Signal To Noise

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Pub Date 13 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 06 Sep 2022
Rebellion, Solaris

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A beautiful new edition of Moreno-Garcia's stunning debut, featuring an illustrated cover by legendary artist Jim Tierney

Mexico City, 1988. Long before iTunes or MP3s, you said "I love you" with a mixtape. Meche, awkward and fifteen, discovers how to cast spells using music, and with her friends Sebastian and Daniela will piece together their broken families, and even find love...

Two decades after abandoning the metropolis, Meche returns for her estranged father's funeral, reviving memories from her childhood she thought she buried a long time ago. What really happened back then? Is there any magic left?
A beautiful new edition of Moreno-Garcia's stunning debut, featuring an illustrated cover by legendary artist Jim Tierney

Mexico City, 1988. Long before iTunes or MP3s, you said "I love you" with a...

Advance Praise

“Haunting and beautifully nuanced, Signal to Noise is a magical first novel.” – The Guardian

“Plenty of books use magic to talk about coming-of-age stories and the secrets that people bury… but few of them are as sad, or as evocative, as Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s new novel Signal to Noise.” – io9

“Vibrantly new… one of the most important fantasy debuts of the year.” – Locus

“Numerous ‘80s musical references make this unusual story a welcome blast from the past.” – Publishers Weekly

“In many ways, Signal to Noise is a coming-of-age tale, but it’s also the tale of what comes after – and what happens when forces beyond our control, magical or otherwise, are better left that way.” – NPR

“The book is this rich, elaborate symphony of awesome that defies simple definitions.” – Kirkus

“This charming literary fantasy will resonate for readers of all ages.” – Barnes & Novle Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

“If you like well-drawn characters, cool tunes and lashings and lashings of nostalgia, then you should check this out.” – Starburst Magazine

“Haunting and beautifully nuanced, Signal to Noise is a magical first novel.” – The Guardian

“Plenty of books use magic to talk about coming-of-age stories and the secrets that people bury… but few...

Available Editions

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ISBN 9781786186447
PRICE CA$22.99 (CAD)

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Average rating from 246 members

Featured Reviews

I love literally everything Silvia Moreno Garcia writes and this is no exception. I love the characters amd the plot and the setting and how much feeling SMG puts into the story without overwriting it. 5 stars.

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Silvia is my favorite forever, I would read literally anything she pens. I love this witchy story of misfits figuring out friendship, love, and sorcery. I love her main characters. They’re never sugar sweet and so refreshing. Also the music on this book? 👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻

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Moreno- Garcia blows my mind with how her books are all so different from eachother but are always absolutely fantastic, this is my fifth book by her and she hasn't let me down yet!
Signal to Noise is a nostalgic coming-of-age story focusing on three friends who discover the power of magic through music. Ringleader Meche is overbearing and prickly but that makes her softer moments even more tender and I especially felt that in her relationship with her grandmother. Infact for someone that could come across as wholly unlikeable I really felt for Meche, both in the 80s and as an adult. I liked how this story could have just been about magic but was balanced beautifully by exploring friendship families and growing up.

Thank you Netgalley and Rebellion Publishing for providing me with a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review

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Really fun book about adolescent love in every frustrating aspect of it. This novel is filled with magic, love,. and friendship like no other.

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This story, with its many layers of significance, deeply felt emotions, and real life characters felt so relatable to me that I felt spoken to in a soul level.

One of my favorites by an author that writes profound books.

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Silvia Moreno-Garcia did it again. She makes me fall in love with her stories every time I open one of her books, and even though this one is a bit different from what I have read from her before, it was no exception. The story is filled with music, magic and love. Sometimes these interwine and this mix creates and transforms everything we will be reading. Meche was such a complex character, I could relate to her on ocasions, and there were moments where I just wished I could talk her out of many things. The story does not have major plot-twists or great/grandiose revelations but it does not mean that it won't make you feel things, and that is very powerful.

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Childhood friends to lovers. Second chance romance. Found family. Flashback scenes. Magic, music, and morally grey main characters. I love this book so much.

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An incredible read, well written with a captivating storyline, well developed characters and nostalgia aplenty. I really loved it,

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This is a republished edition of her debut book and it is a work of music, magic, and love that shines. Set across dual timelines in Mexico City it is a fantasy, a love story and ax coming of age story rolled into a single beautiful book.

The characters are complex, flawed and totally relatable. The story is a tribute to great musicians and songwriters and of course Mexico in all it’s complex, strange and wondrous beauty.

There are no major occurrences or plot twists, but once again she delivers a story that is powerful in its own right.

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I have not read all of the works of Silvia Moreno- Garcia, but those that I have read have been favorites of mine. (Certain Dark Things, Gods of Jade and Shadow, Velvet Was the Night). Even though her books are NEVER the same, each of the three books that I have read so far has ended up being a favorite of mine. Now, with Signal to Noise, I can count that as FOUR favorites. This book was absolutely fantastic. Told in two timelines of 1988 and 2009, Signal to Noise is the story of Meche, a fifteen girl who learned to cast magic spells using vinyl records in 1988 and who is returning to Mexico City two decades later as a grown woman for her father’s funeral. During this return trip, Meche is forced to confront her broken friendships with Daniela and Sebastian, both of whom meant a great deal to her in 1988, but with whom she had a falling out in 1989.

