Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Signal to Noise

"I hate this city," she told the pillow, because she wouldn't tell him.

Music as magic. 1988 and 2009. A story split between two fixed points, a friendship then and what it might be now.

Set in Mexico City, this novel follows a young teen named Meche, a loner who adores music and is friends with two other loners, Sebastian and Daniela. When Meche discovers she can cast spells using records, her life is changed.



Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Solaris, 2015
Copy from library
Read Harder challenge


Initially, it seems this magical skill can only improve Meche's life, even though Sebastian and Daniela are less convinced. Angry teenagers wielding magic leads right where you can imagine, and I loved every minute of it. Moreno-Garcia beautifully articulates that awful, oppressive, unshakeable frustration one suffers as a teen, and the ugly wishes Meche manifests resonated with me so strongly. At times, Meche is so unlikable, but realistically so: you want to shake her as much as hug her.

Interwoven in Meche's story is that of her father, a music lover searching for a magical fix of his own, so to speak. His own happy ending. The journey to find it has costs, like Meche's journey for happiness. The bittersweet realism in this book is what keeps it from being flimsy, soft, or too fantastical.

I could have taken another two hundred pages of this book; I wasn't ready to leave Meche as a teen or adult. Like a great mix that leaves you laying on bed in the dark, not asleep, not awake, Signal to Noise left me satisfied and wanting more.

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