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A Chorus Rises

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The Hate U Give meets Shadowshaper in Bethany C. Morrow's A Chorus Rises, a brilliant contemporary fantasy set in the world of A Song Below Water. Teen influencer Naema Bradshaw has it all: she's famous, privileged, has “the good hair”— and she’s an Eloko, a person who’s gifted with a song that woos anyone who hears it. Everyone loves her — well, until she's cast as the awf The Hate U Give meets Shadowshaper in Bethany C. Morrow's A Chorus Rises, a brilliant contemporary fantasy set in the world of A Song Below Water. Teen influencer Naema Bradshaw has it all: she's famous, privileged, has “the good hair”— and she’s an Eloko, a person who’s gifted with a song that woos anyone who hears it. Everyone loves her — well, until she's cast as the awful person who exposed Tavia’s secret siren powers. Now, she's being dragged by the media. No one understands her side: not her boyfriend, not her friends, nor her Eloko community. But Naema knows the truth and is determined to build herself back up — no matter what. When a new, flourishing segment of Naema’s online supporters start targeting black girls, however, Naema must discover the true purpose of her magical voice.


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The Hate U Give meets Shadowshaper in Bethany C. Morrow's A Chorus Rises, a brilliant contemporary fantasy set in the world of A Song Below Water. Teen influencer Naema Bradshaw has it all: she's famous, privileged, has “the good hair”— and she’s an Eloko, a person who’s gifted with a song that woos anyone who hears it. Everyone loves her — well, until she's cast as the awf The Hate U Give meets Shadowshaper in Bethany C. Morrow's A Chorus Rises, a brilliant contemporary fantasy set in the world of A Song Below Water. Teen influencer Naema Bradshaw has it all: she's famous, privileged, has “the good hair”— and she’s an Eloko, a person who’s gifted with a song that woos anyone who hears it. Everyone loves her — well, until she's cast as the awful person who exposed Tavia’s secret siren powers. Now, she's being dragged by the media. No one understands her side: not her boyfriend, not her friends, nor her Eloko community. But Naema knows the truth and is determined to build herself back up — no matter what. When a new, flourishing segment of Naema’s online supporters start targeting black girls, however, Naema must discover the true purpose of her magical voice.

30 review for A Chorus Rises

  1. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    **3.5-stars rounded up** After the explosive conclusion to Bethany C. Morrow's, A Song Below Water, teen influencer, Naema Bradshaw finds herself vilified in the public eye. As an Eloko, a beloved magical being, Naema has been treated as a quasi-celebrity in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, for her entire life. Now pegged as the mean girl who outed classmate, Tavia, as a Siren, Naema is getting dragged in social media where she has previously only been respected and adored. Once a movie releases pu **3.5-stars rounded up** After the explosive conclusion to Bethany C. Morrow's, A Song Below Water, teen influencer, Naema Bradshaw finds herself vilified in the public eye. As an Eloko, a beloved magical being, Naema has been treated as a quasi-celebrity in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, for her entire life. Now pegged as the mean girl who outed classmate, Tavia, as a Siren, Naema is getting dragged in social media where she has previously only been respected and adored. Once a movie releases purporting to tell the true story behind Tavia, her sister, Effie, and the event known as The Awakening, Naema only sees hostility towards her increase. Growing more and more frustrated with her current situation and the fact that no one seems to understand her side, Naema decides to leave town. Heading South, Naema goes to stay with extended family that she never sees. This trip is actually her first time leaving Portland and the bubble she has created there for herself. Greeted at the airport by her cousin Courtney, Naema can tell immediately from his reaction to her, that life is going to be very different outside of Portland. Her family couldn't care less about her Eloko status. She'll be treated just like everyone else; loved and cherished, but for herself, not for her Elokoness. It is once she is separated from all the noise in Portland, that Naema is finally able to channel the connection to her ancestors and discover the true power of her voice. This story was interesting and a tough one to rate. I really had to consider it once I was done. We only get Naema's perspective in this book, whereas the first book followed both Tavia and Effie. This one does incorporate a lot of mixed media, however, and I always enjoy that. It makes the overall story feel more realistic in my opinion. The bulk of the story focuses on Naema coming into her own. We really get to deep dive into her world. While there is still an underlining examination of privilege, race, social media and the experience of black women in America, I didn't feel that coming through quite as strongly in this volume as in the first. It's definitely still here, it's just overshadowed a bit by Naema's day-to-day. As far as Naema goes. I really enjoyed her perspective a lot. She is snarky, strong-willed, stubborn and funny. I loved her interactions with Courtney and the rest of her family. I can see why some people may be put off by her, she can seem a bit of a princess at times, however, I think she feels real. She is a product of her environment, but once removed from Portland, she was able to grow and evolve as a character, which we love to see. I think Morrow created an important and timely story with both of these books. I would recommend them to anyone who enjoys YA Contemporary stories with Fantastical elements that tackle real life issues. Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor Teen and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I will definitely be picking up future work from this author!

  2. 4 out of 5

    sol

    y'all seeing this cover i mean wow y'all seeing this cover i mean wow

  3. 5 out of 5

    ✧・゚⁽⁽ଘ Shreya ଓ⁾⁾✧・゚

    ~Thank you NetGalley and Tor Teen for sending me the ARC in exchange for an honest review!~ *This is a spoiler-free review, so you can read it even if you haven’t read the book yet!* "I'm never gonna be okay with people trying to erase the rest of who I am. Never again." My Rating: 4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 【Note: The first thing I feel like I should mention is that somehow I didn’t realize this was a sequel when I requested the ARC and I thought it was a standalone. And then I checked Goodreads, and I rushed th ~Thank you NetGalley and Tor Teen for sending me the ARC in exchange for an honest review!~ *This is a spoiler-free review, so you can read it even if you haven’t read the book yet!* "I'm never gonna be okay with people trying to erase the rest of who I am. Never again." My Rating: 4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 【Note: The first thing I feel like I should mention is that somehow I didn’t realize this was a sequel when I requested the ARC and I thought it was a standalone. And then I checked Goodreads, and I rushed the finish the first book, so I could read and review this one. I think it was partly because even though this cover is gorgeous it has really different vibes than the first one. It says this could be read as a standalone but I highly recommend reading the first book before reading this one because otherwise, this book would be really confusing and hard to understand.】 Characters I really and thoroughly despised Naema for the way she wrecked Tavia’s and Effie’s lives in the previous book so I was skeptical about whether or not I would be able to connect to her character, but I was pleasantly surprised. At first, it was really annoying since she didn’t seem to regret what she did even one bit, and she thought she was doing everyone a favor, but her character change by the end of the book made it worth it. Plot and Message This book was mostly about Naema’s journey and the aftermath of what happened at the end of A Song Below Water. Throughout the book, her struggle with understanding who she is and telling her story was portrayed well. I did feel like this book wasn’t as exciting external plot-wise since there wasn’t as much danger or action, but it still had a very powerful meaning. Though this wasn’t as fun of a read as the first book, I’d recommend it to anyone who read and enjoyed A Song Below Water! ✨ You can find this review and others on my blog! ✨

