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Summer Reading in YA

Readers, we’re well into the second half of July. The sun is finally shining. At Island Books we’re turning on the fans, stocking the fridge in the break room with La Croix, and turning off as many lights as we can get away with while still being able to read titles on book spines. We’re all, of course, wearing our masks.

Customers are in the mood for summer reads, so here are several titles from the Young Adult section of the store that I’m excited about!

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

This summer a highly anticipated title is the YA debut by the author of the adult title Mem. Morrow sets her story in a contemporary alternative world where portions of the population have various mythical abilities and identities. Inherent in these identities are built in assumptions and prejudices, the most heightened of which are towards “sirens”, always Black females. Tavia is a siren in hiding, trying to pretend she’s a normal teenager, terrified that anyone will discover her secret. Effie is her best friend and a “mermaid” at the annual Renaissance Faire, struggling to understand who and what she is. Morrow’s backdrop is Portland, and the unfolding events are eerily prescient of the current BLM protests and reactions in Portland and other cities. She paints a illuminating picture of the fear Black women live with every day and the bias they fight to overcome. I was captivated. I don’t know what to compare it to because I haven’t read anything like it before. The demand has been high for this book but we have finally gotten more copies!