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A Song Below Water

por Bethany C. Morrow

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Séries: A Song Below Water (1)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 13 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Pandemic read. Heard a lot about the second book by this author so decided to read the first. Took me a bit to find the thread to follow, but am glad I did. ( )
  bookczuk | Jun 8, 2021 |
I love how this book takes on heavy themes of racism and ostracism with a light but never insubstantial touch. It also contains the best skewering I've yet to read of Portland/Seattle "right-on" but clueless middle-class white culture. I found the resolution at the end a little too quick, as is common in YA books, but I appreciated how it left more complexity and ambiguity at the end than is usual for YA. ( )
  eldang | Apr 24, 2021 |
The concept of this book was great, but it was doing too much. The mythos was not explained well enough, which ultimately made this book a bit confusing with many loose ends. ( )
  thereserose5 | Mar 3, 2021 |
Tavia Phillips and Effie Freeman -- 'sisters' through a loose adoption -- live in a Portland, Oregon where supernatural creatures like elokos, sirens, sprites, etc. are a well-known fact. For some reason, most mythical beings are beloved or at least tolerated, but sirens are feared so badly that they survive by hiding in plain sight. Bad news for Tavia who is a siren by birth and intent on trying to connect with her dead grandmother so she can find a way to silence her siren call. Meanwhile, Effie doesn't know much about her own heritage -- her mom is dead and her father was never in the picture -- but she seems to be plagued by sprite activity that seems anything other than the light-hearted pranks that everyone else seems to ascribe to them. Can the two girls make it through junior year of high school unscathed? Will they ever find the answers for which they yearn?

So the premise of this book was super awesome -- a real world/supernatural mashup where the metaphors are there but the real stuff is as well. For instance, part of the reason there is so much bias against sirens is that they are almost always Black women. In addition, Morrow touches on police brutality, Black Lives Matter protests, microaggressions, etc. that are unfortunately all too real. It is mostly done in a way that doesn't sound didactic but rather meshing with the story perfectly. There is so much here that is important to consider and would also make for great discussions among teens (and adults). The world-building and the atmospheric tension are done perfectly. The two main characters are both compelling and endearing; as a reader, you really feel for them and root for them throughout the book. The side characters are also interesting on the whole, although I felt like there was more to Naema's story that wasn't fully addressed here.

But the book seemed to really suffer from a pacing problem in my opinion. It felt like about 200 pages of the 290-page book were setting the stage. I had a hard time getting into the book because it kept feeling like nothing much was happening on a plot level. There is so much backtracking to earlier parts of the girls' lives, with little hints thrown in here and there before they finally explain pivotal moments in their past. I felt like I was picking up and putting this book back down again fairly quickly a lot; perhaps that was all me and my mood when reading this book, but it truly felt more like a book about world building and character development than anything else. And that would be totally fine it was sort of explained as such, instead of being kind of billed as something with action.

Perhaps it didn't help that for me (older than the intended audience) it was so clearly obvious what Effie was from very early on the book, but hundreds of pages passed of her wondering what she could be. (I mean, as soon as it was introduced that she saw her childhood friends turned into sculptures in front of her eyes, I was like 'oh okay, she's Medusa.') If it was meant to be engaging piece of the book that readers were on the edge of their seats waiting for the big reveal, it failed for me. On the other hand, I do have to admit to being surprised by the twist that Wallace was the gargoyle, so props to the author on that one.

I know there's a sequel to this book already slated for release in the summer, so perhaps all that world building was so that there can be a continuation that can take off running; also, maybe some of the small lingering questions I have would be addressed. That being said, I'm not sure that I would read the sequel given that this one didn't grab and hook me the way I hoped it would. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Jan 1, 2021 |
First of all, this book is relevant, well-written, interesting, and unique. All of which are difficult to find in a single book it seems. I’m a sucker for fantasy and I definitely hadn’t recently read anything about mermaids, sirens, or any of the other mythological beings mentioned. The incorporation of different mythological creatures into a modern setting was well-done. The presence of varying mythos was interesting, but I would have liked more lore if I'm being honest. More importantly, this book contains representation that is desperately needed. Written about BIPOC by a BIPOC, it helps to fill very important gaps.

It's immediately apparent it is a social commentary. No spoilers, but the themes of injustice, racism, and division appear within the first pages, later expanding to more complicated themes of fear, division, etc. I certainly hope no one pushes the book away. While these are major themes, they don't overpower the book. You're still abe to enjoy the fantasy, mystery, and overall plot in light of its themes. That kind of representation and content in books is so incredibly important and is so well done. There are also beautiful themes of family and how “’real’ doesn’t apply to family.” Throw in some casual ASL and my representation gremlin is happy!

Bethany C. Morrow does a wonderful job writing emotion in a way that the reader can experience it with the characters. Confusion, anger, determination, acceptance, you feel them with Tavia and Effie. Furthermore, Morrow is able to create vibrant images in the reader's mind without being bogged down by details.

The plot of the book is interesting. I was surprised to find myself in the middle of a mystery I was eager to solve. My one complaint would be that it did feel a bit slow-paced to start with but not unbearably so. The characters feel and act their age, lending to the realistic feeling of the book despite the fantasy elements.

Tl;dr: Relevant, desperately needed representation, well-written, interesting, PLEASE READ IT. ( )
1 vote RuneTouched | Dec 28, 2020 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Bethany C. Morrowautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Cabal, AlexArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Jennifer HaralsonNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lang, AndreaNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Worrell, LesleyDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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