Review #168

Title- A Song Below Water

Author- Bethany C. Morrow

Series- “A Chorus Rises” is #2

Rating– 3.8/5

Genre- young adult fantasy yet contemporary

POV- two points of view, alternating first person present tense

Trope- shunned/racism/coming of age

Cover– representative of the genre and eye-catching

Comps– The Hate U Give meets The Darkest Part of the Forest meets Skin of the Sea 


In a society determined to keep her under lock and key, Tavia must hide her siren powers.

Meanwhile, Effie is fighting her own family struggles, pitted against literal demons from her past. Together, these best friends must navigate through the perils of high school’s junior year.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice at the worst possible moment.

Soon, nothing in Portland, Oregon, seems safe. To save themselves from drowning, it’s only Tavia and Effie’s unbreakable sisterhood that proves to be the strongest magic of all.

First chapter-

We are thrown into the water in a world of sirens and a theme of victim vs “she deserved it” which quickly feels like a metaphor for both women and people of color. Tavia is both. Will her date end up like the murdered siren who made the news? Will she stand up for rights? Will she hide and flee? Will she be attacked? What about her best friend, Effie, who plays a mermaid as her career? Let’s see her point of view in the next chapter.

Best part- sirens overall

What I would change- more emotion in the writing style

Setting- high school in general, home, pool community center

Vivid sensory descriptions- when she feels like she can’t talk or is afraid the siren song will come out … that part is done really well

Dialogue- average

Inclusivity- both lead main heroines are Black

Pacing- slower

Thoughts while reading-

Chapter 2- we learn about Effie’s personality quickly and how there may be a romance option with Mr. non-lifeguard.  These two friends do seem more like sisters the way they nervously approach home together to deal with the repercussions. But a gargoyle in Portland? What? Lol.

Page 40- the ongoing nightmares and involvement with sprites is interesting

Page 54- there’s a lot of internal processing and not as much dialogue as I’m used to in similar novels.

Page 71- very young adult vibes here with being in high school class with group projects.

Page 115- I love that they use ASL in replacement for when she’s afraid of making a siren call. The uncomfortable way it’s described is also very vivid and seems to represent the inability to speak up for oneself in society because of the negative results that would follow.

Page 175- I enjoy reading Tavia’s chapters more than Effie’s.

Page 211- the gargoyle is hilarious

Ending- Page 286- 80% satisfied with the ending. Overall, it fell a little flat for me compared to my hopes.

Published by CassieSwindon

Fiction author

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