A Chorus Rises

Tor Teen. (Song Below Water: Bk. 2). Jun. 2021. 272p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250316035.
Gr 8 Up–A year ago in Portland, OR, eloko Naema Bradshaw was Stoned by gorgon rival Effie Freeman and Awakened by siren rival Tavia Philips. She feels betrayed by best friends Jamie and Gavin, boyfriend Priam, and the Eloko community when they watch a film of Tavia’s experiences. She objects to the film’s depiction of her as a mean girl who outed Tavia’s Siren identity. She decides to set the record straight by giving her side of the story as a social media influencer on her platform, LOVE. She takes a self-imposed exile to her maternal family home in the Southwest and pursues film producer Leona Fowl in hopes of erasing Tavia’s media image. Her quest for celebrity takes an ugly turn when a vigilante fan club redirects its focus on persecuting Black girls. With the help of male cousin Courtney, her ancestral journey shows her the roots and sources of her magical voice. This companion to A Song Below Water centers the narrative on Naema, who is still a piece of work. She can come off as narcissistic, but her journey unravels, unpacks, and redeems her. Morrow gives an excellent look into Naema’s healing and growth. Readers will also enjoy the themes of race, intersectionality, media exploitation, social media, and ancestry.
VERDICT Morrow has woven another refreshing YA tale where young people can discover the roots and sources of their magical voices.

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