**3.5-stars rounded up**
Tavia is a Siren living in present-day, Portland, Oregon. Due to fear and discrimination against Sirens, Tavia is forced to hide her nature from those outside her home.
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.
Since then, the girls have come to rely upon one another. It’s them against world for the most part; at least it feels that way.
While Effie is not a Siren, there is definitely something magical about her. As she gets older, she begins to notice she is changing and she may not be able to hide much longer.
Effie works as a mermaid at a local Renaissance Fair, incorporating the lore of that job into her personality and thus, blending the lines between fantasy and reality.
When a murder trial making the national spotlight turns out to have a Siren as a victim, Siren’s existence is now a hot button issue.
Tavia listens as those around her discuss the case and the Siren’s fate and rights. From there we watch as the debates, opinions and stakes heat up.
Drenched in allegory, A Song Below Water includes lush, lyrical storytelling and is nuanced enough to provide a lasting impact.
Tavia and Effie’s relationship is beautiful to read. Their unconditional support for one another, set against a backdrop of a world that doesn’t guarantee them social justice. It was quite moving.
This novel is particularly relevant to the climate of the United States over the last few years. I love YA Contemporary stories that provide such social commentary.
The fact that this one mixed in fantastical elements with black girl magic made it that much more enjoyable.
The sequel to this novel, following different perspectives is now available. I am currently reading it and actually enjoying it even more.
I cannot wait to see what magic Morrow creates next!!