Review: A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

A Song Below Water (A Song Below Water #1)
Bethany C. Morrow
Tor Teen
Published June 2, 2020

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About A Song Below Water

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. Nevermind 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.

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My Review

I kind of feel like the cover copy sells this story a bit short. It’s told from both Effie and Tavia’s perspectives, which I loved. A lot of the story has to do with figuring out some of the things Effie is experiencing, which isn’t mentioned at all in the copy.

The characters in general hooked me into the story. Effie’s relationship with her grandparents. Tavia’s relationship with her dad. The boy at the pool. Tavia’s friends in choir. Effie’s partner at the faire. They all made the story so rich and interesting. Both Effie and Tavia felt like unique characters, too, with different voices, but they also felt deeply connected by their relationship.

A SONG BELOW WATER is one of those books that might start off a little slow, but it’s not long before the tension starts building pretty high. The story stays centered around Tavia and Effie, following them as they learn to use their voices and find confidence in who they are. This book drew me right in, and I desperately needed to know what was going to happen.

I think I bought a copy of this book the year it came out, but it took me a long time to finally get to it. I’m absolutely sure I will read more by Bethany C. Morrow. It looks like the second book in the series, A CHORUS RISES, came out in 2021, and follows one of the side characters from this book. I definitely have to check it out!

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Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Tavia and Effie are Black. Other minor characters are Black or Latinx.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl.

Spiritual Content
Some characters are supernatural. Tavia is a siren. Sprites make mischief, stealing items or causing mayhem. A gargoyle appears to be guarding a siren.

Violent Content
Tavia follows a news story about a woman who was murdered. No details about how the murder happened. Four of Effie’s friends turned to stone while playing in a park when she was ten. Tavia and Effie attend a political protest that turns violent when people begin attacking protestors.

Drug Content

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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