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    A beautiful sequel to A Song Below Water, this novel approaches what happens after The Awakening, but this time from the point of view of Naema, the supposed villain of that book. I loved that we get Naema's perspective and that it isn't a complete shift of her character. Naema is Eloko, which are the most favored and adored magical beings. She is totally used to being the center of attention and being admired for just being herself, but she's caught off guard about how her position has changed. A beautiful sequel to A Song Below Water, this novel approaches what happens after The Awakening, but this time from the point of view of Naema, the supposed villain of that book. I loved that we get Naema's perspective and that it isn't a complete shift of her character. Naema is Eloko, which are the most favored and adored magical beings. She is totally used to being the center of attention and being admired for just being herself, but she's caught off guard about how her position has changed. I really liked the way she adapted and grew into her potential throughout the course of the book, and that the growth wasn't linear. She behaves exactly like someone her age would act in these circumstances and teens will be able to relate to both her fall from glory and learning how to change (even if reluctantly). As with ASBW, A Chorus Rises explores broader themes such as privilege, gender, race, and social media. There's a great deal of food for thought and reflection along with the engaging storyline. There's not quite as much fantasy in this book as with the previous one where I felt a bit lost, but that's all right because the story transcends the genre. I listened to most of this as an audio book, and the narrators did a fantastic job giving Naema voice and attitude. The narration fit the personality I had imagined for her perfectly. I voluntarily reviewed complimentary advance copies of both the audio and print versions of this book, all opinions are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Oyinda

    Book 113 of 2021 Many thanks to Tor Teen for my digital review copy of this book in exchange for my impartial review. This, in no way affected my review, which was written voluntarily. A Chorus Rises is the sequel to A Song Below Water, and it tells Naema’s story after the events of ASBW. Naema wasn’t my favorite character from ASBW, and I was really intrigued to see how the author was going to handle her character. I’m glad to say that I loved it. Naema is not perfect, and she never pretended to Book 113 of 2021 Many thanks to Tor Teen for my digital review copy of this book in exchange for my impartial review. This, in no way affected my review, which was written voluntarily. A Chorus Rises is the sequel to A Song Below Water, and it tells Naema’s story after the events of ASBW. Naema wasn’t my favorite character from ASBW, and I was really intrigued to see how the author was going to handle her character. I’m glad to say that I loved it. Naema is not perfect, and she never pretended to be. Bethany C. Morrow also did not do a full 180 with Naema’s character to make her unbelievably likeable or give her a tragic backstory to justify why she was Book 1’s mean girl. Naema is struggling with the blow out of her actions in ASBW. The media is against her, the people of Portland don’t love her as much as they used to, and LOVE, her safe haven, is reforming itself to not be Eloko-centric. Tavia got a movie deal, and everyone is head over heels with the movie – Naema hates this because the movie both casts her as a villain and erases her Eloko identity at the same time. This is a great story of finding yourself, being enough for yourself, coming into your own, and dealing with changes. Naema finds herself alone after feeling left out by her family and friends, and takes a trip out of Portland to reconnect with her extended family. There, she faces many questions about what it really means to be Eloko. Naema has to deal with some toxic fans who think that the only way to ‘keep Naema safe’ is to harm some black girls and women. Another thing explored by this book which I appreciate is Naema’s experience with being Stoned and what that was like for her. I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait for everyone to read and love it when it’s out on the first of June.

  6. 4 out of 5

    David Gibson

    The Short Version: An incisive examination of privilege, racism, and the powder keg of social media. A must read for anyone who loves black girl magic and character driven stories The Long Version: Naema Bradshaw was turned to stone by a gorgon a year ago and since then, her life has NOT gone as planned. She’s been effectively silenced by her favorite social media site and almost everyone thinks she’s the villain, though she certainly does not. Having not read the first book in this series, I wasn The Short Version: An incisive examination of privilege, racism, and the powder keg of social media. A must read for anyone who loves black girl magic and character driven stories The Long Version: Naema Bradshaw was turned to stone by a gorgon a year ago and since then, her life has NOT gone as planned. She’s been effectively silenced by her favorite social media site and almost everyone thinks she’s the villain, though she certainly does not. Having not read the first book in this series, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got this Audiobook ARC via NetGalley and Macmillan Audio. I was pleasantly surprised by this though. The book, in a brilliant turn RBG would tip the cap to, uses the point of view of a black girl with magical powers to explore privilege (magical people of her kind are treated like celebrities in Portland). The portrait is insightful and nuanced and makes Naema insanely likable. Her character voice is strong, funny, unapologetic (mostly), and often misguided in the way most teens are. You root for her even when she’s clearly in the wrong, it’s beautiful character construction. Now I typically like my fantasy stories to be packed full with non-stop action, and if that’s what you’re looking for, this isn’t it. This is a character driven story and there were definitely times in the second act I just wanted something BIGGER to happen. That being said, Naema held my attention and made this a worthy listen. The third act of this book is a Gatling gun loaded with bricks and the final confrontation is pitch perfect and gave me literal goosebumps. On top of great writing and great characters, the narrator of this audiobook absolutely CRUSHED IT. I felt the shade dripping from her voice and each character is fully realized by her. One of the best performances I’ve listened to. Overall a 4.5 out of 5. Strongly recommend for anyone who wants to be reminded what great books can do and how YA can be a vehicle for books that are accessible to the young but just as profound as anything out there. Component Ratings Concept/Idea: 4 out of 5 Characters: 5 out of 5 Character Development: 5 out of 5 Plot: 3.5 out of 5 Pacing: 3.5 out of 5 Prose: 4.5 out of 5 Dialogue: 5 out of 5 Narrator performance: 5 out of 5 Ending: 5 out of 5

