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A Song Below Water: 06/22/20

A Song Below Water

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow is built on the premise that all sirens are Black girls. Tavia lives in Portland and has to struggle to keep her siren identity a secret, and her voice under control. Sirens are being killed and their murderers are being allowed to go free.

When she feels on edge or when her voice threatens to reveal itself, Tavia uses ASL to communicate. She speaks mostly with Effie, a girl Tavia calls her sister but I was never clear was her biological sister or sister in the blended family sensee.

Besides Tavia's point of view, we also are given Effie's. Tavia is living with Effie's family, having been forced to move to Portland from California where she can be better protected by a local network of sirens and siren allies.

Sirens, though, aren't the only supernatural beings in this novel. There mermaids, gorgons, gargoyles, and so forth. Frankly it was in the myriad of beings that I struggled most to keep everything straight in my head.

A Song Below Water feels like two novels pared down to fit into one book. Tavia and Effie don't get enough time to be fully realized characters. Their stories seem rushed and squashed. Likewise, the supernatural world they are living in isn't fully developed. Although both girls spend a lot of their inner monologues thinking about the supernatural world, they don't do much living in it. Thus it's more tell than show.

Three stars

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