This novel has music, magic, love, friendship, family, and a bit of nostalgia. Basically, there is a little bit of everything that I love in a book. I could not love this one more!

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I first fell in love with the writing of Silvia Moreno Garcia in 2015 when I read Signal To Noise. Since then, she has blown up in much deserved popularity (The Daughter of Doctor Moreau, Velvet Was the Night, Mexican Gothic). Rebelion books has reissued her debut novel and I am recommending it here !

In Signal To Noise we meet Meche (Mercedes) and her two outcast friends living in Mexico City and attending private school in the 1980's. When Meche discovers her power to cast spells via vinyl records, the fun begins! There is a bit of YA unrequited and mismatched love, a bit of revenge and of course supernatural flavors. As many debuts, there is a bit more of the "tell" than the "show" but this novel still spoke to me. Much like the mixed tapes of the 80's there truly wasn't a lot of international literature available to a willing reader and I ate up the descriptions of Mexico City. If you are a Sylvia Moreno- Garcia fan , Mexico City fan, or just love YA love stories with a twist, then Signal to Noise is for you!
#SilviaMorenoGarcia #SignalToNoise #RebellionPublishing

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Like all of Silvia Moreno-Garcia's books, this is a deep and complex novel. It's intricately plotted. It takes place in the 80s, It is part coming-of-age story mixed with romance, morally gray characters and supernatural magic, It's about a fifteen girl who can cast magic spells using vinyl records in 1988 and who is returning to Mexico City two decades later as a grown woman for her father’s funeral. It's an interesting concept. A great book!

Thanks to the publisher for the arc.

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This novel is not a typical pick for me as there are some fantasy aspects, however, it had a well written main character who I found so relatable, drawing me in. I had tremendous empathy with the struggle she had to keep positive relationships with her family and friends while coming of age. I originally selected this book because of it’s integration of music and mention of mixtapes as that was so integral to me growing up.

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Signal to Noise is the third book I’ve read by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and it just confirms my feeling that I want to read all her books. Signal to Noise is about Meche’s return home to a place she left a long time ago angry with everyone. It is about friendship, magic, and music. I loved uncovering exactly what had happened between Meche, Sebastian, and Daniela all those years ago, and how their relationships would play out in the contemporary moment, following the death of Meche’s father.
One of the things I love about Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s work which is highlighted in Signal to Noise is the way she creates characters. Her characters are often flawed in a way that feels entirely and heartbreakingly normal. Meche is exasperating, but in a way that rings very true. I also loved that Meche was so-so about reading, and the continual reminders of acne.
Signal to Noise uses magic in an intriguing way. I initially thought that the way magic worked could have been deepened a bit, but ultimately the uncertainty of the process mirrors so many other kinds of uncertainty that it fits well into the world of the novel.
I felt like Daniela, the third of the trio was sidelined a bit. Meche seemed to acknowledge this eventually, but so much of the teenage drama was about Sebastian and Meche, and I wish there had been a bit more sustained reconnecting in the later timeline with Daniela as well.

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SILVIA DOES IT AGAIN, I know it’s just a reprint but I was so excited for this arc and it didn’t disappoint. Intriguing, captivating, and immediately able to hook. The writing style is so classic and easy to understand. The characters are well developed and the story makes sense in the oddest of ways. Thank you for the opportunity to read!

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I didn't realize this was a re-release at first and was absolutely shocked to find that this was a debut novel?? I don't know how much the original text has been changed/edited for the new edition, but if this is Moreno-Garcia's debut then she's an insta-buy for me from now on.

The writing is so tangible it kicked me straight back in time, and these teenagers felt so real it ached. Meche is brilliantly sharp, possessive, and selfish. But she's also determined and protective, and she loves people fiercely. Even soft,
kind Daniela has a strength of her own.
Moreno-Garcia's characters are so complex, and her women are unapologetically strong in ways that are human of not always appealing.

What can I say about Sebastián. I love him and he's a perfect foil for Meche. Childhood friends to lovers has never been so spicy (or so heartbreaking).

Speaking of heartbreak, Meche's relationship with her dad was gutting to read. The author masterfully weaves timelines and multiple perspectives together. The adult POVs in 1988 were particularly wrenching- all doing their best, all wrapped too tightly in their own heads and their own narratives to be what their children needed.

I've gone for most of this review without talking about the magic because the characters were so strong that honestly, the magic took a more subtle background roll. For a fantasy novel, it doesn't feel like a book about magic. And that's OK. I didn't want to know more about the system- as Meche points out, there's no "magic police" coming to arrest our characters for experimenting. It's private, and intimate, and instinctive, and it fits perfectly in the atmosphere Moreno-Garcia has created.

5/5, one of my favorites this year, and the new cover is stunning!!

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I would like to thank the publisher, Netgalley, and the author for the ARC of this book. I read an advanced copy of this book, so the final edition of the book might be slightly different. All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always.

