Bethany C. Morrow's A Song Below Water is the story for today’s readers — a captivating modern fantasy about Black sirens, friendship, and self-discovery set against the challenges of today's racism and sexism.
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.
"It's beautiful and it's brilliant.”--Jason Reynolds, #1 New York Times bestselling author and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature
“An enthralling tale of Black girl magic and searing social commentary ready to rattle the bones.” — Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Belles
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Play-sisters Tavia and Effie are both black Portland, Ore., teens with secrets. Tavia, who is selectively nonverbal, is a siren in a world that persecutes sirens and seeks to silence their mythic voices. Effie, who plays a mermaid at Renaissance fairs, doesn't know what brand of mythical creature she is, only that she's changing day by day. When the murder of a recently slain black girl is tacitly justified by rumor that she may have been a siren, Tavia's heavily insulated world is turned upside down, with Effie as her only constant. And as Effie's inexplicable abilities grow, the world outside becomes increasingly dangerous for the girls, whose secrets cannot remain so forever. In this thought-provoking YA debut, Morrow (Mem, for adults) excels at grounding her fantastical reimagining of the modern world through depictions of marginalized experiences: social justice takes on fantastic proportions in a society occupied by gargoyles, sirens, sprites, and elokos, all occupying differing public statuses of reverence and fear. Though uneven pacing and an excess of dropped subplots congest the book's first half, this triumph of black sisterhood and female resilience is sure to draw readers. Ages 13 up.