  7. 4 out of 5

    ATheReader

    6/1- Happy pub day to this beautiful book! I would recommend checking it out!! Thank you Netgalley and Macmillian for an arc in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, I have dreamed of having an arc for a while now and decided to take my chances on Netgalley. To my surprise, the first arc I requested, A Chorus Rises, was accepted. I have been anticipating this book ever since I read A Song Below Water and I am extremely happy that I was given this advanced reader copy. I definitely recommend 6/1- Happy pub day to this beautiful book! I would recommend checking it out!! Thank you Netgalley and Macmillian for an arc in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, I have dreamed of having an arc for a while now and decided to take my chances on Netgalley. To my surprise, the first arc I requested, A Chorus Rises, was accepted. I have been anticipating this book ever since I read A Song Below Water and I am extremely happy that I was given this advanced reader copy. I definitely recommend reading the first book in this duology since everything connects back to that book and I would see someone being extremely confused as to what was going on in this book. Even though the writing style can be confusing at some points (not counting the grammatical errors that will be fixed in the final copy), it is extremely atmospheric and interesting to the point where you become engrossed in the story. The characters really come to life and you learn to understand each of them in the roles that they take in Naemas(the MC’s) life. I also think that the articles that were incorporated into this story brought a whole other aspect to the development of the plot and the main character. I didn’t love this as much as I liked A Song Below Water but I think I can contribute that to the main character of this book. The first book has two main characters, which fits with that part of the story, but I think that I liked those characters much more than I liked the main character of A Chorus Rises. Naema is extremely obnoxious in the beginning, pouting about how everything is pitted against her, even with her rude past. In this sequel you see her develop into a more well-rounded individual who is aware of the people around her, but she can get annoying at some parts. Despite my dislike of this character, I think this was the perfect idea for the sequel of A Song Below Water and the best pick for an MC. Not only is the writing in this book great but it also includes SO many good discussions. It talks about how white women are quick to stand with their whiteness and black men with their gender. It talks about targeting black women and gentrification and SO MUCH MORE. And Bethany C. Morrow does it in an understandable but subtle way. Overall the writing in this story and the interesting storyline were extremely enjoyable to read about.

  8. 4 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    #1) A Song Below Water ★★☆☆☆ this cover needs to be framed and hung in a museum Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram #1) A Song Below Water ★★☆☆☆ this cover needs to be framed and hung in a museum Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram

  9. 5 out of 5

    Briar's Reviews

    I'm going to keep this one brief but explain my thoughts: 1. This book has a super cool premise. I wish I would have read the first book to get a full understanding of the series. 2. Beautiful cover. Judge it. It's gorgeous. 3. I really like the whole Influencer take with the magic powers. I've been wondering where this was hiding in books, and clearly I just haven't been looking hard enough. It gave it a really cool edge and made me very intrigued to see where the story was going. 4. I like the com I'm going to keep this one brief but explain my thoughts: 1. This book has a super cool premise. I wish I would have read the first book to get a full understanding of the series. 2. Beautiful cover. Judge it. It's gorgeous. 3. I really like the whole Influencer take with the magic powers. I've been wondering where this was hiding in books, and clearly I just haven't been looking hard enough. It gave it a really cool edge and made me very intrigued to see where the story was going. 4. I like the coming of age parts of this book too. I like seeing characters grow and learn. It's all the good parts of the high school reading I used to do - growth and experimentation. People learn and mould and grow. Overall, I'd like to see more from Bethany C. Morrow. Excellence book! Four out of five stars. Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Desiree

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. "I'm never gonna be okay with people trying to erase the rest of who I am. Never again." Naema Bradshaw is THE Eloko and THE girl to be in Portland. That is, until she is outted as being the person who exposed and bullied a siren. Social media cancels her, her fans cancel her, her friends don't get her anymore, and her boyfriend is acting weird. So Naema escapes to her roots in the Southwest to get away from the drama and learn more about herself and her magic. During this escape she finds a sub "I'm never gonna be okay with people trying to erase the rest of who I am. Never again." Naema Bradshaw is THE Eloko and THE girl to be in Portland. That is, until she is outted as being the person who exposed and bullied a siren. Social media cancels her, her fans cancel her, her friends don't get her anymore, and her boyfriend is acting weird. So Naema escapes to her roots in the Southwest to get away from the drama and learn more about herself and her magic. During this escape she finds a subset of fans who have remained loyal and are ready to fight tooth-and-nail for her. But when those loyal few turn their crusade to targeting Black girls and women, under the guise that they are sirens, Naema needs to put aside her differences and learn how to use her magic to protect herself and others. I 100% recommend reading A Song Below Water before you read this. I know in some areas that this has been advertised as being in the same world, but not necessarily connected and you can get away with just reading this but I would not agree with that. This and the first novel are 100% connected and if you want the full story you will need to read it. Otherwise things get confusing. My rating for this is 3.5 stars. This story really shows that there is ALWAYS two-sides to every story. The story, the messages, most of the characters, and the ending are all actually a 4 star in my mind. But, unfortunately, Naema is soooooooooooooooooo hard to like at the start that I can't give this a full 4. It took me over 75% of the book to actually end up feeling for her. She was so opposed to developing herself and realizing she is part of the problem for the first three-quarters of the book that I almost didn't finish it. She resisted change so hard and had a "poor me, no one understands that I need my fame and followers to live" and goes as far to say she can't help it that she has come to live off the "status they gave her"; I was so ready to hate her throughout the whole story. Thankfully, she does develop, change, grow, and realize her misgivings. By the end of the story I felt like I had grown with her. She went from being all about herself to the slow realization that she is lucky to be Eloko and be able to be "protected" from the racism that sirens get by being so. Naema really becomes a hero by the end and I am so thankful for that. I just wish there were shimmers of the person she is by the end throughout the beginning so I didn't want to DNF this book so bad. I wish that there was more time for Naema's redemption because it was EXTREMELY NEEDED. The underlying message of this book that it's all fun and games while you're famous until you get outed as being a 'not-so-great' person and have to re-evaluate what is actually important in life is too true. We see it time and time again, but even less now. We see 'woke' celebrities get away with things all the time, which is an awful message. All in all, the story was great; with so many important messages involving race and discrimination. I like to consider it The Hate U Give with a bit of fantasy on top. As a pair, A Song Below Water and A Chorus Rises are amazing. If I were to recommend this I would say to read both one right after another, so you get the full picture. Thank you to NetGalley and Tor/Forge for the eARC in exchange for an honest review. These are my own opinions.

