don’t have any answers for her. Both girls discover their identities as their secrets are slowly revealed.
Talia and Effie had an extra layer to their identity, with their magical abilities. This makes their intersectional identities more complicated. They were black and female, with magical powers. Race played an important part in this book. There was a murder trial for a black woman, where it was revealed that she was a siren. It ended up being a part of the defence, as a way to justify her murder. There was a protest in this book which reminded me of the protests happening throughout the world this week. The characters had to deal with racism, as well as discrimination against their magical identities.
I loved the fantasy elements of this story. There were sirens and gargoyles. Effie’s background was a mystery that they had to solve. I guessed who she was fairly early on in the story, but I was surprised at the way it was revealed. The fantasy elements added some distance between the race relations in the book and reality, but they were a great way to tell the story.
I really enjoyed this story!
Thank you Tor Teen for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Have you read A Song Below Water? What did you think of it?