Arts & Leisure

Book review: A Song Below Water — by Bethany C. Morrow

(Tor Teen)
To amplify Black voices, it is important to read beyond the (still very important) contextual Black history and anti-racism books; it is important to read great stories that are written by Black authors with captivating Black characters, like this one. The secretly magical teens at the heart of this story engage with and comment on some of the same social issues we are grappling with today: racism, prejudice and oppression. In Tavia and Effie’s world, not all teens are treated equally. Sirens are forced to hide themselves, or wear silencing collars, to avoid persecution. Tavia, a Siren, hides the power of her Voice in the school choir, while she secretly calls for her grandmother, who has passed away, to reveal herself so as to help Tavia find her truth. Effie, like a sister to Tavia, is her own kind of magical, not a favored elokos or reasonably tolerated pixie, but this truth isn’t yet known to her. The two depend on each other for friendship, support and cover. This is a fantastic, wonderfully original and creative fantasy world populated with fantastical characters who suffer very real teen feelings and agonize over very realistic teen issues. It’s extremely well written and an absolute joy to read.
— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of The Vermont Book Shop
 

Black Young Adult Speculative Fiction
Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland 
The Sound of Stars, by Alechia Dow 
Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi
War Girls, by Tochi Onyebuchi
Raybearer, by Jordan Ifueko
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, by Roseanne A. Brown
Cinderella Is Dead, by Kalynn Bayron 
Kingdom of Souls, by Rena Barron
Pet, by Akwaeke Emezi 

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