  11. 4 out of 5

    chloe ༄ ₊ ° ✧

    — "Victims can have victims, and the world needs to be reminded." i still don’t like naema. trigger warnings: racism, stalking, bullying, etc. — "Victims can have victims, and the world needs to be reminded." i still don’t like naema. trigger warnings: racism, stalking, bullying, etc.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sylvs (NOVELty Reads)

    ARC kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review I honestly don't know how to rate this nor how to review this. One the one hand, I liked the political message and the plot but on the other hand I didn't really like the characters and thought some things needed more depth. So to say I'm on the fence about A Chorus Rises is not an overstatement. The book follows Naema who was, in a way, portrayed as the villain in A Chorus Rises' predecessor, A Song Below Water. T ARC kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review I honestly don't know how to rate this nor how to review this. One the one hand, I liked the political message and the plot but on the other hand I didn't really like the characters and thought some things needed more depth. So to say I'm on the fence about A Chorus Rises is not an overstatement. The book follows Naema who was, in a way, portrayed as the villain in A Chorus Rises' predecessor, A Song Below Water. This book posed as a redemption of some sort for her after getting slandered online for her actions and getting cancelled by many of her fans and her own Eloko community. Things start to spiral after a group of diehard fans of hers start exposing black women and girls as sirens online in her name. It's up to Naema to reconcile with the past in order to help fix the present and to stop the perpetrators before it's too late. I liked the plot and the whole idea of this book: for there to be redemption for what I have always felt was a very misunderstood character. I wanted glimpses into Naema and yes while there was some justification for why she did the things she has done in book one, I wanted more of it, I wanted to understand it better... I wanter to understand her better but I felt like I still didn't get the layers to her character that I've always wanted. In that sense, the book didn't add anything to her for me and I kept wishing for character depth instead of the shallowness I seemed to get. Even with her character, there were bouts of characterisation, dialogue and behaviour that didn't seem to correlate sometimes. For example, sometimes Naema would be nice and pleasant and others she'd be arrogant and rude with no in between or any explanation for this change in behaviour. I wanted that to be dragged out a bit more, I wanted more of a transition from rude Naema into kind Naema instead of it going from A to B very quickly. Following on with that point, Naema became one with her Eloko soul after immersing herself with her family and family history. I wanted that to be explored but I felt like I was just told that without it really being shown. I wanted to see those changes in characterisation and I wanted to see how becoming one with herself has changed Naema's outlook on self and identity. I felt like if there was more emphasis on that then it would've improved the book a lot and it would've created a lot of empathy towards Naema which I believe was the author's initial intention. Pacing wise, I felt like things were either too slow or too fast as in, with the first half of the book, I felt like the pacing was slow, however, when it came to the end of the book, everything seemed to happen at once. It even took me a long time to process it all. The ending felt really rushed and everything was told to the reader regarding the plot. I believe myself to be quite attentive while reading however, when reading through all the things the cast of characters discovered, I was asking myself "wait did that actually happen? Did I read about that?" or "Hang on, oh that makes more sense" which shouldn't've happened considering all the conclusions made towards the end should've been drawn from previously revealed information in the book. There were lots of things I discovered at the end that really should've been revealed earlier. If those conclusions were drawn earlier and not towards the end, it would've made the book feel less rushed towards the end and would've created a steady flow of events. Apart from that and the few grammatical errors I found (which is to be expected from a early ARC), I did enjoy the socio-political commentary and thought that was done well. I liked how we could also see Naema's thoughts and feelings towards Eloko, sirens and her Black community and thought that was handled by the author extremely well just like her previous novel, A Song Below Water also did. ACTUAL RATING: 3.1 STARS

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elley Murray

    DNF @ 77% I was so excited for this book, but it just wasn't what I was hoping for it to be. I loved A Song Below Water, and when I saw this sequel focuses on Naema, who is arguably the villain of the first book, I was really intrigued. While I do love the growth that Naema goes through in this book, she's still that mean girl. Maybe I knew too many mean girls in school myself, but I just couldn't get behind Naema as a protagonist. She's still extremely self-centered through most of this book, ev DNF @ 77% I was so excited for this book, but it just wasn't what I was hoping for it to be. I loved A Song Below Water, and when I saw this sequel focuses on Naema, who is arguably the villain of the first book, I was really intrigued. While I do love the growth that Naema goes through in this book, she's still that mean girl. Maybe I knew too many mean girls in school myself, but I just couldn't get behind Naema as a protagonist. She's still extremely self-centered through most of this book, even as she's coming to some realizations about what it means to be "eloko first" versus her identity as a black woman. There is so much rich commentary here about race and privilege, internet fame, who is given a "voice" and why... It's just frustrating that we need to wade through chapters and chapters of Naema's pettiness and selfishness to get there. I just... I can't get behind someone who is like "I'm spoiled and I own that. So what?" Bleh. I did, however, ADORE Naema's relatives, and her cousin Courtney is what kept me reading much of the time. I listened to an audiobook version narrated by Cherise Boothe and Eboni Flowers. Cherise Booth does an amazing job of conveying Naema as our narrator, and I love that she gives each character their own unique voice. She really made it easy to fully immerse myself in the book. Eboni Flowers narrates the inter-chapter mixed media parts and also does an amazing job. 5 stars for the narration. This is the second book in the A Song Below Water series, and while I'm seeing it billed as a stand-alone I think you really need to read A Song Below Water to get the full effect of this book. A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own. Like this review? Check out more of my reviews on my blog, Elley the Book Otter

  14. 4 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: racism Reading Naema's POV was an examination of how quickly the world can turn on us. On apologies that go unheard and 'villains' that are created. A Chorus Rises explores the images and identity of Naema. Her role in the magical community, and as a black girl, casts shadows on her life. The ways that misrepresentation and a lack of voice can change our story. We all want to (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: racism Reading Naema's POV was an examination of how quickly the world can turn on us. On apologies that go unheard and 'villains' that are created. A Chorus Rises explores the images and identity of Naema. Her role in the magical community, and as a black girl, casts shadows on her life. The ways that misrepresentation and a lack of voice can change our story. We all want to be the hero of our own story, to see our version of reality, and so having our voice ignored, especially after having a voice, changes Naema's world. A Chorus Rises made me question internet fame and support. How quickly fear can be mobilized. How the perspectives of who is right and who is heard shifts with the wind. All these elements, and pieces of Naema's identity play off each other as she struggles to get a handle on the story and world around her. While I loved watching Naema's story, I felt that the ending was wrapped up a bit too hastily, especially considering the lead up. At around 20% there were all these new layers added that I was looking forward to wrapping up, but I just wished there had been a little more space. full review; https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Haider

