Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Song Below Water (A Song Below Water, #1)” as Want to Read:
A Song Below Water (A Song Below Water, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Song Below Water

(A Song Below Water #1)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  10,241 ratings  ·  2,551 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. 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 secret ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 2nd 2020 by Tor Teen
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Song Below Water, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,241 ratings  ·  2,551 reviews

Sort order
Start your review of A Song Below Water (A Song Below Water, #1)
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.75 really really enjoyed this!
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)
Jul 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: black-author
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
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
Apparently, a book can sound really good, but still not be fun to read?

Doesn't seem fair but what do I know.

Clearly I am not in charge of the world's affairs, because if I were everyone's sleep schedule would be shifter 4 hours later and work weeks would be shorter and cookies that are chewy on the inside with crispy edges would be significantly more readily available.

Instead, here we are. In hell.

Anyway, this book just launches you in, which I like, due to I Think Everything Is Boring And There
Elle (ellexamines)
I loved this. I actually adored this. Everything about this fantasy commentary on misogynoir just hit exactly at the mark, and I devoured it in two days out of sheer enjoyment. I know I’ll keep Tavvia and Effie with me for a long, long time.

A Song Below Water follows sisters Tavia and Effie, the former of whom is a siren—a magical metaphor for misogynoir—and the latter of whom might be cursed.

This fast-paced YA fantasy novel has a fantastically creative premise, but the execution doesn’t take
A really fabulous idea, lots of potential but awkward execution. For a book that is ostensibly about Tavia, a young woman recently relocated from LA to Portland, and her bestie, Effie, there’s an awful lot here that has nothing to do with plot. Tavia is a siren, a non-mythical but closeted species (?) and Effie is her bestie who is wrestling with demons of her own. Narrative is first person and trades back and forth between the two as they go from their shared home with Tavia’s parents, their hi ...more
megs_bookrack ((is traveling for turkey))
**3.5-stars rounded up**

Tavia live in Portland, Oregon, where due to fear and discrimination against Sirens, she is forced to hide the fact that she is one.

As you can imagine, navigating the world repressing her true-self presents a lot of challenges for her. It can be frustrating and often feels like the world is closing in on her.

Tavia's best friend, Effie, was taken in by Tavia's parents after suffering through some tough times of her own.

Since then, the girls have come to rely upon one anoth
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
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
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
destiny ♡ howling libraries
A Black siren living in Portland. Holy shit. Want.
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
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
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
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Oct 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
“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
Avani ✨
Nov 24, 2021 rated it it was ok
I was just bored from the start to the end. It took me quite a while to finish this book, going back and forth with audiobook and eBook, because well it was getting difficult to go ahead without the switch.

I was hoping for something better to come after every chapter, but sadly nothing concrete or interesting came along the way in the story.

I don't think so the representation was even done properly. It lacked somewhere, which made me not care about the characters at all.

The plot did not have any
may ➹
Mar 10, 2018 marked it as to-read
why does this sound SO GOOD
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
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.
Pine tree leaf stick
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
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!
Kathryn S (Metaphors and Miscellanea)
Jun 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
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
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
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
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.
i am in love with these women
extremely relevant to current events and extremely relatable for me as a young black girl
recommend with my whole heart
🌿review to come 🌿
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Heartstopper: Volume One (Heartstopper, #1)
  • Não Me Dê Flores!
  • Déclaration de guerre (Victoire-Divine, #1)
  • RoomHate
  • Egomaniac
  • Big Mushy Happy Lump (Sarah's Scribbles, #2)
  • The Library of Lost Things
  • Children of Virtue and Vengeance (Legacy of Orïsha, #2)
  • Tiny Imperfections
  • The Grace Year
  • The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves, #2)
  • The Lost Boy
  • Goliath
  • The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek
  • Paper Girls, Volume 6
  • Mr. Dickens and His Carol
  • This Song Will Save Your Life
  • Free the Darkness (King's Dark Tidings, #1)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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

Other books in the series

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

Articles featuring this book

For her debut novel, author Tracy Deonn took on the task of reimagining the legend of King Arthur with a modern-day Black teenage girl at its...
131 likes · 17 comments
“I'm not a monster because I live in a world that gives me impossible choices.” 17 likes
“We should all speak like sirens. Use our voices to make a difference, because all of them matter.” 10 likes
More quotes…