Reviews

Signal to Noise, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

herwitchiness's review against another edition

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5.0

short & sweet summary and review:
Looking for a standalone fantasy novel set in Mexico? Look no further! This book focuses on three best friends and is set both in their senior year of high school in 1988 as well as more current with them reunited the first time in 20 years in 2009. It features the most realistic magic I’ve seen in realistic fantasy books as well as extremely relatable characters & is one I originally thought I wouldn’t finish but after another 30 minutes, I was hooked (1hr30m is exactly where I was drawn in) & I can’t recommend this novel enough. Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a really brilliant writer & I’m excited to get her newest book on Audible next week!

longer, more in depth thoughts:

With all the dehumanizing of Mexico by the current US government, it’s important, I think, to read novels & stories & memoirs that are by and about Mexico & the culture and many many people that call her home. It fights back against propaganda in a very effective way & I think this will be the first book of many I focus on the rest of the year. Reading fosters empathy and compassion even when the news or government tries to strip you of those things.

I really enjoyed the story & characters. Honestly, the characters are the most vivid aspect of this novel & usually I prefer more plot-focused fantasy however this worked better for this particular book & I really loved reading it. I’m glad I went with the audiobook version (available only on Audible, unfortunately but Ana Bayat does a wonderful job) because the characters felt more real & like Meche was sitting next to me telling me her coming of age story. The magic is perhaps the most realistic form of magic I’ve seen in fantasy realism. Definitely a book worth checking out!

archergal's review against another edition

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3.0

I wanted to like this book more than I did. It's a tale about music, teen love and angst, and how your life can look different 20 years later.

Spoilery stuff from here on out.

First off, I don't really listen to music that much. The mix-tape generation was largely after my time. And I don't know anything of the Mexican/Hispanic artists referenced (I'm sure that's my loss), so all that part went over my head. :(

And I didn't like Meche, the main female character. I thought she was petty and honestly kinda toxic. She found out she could work some magic when properly stimulated by music. And, in Terry Pratchett terms, just *just missed* the cackling phase of witchcraft, the kind where you start building gingerbread houses, stuffing children in ovens, and trying to kill your best friend. O.o She probably would have succeeded in the last item if her grandmother hadn't deus-ex-machina'd her own magic into the story and saved Sebastian's life.

Sebastian's a little more self-aware. Honestly, he grew up to be a better person, because he wasn't nursing a 20 YEAR GRUDGE like Meche did. In spite of the "happy ending", I had sad visions of Sebastian turning out like Meche's father did, years after falling in love with Meche's mother. He slowly got sadder and more beaten down by his faults, real and perceived-by-his-wife. Based on Meche's attitude, I don't think Sebastian would fare much better in the long run.

Heh, I guess the book made me think more about the people and relationships in it than I thought!
I did have to work to finish it though. I suspect I'm not the target audience for this book. YMMV.

hawkorhandsaw's review

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emotional mysterious sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

rivqa's review against another edition

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4.0

Loved the grumpy main character, the complex and flawed relationships, and the music. 'You can never go home again' except sometimes you have to. Grief, regret and magic.

imbookingit's review against another edition

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4.0

3.5 stars.

I liked the world and the lead character.

I didn't love the secondary characters. There was something about the writing that didn't grab me in as I would have expected, but I can't put my finger on what it was. It wasn't bad by any means, just a little... flat?

loiereads's review against another edition

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3.0

3.5 stars.
Signal To Noise is a magical-realism novel about three “uncool” friends, Meche, Sebastian and Daniela, who happen to stumble upon the fact that music has magical powers. With these magical powers, the three teenagers start imagining a better world where they can alter their problems and get whatever they want, thinking that magic is the answer to everything. However, as the story progresses, we begin to see that perhaps the magic is too strong and dangerous for the teenagers to handle.
I was intrigued by the magic-realism aspect. I haven’t read too much magic-realism in my time and so I thought it would be a good experience to explore into something that I haven’t got a lot of experience in. 
The book is classed as a novel for YA readers, but as I got to about halfway through, I started to feel that it was trying to target an older audience. It doesn’t feel like your typical YA novel while reading.
I actually disliked Meche’s character a lot. I felt as though she were too cold, arrogant and stubborn. If I had a friend that acted like Meche, you can bet that they wouldn’t be my friend for long. I feel as though the book slightly endorses unhealthy and toxic friendships.
It was a good read that helped me to view the magical-realism genre a bit more, but it wasn’t the greatest book I’ve ever read. At only 272 pages, it was quite easy to sit down with and gently read through, but only about 30% of the book was thoroughly enjoyable for me.
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You can read my full review on Signal To Noise on my Wordpress blog at:
https://loiereads.wordpress.com/2020/07/29/signal-to-noise-a-review/

garibae's review

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emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5


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cchu1215's review against another edition

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3.0

A great story of the power of youth, magic, and music. The author captures the tumultuous feelings and confusions of being a teenager. It was also fun to look up the music referenced in the book that I didn't know.

pdestrienne's review

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dark emotional tense medium-paced

3.5

A cute but dark love story - felt the characters were better realized as adolescents 

hollyl's review

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medium-paced

2.5