    3.5 stars A Chorus Rises is the sequel to A Song Below Water, but follows a different character. This book is told from the point of view of Naema Bradshaw. In the first book, she was cast as the villain of sorts since she exposed Tavia's secret of being a siren. Naema herself is an Eloko, which means she can sing a song that influences the behavior of others. She doesn't see herself as a villain and this book gives us a chance to see her perspective. After the events in the first book, Naema fac 3.5 stars A Chorus Rises is the sequel to A Song Below Water, but follows a different character. This book is told from the point of view of Naema Bradshaw. In the first book, she was cast as the villain of sorts since she exposed Tavia's secret of being a siren. Naema herself is an Eloko, which means she can sing a song that influences the behavior of others. She doesn't see herself as a villain and this book gives us a chance to see her perspective. After the events in the first book, Naema faces backlash from the press and removes herself from the scene. As she tries to get her life back, she discovers a group online using the hashtag #justicefornaema who is looking to punish others who may be sirens. The problem is all sirens are black girls so Naema sees it as double-bad since it appears to be a front for racist individuals to act on their feelings. This was a good follow-up to A Song Below Water and while I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the first book, it was still a good read. I didn't connect with Naema as much as a main character as I did with those from the first book. I did like that the author used the story to show the dangers of people getting riled up on social media and how there can always be racism lurking even under different guises. Thank you to the publisher for the audio book!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Isaiah

    I got an ARC of this book. I am really just not having a good time when it comes to YA books lately. This was one I was dying to have. I have talked about the first book so much. Then I saw the cover and I LOVED it. I was ready. I was counting down until I could start to read it, but then I started to read it. The book was boring. It was a lot of woe is me, everyone hates me because I am a terrible person. Other reviewers mention there is a redemption arc much later in the book, but I didn't mak I got an ARC of this book. I am really just not having a good time when it comes to YA books lately. This was one I was dying to have. I have talked about the first book so much. Then I saw the cover and I LOVED it. I was ready. I was counting down until I could start to read it, but then I started to read it. The book was boring. It was a lot of woe is me, everyone hates me because I am a terrible person. Other reviewers mention there is a redemption arc much later in the book, but I didn't make it. I couldn't last that long. I wanted to care. I felt bad that the stoning had the power it did, but it was also really, really hard to care that someone who was just so not pleasant had bad things happen to her based on what she had done. At one point she even mentions cancel culture, which should have been the time for me to nope out.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    WARNING: SPOILERS “Whatever you think I can do or will do, I promise, you don’t.” While Naema is an antagonist in A Song Below Water, she is surely not a villain because frankly, in my opinion, teen girls cannot be villains—especially girls who are victims, like Naema. Although, as Morrow writes, “Victims can have victims”. A Chorus Rises picks up a year after the events of the first book and is told from Naema’s point of view. It has sections of online articles and messaging transcripts mixed in, WARNING: SPOILERS “Whatever you think I can do or will do, I promise, you don’t.” While Naema is an antagonist in A Song Below Water, she is surely not a villain because frankly, in my opinion, teen girls cannot be villains—especially girls who are victims, like Naema. Although, as Morrow writes, “Victims can have victims”. A Chorus Rises picks up a year after the events of the first book and is told from Naema’s point of view. It has sections of online articles and messaging transcripts mixed in, which I thought broadened the world and grounded it. Naema is described as a popular girl in the first book with an online following on Eloko Verified, also known as LOVE, which is explored more here. We’re also privy to Naema’s personal journey of dealing with life after being Stoned and her identity not only as Eloko but as a Black girl. It is all incredibly well done and written with delicacy and care. "At least the story I’m going to tell will be true. At least they’ll know at last, who the real villain is.” What Morrow does wonderfully is take real life situations and put them in a fantastical space that I really love. Noting this, I think it’s interesting how most girls’ problems and interests are trivialized, but not these girls. Something that was between two girls, Tavia and Naema, became a movie that spurred a website, an exile of THE Eloko Princess and a whole lot of mess. Tavia and Naema are not only victims to each other, but also to others, though they’re both just magical Black girls who made mistakes. It’s as if there was only one girl allowed to be loved at a given moment in time—which is completely vile—and in this book, Tavia is basking in newfound popularity while Naema’s life is in constant readjustment after she was awakened. Feeling betrayed, she decides to leave Portland altogether, even if it’s only to visit her family in the southwest for a while. It was really cool to learn more Eloko lore, which I was really interested in back when I first read ASBW, and it was also cool to pick up with Tavia and see her growth. However, let’s not get it confused, this is Naema’s story. As someone who loves when family dynamics are explored in literature, I love that Naema is not only able to connect to her living relatives she previously had little connection with, but she is also able to tap into a lost Eloko power and connect with her ancestors. Through this power, we see her develop her more empathy than what we already saw in ASBW. While she did harmful things in the first book, she inevitably still remains true to the network and doesn’t expose their secrets, despite the harm they cause her. Naema could’ve been spiteful, and many times over but she isn’t, not really, especially to those who aren’t deserving of it. All she wanted was for Tavia and Effie’s actions to be held accountable in the same way she was. “What we’re not gonna do is start thanking our attackers for our personal growth.” Naema is no martyr, hero, or symbol for anyone’s cause. She is Eloko and a Black girl and neither cancels out the other, which I love most about her. She is guided by Naema and she never stops loving herself. I think what’s really great about this book is it recontextualizes the events of the first book, that no one lives in a bubble and everyone’s choices have consequences. I think what a lot of people, including myself, misunderstood about Naema is that she is not someone who thinks “I am better than you”. She simply states with every fiber of her being “I am worthy”, and for that I love and respect her character so so much! This book is fantastic for so many reasons that I want to get into now. Again, the ancestral wisdom that Naema wields is so cool, I think I need another book with her, or maybe we can pick up with her and Effie in a third installment—I’m just not ready to completely leave this world yet. Then, there are the scenes when she is visiting her cousin in prison and I really appreciate prison scenes in YA because a lot of us have had family members, even multiple ones, in prison. And though I don’t want to necessarily normalize prison, I think it’s great how Morrow sheds light on the experience of seeing loved ones in that space and the effort that goes into those visits. I also just appreciate the discussion about the prison industrial complex as a whole because a lot of people, if not most, are locked away unjustly. Then, there’s Courtney. I absolutely love his character and how he interacts with Naema. From the nicknames to the extended family details, I just thought this aspect was awesome. Since we really only saw Naema as a mean girl in the first book, thanks to Tavia and Effie’s narration, it was nice to see her as the same girl, but not just an antagonist. This book shows that there’s more than one side to every story. Instead of trying to redeem Naema, this book allows her to learn from her mistakes and finds the commonality between her and Tavia. Most importantly I love how Naema does not stand for the erasure of her Blackness, it’s truly profound. Also, something that Morrow does with this book as she did with her first is to examine and indict the systems at play, as she put it in our past interview. As noted, she does this with the prison system as well as with discussions of privilege, race, and how the interplay of these things can impact liability and social status in and out of the social media sphere. Morrow pushes readers to consider how Black girls are pit against each other and how Black and Brown people are made to believe we’re only worthy as ‘tokens’. I adored the first book last year and even reread it for a third time before I read this one but man, I must say, A Chorus Rises is a sequel that knocks its predecessor out of being my #1 Bethany C. Morrow book. It’s really amazing and captures a type of character I think we need more of. Naema Bradshaw is unapologetic, confident, and snarky—which if she were a male character I’m sure there’d be more fanfare— but that’s a discussion for another day. Speaking of fanfare, I really liked how Naema had a whole fanbase and how we see that shift due to the events of the first novel and the uprise of the Knights of Naema site. The way that Morrow calls out the super weird side of stan culture and palatability. Overall, this book felt really meta, like the first few chapters were really Morrow taking jabs at herself or even reiterating hate comments and reviews and I live for that kind of self-referential playfulness. As a huge fan of Morrow as an author and person, I can’t wait to read her next book, which won’t be long since So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix is out September 7th! Pre-Order it now! Check out my blog post and others like it on Pine Reads Review! link: The Exiled Eloko Princess: Naema Tells Her Side | Looking at A Chorus Rises

