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Summary

Bethany C. Morrow's A Song Below Water is the story for today’s listeners - a captivating modern fantasy about black mermaids, 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. 

An NPR Best Book of the Year - 2020

A Macmillan Audio production from Tor Teen

“An enthralling tale of black girl magic and searing social commentary ready to rattle the bones.” (Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times best-selling author of The Belles)

©2020 Bethany C. Morrow (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

Critic reviews

“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 best-selling 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)

“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 and Summer Bird Blue)

What listeners say about A Song Below Water

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Sirens, gargoyles and other mythical creatures

An amazing, surprising novel about two sisters trying to discover their own real selves, voice and power, while always supporting each other. A number of intriguing mysteries unfold and are eventually solved in the story, while fascinating characters slowly reveal their roles and connections to the unaware protagonists. Chilling, way too believable acts of violence and ignorant discrimination against some of the mythical creatures, added to horrible racism, are fiercely fought: black (sirens') lives matter, indeed. However, the novel is not gruesome nor morbid, and the ending is satisfying and optimistic. The narrators are brilliant.

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Excellent performance

Great book overall. The plot starts slowly but I was hooked all the way through the second half. Well worth a listen.

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so good!

I have so many feelings Lots of triggery things, racial violence and oppression of minorities and parental death and lots of skin picking/trich triggers and manipulative adults But this book is so fantastic and I loved it so much even when it made me cry. The characters are rich and deep and I really hope there is more of their story

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-06-20

Thank you.

This book was just what I needed in these heartbreaking times. I’m 53, a former high school English and drama teacher, and a white suburban woman. Bethany’s voice - and the message she is sharing through Tavia and Effie - should be heard by all women and girls. The story made me necessarily and appropriately uncomfortable at times. I have gained perspective and am grateful for that. I love the characters and the creative way of conveying such an important, metaphorically rich- while being realistic - story. Thank you for sharing your voice. I will be exploring more of your writing, and wish you all the best.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Onika Popo-James
  • 20-10-20

This story is so relevant!

I highly suggest listening to this book! it is full of current events affecting black and brown people today! racism, sexism and add on supernatural speciesism. Only downfall is the next book doesn't come out until 6/21. I already pre-ordered it!

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  • FutureLibrarian92
  • 26-09-20

Keeps You Hooked

I enjoyed this book. Ren Fair, mythical creatures, mystery,social justice. It's got a litt le bit of something for everyone. 3 stars for performance because the two different voices sounded so similar, so it was difficult to tell who was speaking sometimes.

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  • LATOYA LEWIS
  • 11-08-20

Just couldn't get into this one

Mermaids, Sirens, Gargoyles.......just not my cup of tea. I like all kinds of books and genres but this one, I couldn't grasp. #Book24of2020 #bookworm #whatsnext

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kay
  • 31-07-20

Not at all what I expected!

Granted, I have a terrible habit of buying/borrowing books because of the cover being appealing and not bothering to read the synopsis - 🤷🏾‍♀️ sue me. But I definitely was not prepared for all of the mythical creatures in a story that also touches on the everyday struggles of a black girl. I LOVED it . . . And I kind of want a gargoyle now 😁🤷🏾‍♀️ 4.75 stars

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  • Ransom
  • 15-08-20

Real Life Parallels

I was taken by the whimsy and wonder both Effie and Tavia. This mystery was definitely worth the wait. I wish there was something like a second novel.

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  • Amey Corson
  • 15-06-20

magical

absolutely loved this book! a magical journey that really dives deep into important topics around systemic oppression, social justice, and political activism that can be difficult to unpack - but are navigated expertly with beautiful storytelling. highly recommend for all ages!!!

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  • T
  • 16-01-21

Amazing mix of myth and current events!

This an amazing and well written story! A fresh and inclusive take on myths combined with a new perspective if the role of women vs the true power we possess. The story I never knew I always needed. Thanks to Bethany C. Morrow for a story well crafted. Kudos to Andrea Lang and Jennifer Haralson for bringing the story to life.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-12-20

recommend to every black girl

loved the story, very smooth voice acting. I even cried a bit multiple times. ugh I loved this story!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-08-20

A timely read...exactly what our society needs.

A Song Below Water is exactly what our society needs more of. It’s a story of empowerment in the face of prejudice, sisterhood, and activism beginning with your immediate community. I love the connection to the Greek and West African mythology—I’m still making connections and meanings after the book is closed. Beautiful narration, all around a beautiful read. It’s been a while since I was so captivated by a book.