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ARC Review: A Chorus Rises by Bethany C. Morrow
A Chorus Rises

3.5 Stars

Book Info

Released: June 1st 2021
Genre: Young Adult
Series: A Song Below Water #2
Published by Tor Teen
Pages: 272
Format: eARC

“This book really does an awesome job at discussing topics such as racism, PTSD, anxiety, and gentrification.”

~ Under the Covers

*There are spoilers for A Song Below Water in this review*

In this sequel to A Song Below Water, teen influencer, Naema Bradshaw is cast as the bad person who exposed a siren’s powers. As she’s being dragged by the media, she has no one in her court, not even her friends or her Eloko community. But Naema isn’t deterred from her mission of getting the truth out there about what really happened between her and Tavia last year.

I’m not going to lie – I didn’t realize this was a sequel until about halfway through the book. The reason for that being 1) I don’t *fully* read book summaries usually and 2) Bethany Morrow did such a fantastic job at retelling the events of A Song Below Water that I just thought these memories weren’t told previously. At no point did I feel confused, and I think that really speaks to Morrow’s skill as a writer. I did, however, go back and read A Song Below Water and then finish the second half of this book.

Let’s talk characters. Our main character, Naema, is angry at the world and at Tavia and Effie, who turned her to stone in A Song Below Water. Since that event, Naema has been dealing with the trauma of being ostracized from her Eloko community and her friends. She is dealing with the trauma of being turned to stone. Morrow writes about healing from trauma in a respectful, informative, and accurate way. Anyone who has dealt with PTSD or trauma can absolutely relate to Naema and her healing process.

Throughout the book, Naema really grows as a character. At the beginning, there were times where I found her obnoxious and unlikeable, but I think that it had more to do with the fact that I didn’t love her internal monologue. By the middle of the book, I really liked Naema’s character and was absolutely rooting for her to achieve her goals.

The thing that really bugged me about the writing style of A Chorus Rises is that a lot of the book was Naema’s internal monologue. I felt that a lot of it was superfluous, a little whiny, and at times repetitive. I think if there was less monologue and more action, I would have liked the book more than I did. I also felt that there were several chapters where just nothing happened, so I did get bored from time to time.

This book really does an awesome job at discussing topics such as racism, PTSD, anxiety, and gentrification. There were a lot of plot points that surrounded being a black woman in a racist America that were extremely poignant, raw, and powerful.

If you enjoyed A Song Below Water, you will love A Chorus Rises. I felt that it really tied in very nicely and gave a different perspective on Naema and the events that preceded it.


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About Bethany C. Morrow

Bethany C Morrow is an Indie Bestselling author who writes for adult and young adult audiences, in genres ranging from speculative literary to contemporary fantasy to historical. She is author of the novels MEM and A SONG BELOW WATER, which is an Audie, Ignyte and Locus finalist. She is editor/contributor to the young adult anthology TAKE THE MIC, the 2020 ILA Social Justice in Literature award winner. Her work has been chosen as Indies Introduce and Indie Next picks, and featured in The LA Times, Forbes, Bustle, Buzzfeed, and more. She is included on USA TODAY's list of 100 Black novelists and fiction writers you should read.

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ARC Review: A Chorus Rises by Bethany C. Morrow

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Thanks for the review.