  18. 5 out of 5

    Pippin Hart • The Pigeon

    WHAT?! Yes.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    Don't know what else I expected when the mean girl gets her own book. I brought this on myself, really. !!Mild A Song Below Water spoilers ahead!! Full review at A Book Shrew A Chorus Rises is the companion novel to A Song Below Water. While this is a standalone, I recommend reading the first book to truly understand the events and emotions that play out here. It's been a year since I read ASBW, but I thought this did a great job of refreshing me. A year on, Naima Bradshaw is upset about a lot of Don't know what else I expected when the mean girl gets her own book. I brought this on myself, really. !!Mild A Song Below Water spoilers ahead!! Full review at A Book Shrew A Chorus Rises is the companion novel to A Song Below Water. While this is a standalone, I recommend reading the first book to truly understand the events and emotions that play out here. It's been a year since I read ASBW, but I thought this did a great job of refreshing me. A year on, Naima Bradshaw is upset about a lot of things, namely the gaps in the story being told of her, Tavia the siren and Effie the gorgon. She was turned to stone last year on Tavia's order, but all anyone sees is her outing the siren on livestream and more. While Tavia's celebrity has skyrocketed with a movie of her story newly released, Naima's platform and status as an Eloko has taken a hit, and she only knows one way forward. She's out to set the record straight and show the world who Tavia really is. Straight up, a lot of my thoughts about this book boil down to Naima being the main character. She is ... not a very likeable person. I was not a fan of her in ASBW, and being in her head did not change that. She is very self-centered, vain and rather petty, but she at least knows this. It's who she is. There is a big heart under all that attitude and snark, yes, but it was buried a little too deep for her to endear herself to me. I get that she went through a time in the last year, being one of Effie's stoning victims, but I was not into the pity-party for one. Most of the book, I found her to be constantly griping about Tavia this, Effie that, I am the true victim here. Essentially the queen bee has been dethroned and she can't take it. Likewise, the character development throughout this book didn't do it for me. At what point was I supposed to like Naima? I so badly wanted to root for her but she made it so hard with her personality. At one point, I thought I was only a quarter of the way through the audiobook because of where she was in her character arc, and was shocked to find I was just past the 65% mark. And nothing truly interesting happens until three quarters through, when we start piecing together the smaller things and there are serious implications to deal with. It was disappointing that it took so long for the story to evolve into something to kick start the main character's change. As with ASBW, there are tough discussions of race, being Black enough, and weaponizing racism. And as with it's predecessor, these conversations were thought-provoking and well done once they finally came into play with the story as a whole. However, the Black girl magic that shone before was really missing here. There was a lot of heart and love and an incredible layering of themes in the first book with the two sisters discovering who they were. Here, it barely came up. Perhaps that is because Naima already knows she is as an Eloko and has been celebrated for it for years. There is little for her to find out about herself in that respect. That said, I'm still not entirely sure what an Eloko can do. They have a trill that people love to hear, but is that all it is? Am I missing something more? I really enjoyed A Song Below Water and had high hopes for this companion novel. Unfortunately, the main character did not let me embrace her version of the story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Frosta Wings It

    4.66 stars Full review: https://frostawingsit.ca/2021/06/01/a... I read A Chorus Rises as an audiobook produced by Macmillan Audio. It is a beautiful production, and in my opinion, Cherise Boothe and Eboni Flowers brought the characters to life and honoured the story. The pace was impeccable, the chemistry undeniable, and Naema's journey was even more potent through "her" voice. For such a polarizing character, after all, she starts the book as the villain; I feel that hearing her allowed me to g 4.66 stars Full review: https://frostawingsit.ca/2021/06/01/a... I read A Chorus Rises as an audiobook produced by Macmillan Audio. It is a beautiful production, and in my opinion, Cherise Boothe and Eboni Flowers brought the characters to life and honoured the story. The pace was impeccable, the chemistry undeniable, and Naema's journey was even more potent through "her" voice. For such a polarizing character, after all, she starts the book as the villain; I feel that hearing her allowed me to go into her journey without bias. I hope that makes sense! Naema's arc was really well done. She was still the same character from A Song Below Water and acted her age very much as she is now facing things she didn't expect - infamy, loss of followers, and bad press. I appreciated that her journey wasn't linear and that she couldn't change until she understood why changing was necessary. Hers was a beautiful coming-of-age story. A chorus rises read more contemporary than fantasy, and I did miss a bit of the magical elements. I would love to see a third book, now that characters and mythology are established. A Chorus Rise is a journey about finding your value within yourself and learning who you are. Morrow's use of metaphors and analogies is superb, delicate, and powerful. Disclaimer: I first read it as an ARC. In exchange for an honest review, I am thankful to Macmillan Audio, Bethany C. Morrow, and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of A Chorus Rises.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Wren (fablesandwren)

