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Song Below Water Paperback – June 1, 2021

4.5 out of 5 stars 647 ratings
Part of: A Song Below Water (2 Books)

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews


“Morrow expertly and smartly explores race, bigotry, oppression, and injustice against a backdrop of ordinary life with a dose of the supernatural added to the mix. A Song Below Water is a must-read for lovers of fantasy and contemporary stories alike.”Booklist, starred review

“A watery and melodic crossroads of the real and the mythic, A Song Below Water lures readers with its seductive and beautifully black siren song. 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 series

“I love this book so, so much! Bethany C. Morrow delivers a blistering modern classic with this gorgeous tale of friendship and power. A Song Below Water somehow manages to be intensely happy and sad at the same time and all in the balance of great, riveting storytelling. The best YA novel I've read all year.” ― Daniel José Older, New York Times bestselling author of Shadowshaper

“Morrow masterfully blends the real lives of Black girls in contemporary Portland with a mythic world of sirens, gargoyles and other supernatural creatures to create a compelling coming-of-age story in which two sisters, bound by love and fate, find their voices and their power.” ―Rebecca Roanhorse, Hugo, Nebula and John W. Campbell Award Winner, author of Trail of Lightning and Star Wars: Resistance Reborn

"Delving into misogynoir, mythology, and the importance of friendship, this remarkable work cements Morrow's status as a literary master."Buzzfeed, Best YA Speculative Fiction of 2020

“Empowering and full of surprises, A Song Below Water reminds us how important it is to use our voices, even when we’re afraid. Morrow has created a world that’s both familiar and brimming with fantastical creatures, and the result is timely, necessary, and utterly captivating.” – Akemi Dawn Bowman, award-winning author of Starfish

“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.” ―Heidi Heilig, award-winning author of The Girl from Everywhere

“The world is lush and intense, the voice intoxicating, and the message eternal. Morrow will have you under her spell from page one.” ― L.L. McKinney, author of the Nightmare-Verse series

“A compelling tale packed with endlessly inventive magical concepts, blazingly current social commentary, and heroines you'll fall hopelessly in love with. I'm obsessed.” ― Sarah Kuhn, author of Heroine Complex series

A Song Below Water is a lush, colorful, and deeply moving masterpiece about mythology, the sometimes masked evils of racism, and all the ways the world hurts black girls. An irresistible and perfectly bewitching read that I couldn't put down!” ―Jay Coles, composer and author of Tyler Johnson Was Here

A Song Below Water is a captivating tale about the magic of sisterhood and the importance of being seen for who you truly are.” ―Parker Peevyhouse, author of The Echo Room

“Morrow has deftly woven a contemporary tale with mythical elements to take on the invisibility and marginalization of Black women, touching on issues such as misogynoir, body image, social justice, and generational trauma. Empowering and innovative. Morrow elevates mermaids and sirens to ­legitimate and compelling vanguards for social change.”School Library Journal

"From sirens to mermaids to sprites and gargoyles, the magic is familiar ― but different enough to be exciting. Morrow... tackles anti-blackness and white supremacy head-on, while still giving Tavia and Effie the space to be realistic, flawed teenagers. In this magic-infused version of America, having a voice is literally a superpower ― a powerful message for the times we're living in."NPR

“An exciting new contemporary fantasy. In this parallel world, black female empowerment is standing up for yourself and others while simultaneously navigating love, physical and emotional violence, and the responsibility of immense supernatural power.” ―Kirkus Reviews

"You will want to cheer." Locus

"A complex, layered, culturally relevant fantasy." BookBub

"Delving into misogynoir, mythology, and the importance of friendship, this remarkable work cements Morrow's status as a literary master." Buzzfeed, Best YA Speculative Fiction of 2020

"BLACK. MERMAIDS. That’s it. That’s the tweet." Electric Literature

"A Song Below Water showed me that there will be times when life feels out of control, but those times don’t last forever. And sometimes the unknown can be transformed into beauty that can change the world." Lightspeed

"An intriguing combination of contemporary themes and genre sensibilities." Den of Geek

"A charming and fierce read, an ode to the bonds of friendship and an indictment of the world around them―and the world around us." Bookriot

"It's beautiful and it's brilliant." PBS

About the Author

Bethany C. Morrow is an Indie Bestselling author who writes for adult and young adult audiences, in genres ranging from speculative literary to contemporary fantasy to historical. She is author of the novels Mem; A Song Below Water and its companion A Chorus Rises; So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix; and the social horror Cherish Farrah; and editor/contributor to the young adult anthology Take the Mic, which was the 2020 ILA Social Justice in Literature award winner. Her work has been chosen as Indies Introduce and Indie Next picks, and featured in The LA Times, Forbes, Bustle, Buzzfeed, and more. She is included on USA TODAY's list of 100 Black novelists and fiction writers you should read.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Tor Teen TR (June 1, 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250315336
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250315335
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 13 - 18 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ HL820L
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ 7 - 9
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 8.8 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.37 x 0.76 x 8.2 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 647 ratings

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
647 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on June 7, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Black Girl Magic meets Black Lives Matter in this must- read Fantasy Fic
By Neddy N. on June 7, 2020
Reading A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow feels like reading the script of an episode of Law and Order: Sirens Victims Unit. Set in Portland, Oregon, Captain Olivia Benson is played by secret siren Tavia, and her trusty partner Detective Elliot Stabler is play-sister/bestie Effie.
A Song Below Water delivers for those fresh off of reading All the Stars and Teeth by Adelyn Grace, and are more than ready for another book about badass mermaids. Further, this book is perfect for those anticipating more upcoming books about Black Girl Magic, like A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown, and Angie Thompson’s Concrete Rose. In the end though, Morrow takes readers on a journey they could never have imagined.

A Song Below Water is a magical The Hate You Give, a fantasy with social justice undertones. Morrow weaves in current political messages within her tales of sprites and elokos, with terms like "say her name"

Readers, get ready to submerge yourself in Tavia and Effie’s measured telling of their magical meltdown and rebirth!
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Reviewed in the United States on June 13, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Timely must read!
By A. Singrey on June 13, 2020
This excellent book combines social justice and protests with a fantasy world where sirens, gargoyles and more are real.

Teenage Tavia hides her identity as a siren as a matter of survival. Since siren abilities only occur in the black female population, they’re often killed when other types of magical abilities are accepted or even adored.

Her sister Effie isn’t a siren, but something weird is going on with her too. She doesn’t understand what kind of abilities are trying to manifest. Effie’s more terrified than excited, still traumatized by a game of Red Rover that ended with her friends turned to statues, presumably by sprites. Effie’s infamous as the lone survivor.

And for some reason, the only gargoyle in Portland, Oregon is living on their roof.

Tavia and Effie must lean on each other to solve the mysteries and stand up for what’s right.

This book is timely, important and enthralling. It reads like a combination of contemporary and fantasy.
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13 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on June 18, 2020
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6 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on June 6, 2020
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5 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on June 10, 2020
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Top reviews from other countries

4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing YA Magical Realism
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 17, 2020
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One person found this helpful
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2.0 out of 5 stars So much promise, so little delivered.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 7, 2020
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Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read that made me root for the MCs & despise a side character more than any other
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 28, 2020
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Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars This book is wonderful! Highly recommend!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 8, 2020
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Kenzie Millar
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish there were more than five stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 14, 2020
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