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A Song Below Water

(A Song Below Water #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  6,678 ratings  ·  1,883 reviews
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 secre ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 2nd 2020 by Tor Teen
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Popular Answered Questions
Michele Hi there Cris,
I would be interested in hearing the interview with Bethany. I read her book Mem and I'm looking forward to getting into A Song Below Wa…more
Hi there Cris,
I would be interested in hearing the interview with Bethany. I read her book Mem and I'm looking forward to getting into A Song Below Water.
I did not see the link to Full Contact Nerd in your bio, however. Can you provide a more direct way of accessing? Thanks!(less)
Jeremy Harper Good question! The term they're using is "Eloko," and Bethany Morrow took some large (and, I'd argue, effective for her purposes) liberties as she dre…moreGood question! The term they're using is "Eloko," and Bethany Morrow took some large (and, I'd argue, effective for her purposes) liberties as she drew from their mythology to create the mythos in the book.

Here is a wikipedia page, but you can easily find more information by just searching for Eloko:

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,678 ratings  ·  1,883 reviews

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Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.75 really really enjoyed this!
chai ♡
Black sirens in a story about misogynoir set in an alternate Portland with an extremely pretty cover? [smashes my head into that want-to-read button]
Nilufer Ozmekik
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fantasy dances with racism, social justice, current politics: Yes this is volatile and vivid combination and The author perfectly worked with this concoction and created a fast reading, powerful, captivating, one of the most interesting stories with well-crafted and realistic characterization and thought-provoking story-telling.

Two friends: Tavia and Effie supports each other to survive at the metaphorical, wild jungle, dealing with too many things in their young age, family issues, past dramas,
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
"i hear the water. i hear its song, the way it sings to itself and anybody who comes below to hear it. i love the way it never changes, and the way i'm always different when i'm here."

i really loved this book!! it definitely reads more contemporary than fantasy but i loved the blend of the two. it explores important contemporary issues like racism, police brutality and fighting for justice and also has some really cool fantasy elements. it was raw, painful, hopeful, funny & powerful. i also
myo (myonna reads)
this book is not about black girls who are sirens. this is about being black whilst being sirens. it doesn’t focus on being siren as much as it does being black. i started off this book really enjoying it, especially because of the talk about black hair.

i know it’s a silly thing to be happy about but seeing characters with black hair and then talk about box braids or twist outs even in the smallest context made me so happy. but i think as the story went on the pacing of the book was very slow a
C.G. Drews
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was such an ethereal and fresh magical realism story. Like all I really need to say is it's about two sisters (not by birth, but by heart) who are absolutely everything to each other. One is a siren. One is...something else. They're Black, they're hurting, they're longing to be themselves and not have to hide. The story is so beautiful, and also raw with pain. It was sobering reading the scene where they go to the protest because I read this as the June 2020 Black Live Matter protests were ...more
Okay so this book is definitely more like a 3.75 and I think that the purpose behind the book is the only thing that is keeping it that high. I have some complicated feelings towards this book because it presents some important themes, but attempts to do it in too short of a period of time.

A Song Below Water has been pitched a tale in which only black women can be sirens who are also forced to refrain from using their voices (do you see where this is going?) It highlights the differences betwee
Jun 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-fantasy
First of all this cover is GORGEOUS!
Also any siren/ mermaid story I am immediately drawn to so I was very excited for this read!
I did really enjoy this book & how it weaved fantastical elements, social commentary and friendship all in one. This book talks a lot about the Black Lives Matter movement which was amazing.
What lost me in this book were the fantastical elements, I was confused for the better portion of this book with keeping up with the many different mythos creatures.
The friendshi
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"A Song Below Water" is basically the fantasy version of "The Hate U Give" and I love it.

This book has diversity, racism, protests basically, most of the things "The Hate U Give" has, but make it a fantasy book with sirens.

In "A Song Below Water" sirens are feared, due to their voice/singing. Sirens are in hiding, pretending to be humans, and they don't want to be caught as sirens. Why? Because if they are caught, they will be collared, meaning they can't sing anymore.

"A Song Below Water" has
Lilith Black Bee
Jun 07, 2020 rated it liked it
BLOG *** TWITTER *** WHISHLIST *** Get 2 months of free books HERE

E-ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own and are not affected in any way.

Actual rating: 2.5 ⭐

• Extremely relevant to our times. Talking about racism and how black women are treated and seen by our society, it is so relevant to our days! We have a place in the front row and we can see how certain things are intentionally mishandled against
Toya (the reading chemist)
DNF at 35%.

It severely pains me to have to DNF this one since a story about black sirens sounded like a dream come true.

This book doesn’t read like a fantasy. Rather, the story reads like a contemporary novel because the author tackles a myriad of issues including racism and social injustice. Normally, I welcome this, but it felt like the story was merely a platform to highlight the oppression of black women without compelling characters and a cohesive plot.

Additionally, if someone is not used
A Song Below Water is a beautifully imaginative novel that touches on so many issues, but focuses on what it's like to be Black in the United States.

Tavia and Effie are sisters, but not by blood. They live together, go to the same school, and are the closest of friends. Effie has never met her father, and her mother died when she was young. After an incident where she was the sole survivor of an accident at a park, Effie knows what it's like to be thrust into the spotlight. Tavia is a siren. Sh
Ms. Woc Reader
May 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
This cover made this book one of my most anticipated reads this year so of course I did whatever I could to get my hands on an early copy. Thanks, Tor Teen.

I really thought I would breeze through this book in like 3/4 days. I played myself with that line of thinking because between the slow pace of this story and the humidity of the holiday weekend that definitely didn't happen.