    Thank you Tor Books for an advanced reader of this book! This review is my own. I enjoyed this book more than the first one. I am not sure if it is because the character development was stronger or what it was, but I did actually enjoy Naema's perspective a lot. If you remember, she was the mean girl in the first book and was painted as such in the up-coming film about Tavia's (POV from first book) life. So as one does, she leaves to go live with estranged-family. Being an Eloko, Naema has lived Thank you Tor Books for an advanced reader of this book! This review is my own. I enjoyed this book more than the first one. I am not sure if it is because the character development was stronger or what it was, but I did actually enjoy Naema's perspective a lot. If you remember, she was the mean girl in the first book and was painted as such in the up-coming film about Tavia's (POV from first book) life. So as one does, she leaves to go live with estranged-family. Being an Eloko, Naema has lived off of her status and her powers, but her estranged-family doesn't care about any of that. They will love her for who she is and not her labels, and that is something she has to soul-search for. When soul-searching, she may also see where her ancestors are from. This book was different in the fact it included a lot of mix-media! I actually really enjoyed that addition. As with the last book, there is a lot of talk about privilege, race, and how Black women are portrayed. What I really did love is that she took someone who was the antagonist in one book, and built on that and created a very great character arc. I honestly feel like these books would make a great movie franchise.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Monte Price

    I am incredibly biased and we have to admit that upfront. I still remember seeing this cover get released and I was obsessed; in all honesty it's what finally made me pick up the first book in this duology. I also have to say that this book is nothing like I would have expected it to be. Naema Bradshaw is the archetypal character that I am instantly drawn too. Here I think that Morrow is able to pull of the rehabilitated "It Girl" in a way that I haven't seen before. It's not a long book but we I am incredibly biased and we have to admit that upfront. I still remember seeing this cover get released and I was obsessed; in all honesty it's what finally made me pick up the first book in this duology. I also have to say that this book is nothing like I would have expected it to be. Naema Bradshaw is the archetypal character that I am instantly drawn too. Here I think that Morrow is able to pull of the rehabilitated "It Girl" in a way that I haven't seen before. It's not a long book but we get to see growth and layers in characters that I find lacking. I hesitate to call anything that happens in the book allegory as the fantastical elements are literal in the world the book takes place in, but it has that same quality in explaining the layers of growth and character evolution. I already had a good time my first time with these characters and getting to see Naema and her family was just that much better. I'm officially a Bethany C. Morrow stan, I truly feel sorry for the people that aren't enjoying because it simply could never be me.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stacie

    Many thanks to Tor Teen and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book. It publishes tomorrow and if you enjoyed the first, you definitely want to pick this one up. I admit I was a bit confused at first because I didn't remember a lot of the first one. I should have planned a re-read but June 1 snuck up on me and I wanted to be on time with an ARC review for once! In this book, we start with the aftermath of the big event in A Song Below Water, only this time we pick up with Naema. I really like Many thanks to Tor Teen and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book. It publishes tomorrow and if you enjoyed the first, you definitely want to pick this one up. I admit I was a bit confused at first because I didn't remember a lot of the first one. I should have planned a re-read but June 1 snuck up on me and I wanted to be on time with an ARC review for once! In this book, we start with the aftermath of the big event in A Song Below Water, only this time we pick up with Naema. I really liked this book, especially the way Bethany C. Morrow interwove race relations with her fantasy world. I loved the relationships that formed throughout the story and I so enjoyed watching Naema and crew take down the bad guys. Can't wait to see more from this author in the future!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Galy

    I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! All opinions are my own. What a stunning cover! I love it! It's gorgeous just like the cover of the first book. This is the sequel to A Song Below Water so I won't say anything with spoilers. I wasn't sure about the main character at first but I get it now. We didn't get to really know Naema on the first book so this is her story and it was really good. This book was centered in social media and the in I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! All opinions are my own. What a stunning cover! I love it! It's gorgeous just like the cover of the first book. This is the sequel to A Song Below Water so I won't say anything with spoilers. I wasn't sure about the main character at first but I get it now. We didn't get to really know Naema on the first book so this is her story and it was really good. This book was centered in social media and the injustices that happen when people hide behind a phone or computer screen to target black people. And how Naema and her friends fight that. I loved knowing more about Elokos, they're fascinating! Naema was a great main character, this book was perfect to show how she really is. Priam was so good too! I really loved Naema, all her crew and her family. And the friendships here were beautiful. I just love Bethany C. Morrow's stories. I'm low-key hoping for more books in this series!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

    The story was great, but the writing wasn't always my cup of tea. I understand we are in a teen girl's head, but I had to re-read badly worded sentences a few too many times for my liking and that had everything to do with the quality of the writing and nothing to do with the teen's vernacular. Overall, a solid sequel. (But the first one is better.) The story was great, but the writing wasn't always my cup of tea. I understand we are in a teen girl's head, but I had to re-read badly worded sentences a few too many times for my liking and that had everything to do with the quality of the writing and nothing to do with the teen's vernacular. Overall, a solid sequel. (But the first one is better.)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    Not as captivating as the first book, but still a wonderful social commentary!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Buck

    **Thank you to Netgalley and Tor Teen for letting me read this in advance in exchange for an honest review** After finishing "A Song Below Water" earlier this year I was thrilled to see that there was going to be a sequel. Tbh I was a bit apprehensive about reading this as this is from the point of view of Naema and if you read the first book you know what happened at the end. It turns out this book was really good and the way Bethany C. Morrow managed to convince me to change my opinion about N **Thank you to Netgalley and Tor Teen for letting me read this in advance in exchange for an honest review** After finishing "A Song Below Water" earlier this year I was thrilled to see that there was going to be a sequel. Tbh I was a bit apprehensive about reading this as this is from the point of view of Naema and if you read the first book you know what happened at the end. It turns out this book was really good and the way Bethany C. Morrow managed to convince me to change my opinion about Naema (even tho she is still slightly stuck in her ways) and to also write about race issues so effectively is amazing!! I cannot wait to read future works by this author and is she decided to publish more "A Song Below Water" books, I won't complain :)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stacia | stacialovestoread

    DNF @ 44% Imma be honest. I’m not liking this one as much as I liked A Song Below Water. Naema is a spoiled brat who thinks the world revolves around her, and she doesn’t see that her actions have consequences. I am very thankful to Tor for the ARC, and a finished copy of this book. Receiving these materials in no way impacted my review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pine Reads Review

