Reviews

Signal to Noise, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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

templetongate's review against another edition

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4.0

The fantasy element could have been deleted without affecting the overall quality of the story, but it did add depth to the characters. Full review at http://templetongate.net/signaltonoise.htm

nica00's review against another edition

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5.0

A while ago, I sat next to an old man on the train and we smiled at each other and shook our heads, chuckling as next to us a tiny young boy threw a temper tantrum concerning his wrong-colored lollipop. It was a moment that evoked a mix of amusement, empathy, and tender pity and I said, “Everything is just sooo important at that age.” I thought soon enough this boy will know all too well about the compromises and quiet disappointments of life, let him live fully in his little passion just a bit longer.

I thought about that train ride after reading Signal to Noise. This story is filled with emotionally immature characters (adult and adolescents both) hurting themselves, hurting each other, saying the opposite of what they feel inside, saying it too late. They were a hot mess, but I was riveted for every minute of it feeling that same mix of amusement, empathy, and tender pity.

I absolutely adored the music motifs woven throughout. The song references provide a freaking amazing soundtrack. The magical realism added some heft to things & was extremely enjoyable but a side note really; the star of this book was characterization...the complexity of mundane people interacting in mundane ways that feel just sooo important in that moment, their love and their losses intertwined over and over again as life continues. In that sense this book is what I wished Normal People by Sally Rooney had been.

msjenne's review against another edition

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3.0

I came across this while straightening the shelves at the library and something about it caught my attention. I wished the prose had been a little more polished, but the story grabbed me and the people felt real and specific. Plus I now know about bands like Soda Stereo and Duncan Dhu! Worth it.

ecath's review against another edition

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4.0

Full disclosure: I know the author and received a copy of this book for review through Netgalley. That doesn't diminish the strengths of the book; the characters have a nice authenticity, even if I wish there had been more exploration as to motives and feelings. The book has a great sense of place and time; I love how the author layers the past and the present into one unfolding story, glimmers of each time frame sparking in the other. Sometimes the reader will be ahead of the characters, which makes for a fun ride.

booksandliquids's review

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

mdpenguin's review against another edition

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2.0

Moreno-Garcia paints a vivid picture of her characters and their setting but it's a lot more young-adult-y than I like. I figured that it would contrast an adult perspective with teenage heartache and angst but the characters don't really mature at all. I would have left this without a star rating if it weren't for the fact that it actually seems to be trying to celebrate abusive relationships instead of warning against them.
SpoilerReally, in a just world, Meche should have found herself alone and miserable in the end for the way that she treated the people who cared about her. Sebastian's fascination with her and his bizarre desire to dominate her to make her let him submit to her cruel indifference is beyond unhealthy. To end the novel with them getting together as though it were a good thing is pretty disgusting.

raven_morgan's review against another edition

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5.0

An eARC of this book was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. After reading the ARC, I have purchased my own copy.

***

"Signal to Noise" follows three friends, Meche, Sebastian and Daniela, along two timelines - 1989, when Meche is fifteen in Mexico City, and 2009, after Meche has lived away from Mexico City, her family and her friends, and returns home after her father dies.

Fifteen-year-old Meche loves music, and uses it to escape from and to block out the world. She sees herself as an outcast, her only friends Sebastian and the malleable, sweet Daniela. One day, Meche plays a record and makes a wish. When it comes true, she realises that she can do magic using music. She enlists her friends in a kind of witches circle, and the three of them discover for the first time that they have real power.

This is a coming of age book that I think would appeal to both younger and older readers. Specific music is mentioned many times, and I challenge anyone who grew up in the eighties (or is familiar with much of the mentioned music) not to have a virtual soundtrack going through their head as they read the book. Meche herself is a fascinating character - she's not always likeable, and her emotions can be unstable (in the way of many teenagers trying to find their way and self), but her actions - even when they are truly dark - are always understandable.

This is a truly amazing debut, and I hope we'll see much more of Moreno-Garcia's work to come.