Don't let the blurb fool ya this is not a story about Black mermaids. And sirens and mermaids are very different in th
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Oct 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
“I'm not a monster because I live in a world that gives me impossible choices.”

representation: own voices Black MC's, Latinx side character, use of sign language.

[trigger warnings are listed at the bottom of this review and may contain spoilers]


Wow, it was quite eerie reading this because even though it's a fantastical story, it's so deeply rooted in what's happening in the world re the Black Lives Matter movement. I loved the themes of sisterhood and that, at the core of the story, it
rachel ☾
quick thoughts:

of all the books to be disappointed by, i really didn't think this would be the one.

the sisterhood. i'm a sucker for family in books, and Effie & Tavia's sisterly relationship was a big focus of this story. also, the emphasis on bond > blood was perfect.
the premise & themes. the idea of using mythological creatures as a metaphor for misogynoir worked so well, especially how siren powers were used to justify Black women being silenced. it did a good job of exploring sexism
S.A. Chakraborty
Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. The audio book version was entrancing and I loved, loved LOVED the focus on sisterhood and family. And the ending! I was trying to guess what someone might "be" the entire time and the answer was so much neater than I could have imagined. ...more
may ➹
Mar 10, 2018 marked it as to-read
why does this sound SO GOOD
MissBecka Gee
This book is so f*cked up.
It's a story about friendship with are all kinds of cool mythical creatures.
I did the audio and I think this would be even better in print.
Party Poison
Feb 17, 2021 marked it as to-read
Shelves: not-owned
I'm down for anything with sirens, so here I am, adding this to my never ending TBR. ...more
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I genuinely didn’t know what to expect going into this, I’m not going to lie I thought it was a lot more fantasy based but it’s more Magical Realism (still great though!)

Picking this up as of right now with what’s going on in the world I found it SO important with different aspects (excluding the “magical elements”). It really made me think, and I felt so much sadness and anger at certain parts.

I also have so much cover love for this. I mean just look at it!
Lea (drumsofautumn)
my booksragram picture of the cover on ipad

A Song Below Water is a very interesting look at misogynoir and presents its themes in an incredibly powerful way but sadly lacks any sort of world building for the fantastic elements within this book.

“I'm not a monster because I live in a world that gives me impossible choices.”

I feel like there is this impulse to say “this book is very timely” but really, this book only shows that it is something that is ALWAYS timely, outside from the “trends” and whose death by police brutality i
Sep 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads
can we all please acknowledge just how relevant this book is? we need more literature out there that empowers black women and centres around sisterhood.

please, please give this a try. I cannot recommend it enough.

review to come
ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
Finished on Audiobook loaned from my local library.

November 3rd, 2020:

Can you tell I was pulling my hair out on election night? Can ya?

My library finally got the audio for this and I decided to strike this DNF off my record.
Unfortunately, it didn't really change my mind.

While I think the matters addressed in this book are so important, so deserving of the spotlight, and I often found myself wishing I could hug Tav and Effie out of pure frustration and
Kathryn Speckels (Metaphors and Miscellanea)
3.5/5 stars, rounded up because this is really a socially relevant book and is thematically important. Were it not for that element, I would definitely have rounded down or rated it lower altogether.

First, I want to make something abundantly clear: this is a tremendously important book. It deals with lots of major issues that the Black community is currently facing, and has been facing for a long time, and it uses a highly unique premise (some very literal Black Girl Magic) to convey those ideas
Elle (ellexamines)
this is a contemporary fantasy about misogynoir, and though I'd like to know more, I recently read a book by this author, MEM, and loved it so much. I am totally excited to see more.  ...more
Heidi Heilig
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A rich, intricate dive into mythology, misogynoir, and the way the world makes black girls out to be monsters. Like the siren's song, A SONG BELOW WATER is irresistibly compelling. ...more
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
Set in an alternate Portland filled with sirens, mermaids and other mystical creatures, A Song Below Water tackles a lot when it comes to being a young Black girl - who is secretly hiding her identity as a siren, a group that is persecuted due to their dangerous power. Tavia has tried to keep her siren voice under wraps for her whole life, for fear of what may happen if people find out - but she's finding it increasingly hard during racial tensions following the death of yet another Black girl.

˗ˏˋ aphrodite ˊˎ˗
2.5/5 stars

I’m so sad about this one.

the major thing about this book was I never really understood the world & the mythos. I feel like it’s an awkward middle point between fabulism & fantasy where the mythical creatures were there to symbolize the fight for equal freedoms/liberties by minorities in our world but it was never fully explained how this society functioned with these different creatures. this is a main critique I have with urban fantasy in general but this book especially suffered f
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

most of the time I can’t even get into fantasy but this sucked me in from the beginning. Not only is it super Black, but super Black girl gaze. I felt so seen and it’s about sirens???? Idk I didn’t find the world building ridiculous and I loved that it made statements about misogynoir and the lives of Black women. And it’s so readable — I’m half asleep but had to stay up to finish this. It’s amazing.
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A somewhat-recovering expat living in the American Northeast (with one foot still firmly planted in Quebec), Bethany C Morrow writes speculative fiction for both the adult and the young adult market.

Her adult debut, MEM, was an ABA 2018 Indies Introduce pick, and a June Indie Next pick, and was featured/reviewed in: Locus Magazine, the LA Times, Buzzfeed, Book Riot, Bustle, and, among othe

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A Song Below Water (2 books)
  • A Chorus Rises (A Song Below Water, #2)

Articles featuring this book

  Melissa Albert burst onto the YA scene (and catapulted into readers' hearts) with her 2018 debut The Hazel Wood. This darkly fantastical...
100 likes · 4 comments
“I'm not a monster because I live in a world that gives me impossible choices.” 13 likes
“We should all speak like sirens. Use our voices to make a difference, because all of them matter.” 7 likes
More quotes…