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. “Whatever you think I can do or will do, I promise, you don’t.” While Naema is an antagonist in A Song Below Water, she is surely not a villain because frankly, in my opinion, teen girls cannot be villains—especially girls who are victims, like Naema. Although, as Morrow writes, “Victims can have victims”. A Chorus Rises picks up a year after the events of the first book and is told from Naema’s point of view. It has sections of online articles and messaging transcripts mixed in, which I thought “Whatever you think I can do or will do, I promise, you don’t.” While Naema is an antagonist in A Song Below Water, she is surely not a villain because frankly, in my opinion, teen girls cannot be villains—especially girls who are victims, like Naema. Although, as Morrow writes, “Victims can have victims”. A Chorus Rises picks up a year after the events of the first book and is told from Naema’s point of view. It has sections of online articles and messaging transcripts mixed in, which I thought broadened the world and grounded it. Naema is described as a popular girl in the first book with an online following on Eloko Verified, also known as LOVE, which is explored more here. We’re also privy to Naema’s personal journey of dealing with life after being Stoned and her identity not only as Eloko but as a Black girl. It is all incredibly well done and written with delicacy and care. “At least the story I’m going to tell will be true. At least they’ll know at last, who the real villain is.” What Morrow does wonderfully is take real life situations and put them in a fantastical space that I really love. Noting this, I think it’s interesting how most girls’ problems and interests are trivialized, but not these girls. Something that was between two girls, Tavia and Naema, became a movie that spurred a website, an exile of THE Eloko Princess and a whole lot of mess. Tavia and Naema are not only victims to each other, but also to others, though they’re both just magical Black girls who made mistakes. It’s as if there was only one girl allowed to be loved at a given moment in time—which is completely vile—and in this book, Tavia is basking in newfound popularity while Naema’s life is in constant readjustment after she was awakened. Feeling betrayed, she decides to leave Portland altogether, even if it’s only to visit her family in the southwest for a while. It was really cool to learn more Eloko lore, which I was really interested in back when I first read ASBW, and it was also cool to pick up with Tavia and see her growth. However, let’s not get it confused, this is Naema’s story. As someone who loves when family dynamics are explored in literature, I love that Naema is not only able to connect to her living relatives she previously had little connection with, but she is also able to tap into a lost Eloko power and connect with her ancestors. Through this power, we see her develop her more empathy than what we already saw in ASBW. While she did harmful things in the first book, she inevitably still remains true to the network and doesn’t expose their secrets, despite the harm they cause her. Naema could’ve been spiteful, and many times over but she isn’t, not really, especially to those who aren’t deserving of it. All she wanted was for Tavia and Effie’s actions to be held accountable in the same way she was. “What we’re not gonna do is start thanking our attackers for our personal growth.” Naema is no martyr, hero, or symbol for anyone’s cause. She is Eloko and a Black girl and neither cancels out the other, which I love most about her. She is guided by Naema and she never stops loving herself. I think what’s really great about this book is it recontextualizes the events of the first book, that no one lives in a bubble and everyone’s choices have consequences. I think what a lot of people, including myself, misunderstood about Naema is that she is not someone who thinks “I am better than you”. She simply states with every fiber of her being “I am worthy”, and for that I love and respect her character so so much! This book is fantastic for so many reasons that I want to get into now. Again, the ancestral wisdom that Naema wields is so cool, I think I need another book with her, or maybe we can pick up with her and Effie in a third installment—I’m just not ready to completely leave this world yet. Then, there are the scenes when she is visiting her cousin in prison and I really appreciate prison scenes in YA because a lot of us have had family members, even multiple ones, in prison. And though I don’t want to necessarily normalize prison, I think it’s great how Morrow sheds light on the experience of seeing loved ones in that space and the effort that goes into those visits. I also just appreciate the discussion about the prison industrial complex as a whole because a lot of people, if not most, are locked away unjustly. Then, there’s Courtney. I absolutely love his character and how he interacts with Naema. From the nicknames to the extended family details, I just thought this aspect was awesome. Since we really only saw Naema as a mean girl in the first book, thanks to Tavia and Effie’s narration, it was nice to see her as the same girl, but not just an antagonist. This book shows that there’s more than one side to every story. Instead of trying to redeem Naema, this book allows her to learn from her mistakes and finds the commonality between her and Tavia. Most importantly I love how Naema does not stand for the erasure of her Blackness, it’s truly profound. Also, something that Morrow does with this book as she did with her first is to examine and indict the systems at play, as she put it in our past interview. As noted, she does this with the prison system as well as with discussions of privilege, race, and how the interplay of these things can impact liability and social status in and out of the social media sphere. Morrow pushes readers to consider how Black girls are pit against each other and how Black and Brown people are made to believe we’re only worthy as ‘tokens’. I adored the first book last year and even reread it for a third time before I read this one but man, I must say, A Chorus Rises is a sequel that knocks its predecessor out of being my #1 Bethany C. Morrow book. It’s really amazing and captures a type of character I think we need more of. Naema Bradshaw is unapologetic, confident, and snarky—which if she were a male character I’m sure there’d be more fanfare— but that’s a discussion for another day. Speaking of fanfare, I really liked how Naema had a whole fanbase and how we see that shift due to the events of the first novel and the uprise of the Knights of Naema site. The way that Morrow calls out the super weird side of stan culture and palatability. Overall, this book felt really meta, like the first few chapters were really Morrow taking jabs at herself or even reiterating hate comments and reviews and I live for that kind of self-referential playfulness. As a huge fan of Morrow as an author and person, I can’t wait to read her next book, which won’t be long since So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix is out September 7th! Pre-Order it now! Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @pinereadsreview and check out our website at www.pinereadsreview.com for reviews, author interviews, blogs, podcast episodes, and more!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Fatima

    I'm giving this 1 star, and that's probably being generous. The MC is awful. I loathed her. She is a 2D, self centered, and entitled mean girl. No attempt at a redemption arc until over 75% of the way through, and then it was underdeveloped, rushed and simply too little too late.... There was no growth or development. It was more like I knew I was supposed to feel for her by the end but there were no reasons why I should. It was boring and frustrating to read her prattle on and justify her despica I'm giving this 1 star, and that's probably being generous. The MC is awful. I loathed her. She is a 2D, self centered, and entitled mean girl. No attempt at a redemption arc until over 75% of the way through, and then it was underdeveloped, rushed and simply too little too late.... There was no growth or development. It was more like I knew I was supposed to feel for her by the end but there were no reasons why I should. It was boring and frustrating to read her prattle on and justify her despicable behaviour. I really had to push myself to finish this book. I'm struggling to think of something nice to say about it.... The first book, A Song Below Water, was better and worth the read. But this installment was a massive disappointment. I can't say I'm inclined to pick up anything that comes after this.

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