Goodreads Summary: Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.
But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either.
I thought about how I want to discuss the books I’m reading and how I really want to speak about what the book is saying. Books can be so much more than a story if you take the time to listen to them. I’m aware everyone reads the same book a different way but these are my thoughts and opinions of this book.
Thank you to Tor Teen for the advanced copy of the book in exchange for my review.
Overall: I really enjoyed all aspects of this book from the themes, characters, writing style, etc. I love fantasy books that mix aspects of our world into their world. Its a great escape while still taking time to reflect on what is brought up in the book. I really enjoy getting a chance to look into the mythology of this book and hearing from the author to learn more.
The ending of this book is a shock and such a twist. I love the way this book reveals Effie and Tavia’s secrets to others and to the reader.
Themes: I like how this book is a fantasy book yet it still connects to the way that Black people are marginalized and silenced. I like how they discuss the way that sirens are not welcome in their world and how they have been pushed to the side. I also thought it was important to note the way sirens were always Black girls and the silencing of the sirens using silencing collars or other methods.
There’s a portion in the book where Tavia comes into contact with a police officer. She references a photo and talks about how what is going to heal the world is Black people offering unlimited love. This reminded me of the way that Black people are portrayed in the media or by others and how those images perpetuate racism. It reminded me of how Black people are expected to not show anger or a range of emotions yet others are free to express themselves in any matter they see fit.
There are so many moments in this book that reflect the current climate towards Black people. Tavia talks about how sirens are viewed, how sirens are all Black and the complexity behind holding both those identities at the same time. I really enjoy how she mentions how this isn’t an individual problem but its institutional.
There are also many moments in which you see Tavia and Effie attend protest or outraged at the instances of police brutality that are included in this book. I think Tavia’s thoughts at the protest and her thoughts surrounding how one person gets people outraged yet the other is dismissed because she may be a siren. I love Tavia’s comments about the police not being around to protect and how her community of Black people can’t be “exterminated.”
I really enjoy how the way that Tavia gets through her world is by building a network. I like all references to this network and how this network gets her through a lot. I like the importance of community and how community builds you up instead of tearing you down.
Characters: I really like all the characters that are introduced throughout this book. I like that each person is well developed and you get to see them change throughout the story.
Tavia is so thoughtful about all that she does and everyone that she comes into contact with. She spends a lot of time reflecting on her identity as a siren and a Black girl.
Effie/Euphemia is a secretive person who doesn’t want to harm anyone else. She has two separate lives, one from her time at the ren fair and the rest in her regular world. She keeps to herself and doesn’t let anyone in. I love her excitement about everything and how much she loves everything she does.
Tavia’s parents only want to keep her and Effie safe. Effie’s guardians have tried to keep her safe by keeping secrets from her. I really love seeing the parents and guardians in this book as YA books tend to not have them be a large portion of the story. I like that this book shows growth and development not just for the two girls but also for the adults.
Writing style: I enjoy how the book goes back and forth between Tavia and Effie’s perspectives. It allows you to see the story unfold from two different girls who are telling two different stories. Not only are you getting both of these perspectives but each of them is written in a different style. I really like how each of the girls sounds different from the other.
I also listened to this one on audio because reading this way has been easier on me. I really like how there are two narrators to read each chapter differently depending on if the chapter belongs to Tavia or Effie. I also like that both narrators have a difference voice for additional characters.