I think this is now the 4th book of Silvia’s that I’ve read, and still she manages to surprise me every time. I don’t think I’ve ever read an author that has quite so much range, and Signal to Noise is that the latest example of that. It’s unlike the other books I’ve read by this author so far, and yet is still just as strong as the rest of her work.

This book is also just quite unique in general, and I don’t think I’d ever read anything quite like it! I really enjoyed being introduced to a setting that I simply have not read much in yet, and I loved seeing how much the setting played a role, both in the story and in the effect it had on Meche. The writing supported this setting extremely well too, and I could feel the presence of the city in the story. I also really loved how magic was used in this story, and while it’s often hard for me to find urban fantasy that really works for me, this is a great example of what I do love about this genre. It blends the contemporary themes and aspects so well with magic, without either taking too much of the story. I also loved how magic was tied to something so personal to Meche, and that it takes different shapes for everyone.

The narration of this book was also fantastic, and I really enjoyed the flipping back and forth between the past and present. I did have a slight preference for the present, though it also took up less space in the story, but that’s largely because Meche was sometimes so hard to read in the past. She’s a classic teenager, but amplified by her anger and by her newfound magic, and it was easy to get frustrated with her, especially at the end. But even through it all, I found myself understanding her and rooting for her, even if I wouldn’t have made the same decisions.

Overall, I adored this book, and I can’t wait to continue on reading more of Silvia’s works. I wasn’t entirely sure if I would love this one as much as the others, but in the end, it surprised me!

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I've said it before, but Silvia Moreno-Garcia is my favorite author. I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of this book which was already published but is receiving a reprint and new cover. After finishing a SMG book I always feel changed as a person (dramatic, but true). There is something about her writing that is completely absorbing, immersive, and seemingly effortless. The prose and characterization are excellent, the emotion is raw and it's hard not to feel like you carry these stories with you after you're done. Suddenly they're there, in your mind and your heart from the first page through the last.

Signal To Noise is set in Mexico City, and flashes between 1988 and 2009 as Mercedes "Meche" Vega and her friends Sebastian and Daniela in 1988 as teens (and social outcasts) who discover that with music, they can cast spells to change their appearance, their fortune, and affect the lives of others around them, and in 2009 as Meche returns home after learning that her father has passed away. Despite this novel having magic in it, the magic itself is not the central focus. Ultimately this is a novel about class and inequality, about love, wishes, desires, and dreams. Meche is certainly a flawed character. She's kind of a bitch (love that), she's cranky, she can be selfish, she can hold a grudge, she can be condescending, and sort of clueless, but my mean girls should get their stories told too. Seriously the relationship between Sebastian and Meche is just everything to me.

Anyway, SMG once again proving she's talented, showstopping, iconic, brilliant, totally unique.

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Signal to Noise is a reprinting of Silvia Moreno-Garcia's debut novel written originally in 2015 and I think it's a crime this wasn't a hit when it was first published because this story was fantastic with grounded characters and a sprinkle of magic.

One of the most interesting aspects of this story is the use of playing specific records and how Meche could channel that into a form of magic. I also enjoyed how Sebastian and Daniela were there to keep her grounded in the beginning as well as being fully fleshed out characters on their own.

The two timelines that we go back and forth between are great to seeing how Meche's actions as a teen ripple into her adult life when she returns to Mexico City. Then when it all comes together for an especially satisfying ending as Meche is not the most likeable character for a lot of the book.

I highly recommend this to both long time Silvia Moreno-Garcia fans and for people who want to try her books for the first time. Truly a stellar debut that should have received more love when it originally came out.

Overall: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

CW: Alcohol Abuse, Homophobia, Bullying, Sexual Assault, Car Accident, Body Shaming, Emotional Abuse

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"A beautiful new edition of Moreno-Garcia's stunning debut, featuring an illustrated cover by legendary artist Jim Tierney.

Mexico City, 1988. Long before iTunes or MP3s, you said "I love you" with a mixtape. Meche, awkward and fifteen, discovers how to cast spells using music, and with her friends Sebastian and Daniela will piece together their broken families, and even find love...

Two decades after abandoning the metropolis, Meche returns for her estranged father's funeral, reviving memories from her childhood she thought she buried a long time ago. What really happened back then? Is there any magic left?"

The magic of a mixtape. I still have some so ingrained in my head that I can sing my way through them in the shower.

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Signal to noise? Let me offer you another term from acoustics: Acoustic resonance. It is (I quote Wikipedia) “a phenomenon in which an acoustic system amplifies sound waves whose frequency matches one of its own natural frequencies of vibration”.
The story, skillfully written by Silvia Moreno Garcia, resonated so much with elements of my own childhood that I felt entranced by how realistic it felt, even though it is a fantasy novel.
I know it is her first published novel, but I think I like it even more than the next ones from her that I’ve read, probably because of this resonance thing.
I am, I have to say, not comfortable with what Meche did as a teenager and how seemingly “unaddressed” it is (you’ll know what I’m talking about after you read it), but I don’t think it is that unaddressed. Maybe it’s lost in the noise somewhere, but a signal is there.
“Like mechanical resonance, acoustic resonance can result in catastrophic failure of the vibrator. The classic example of this is breaking a wine glass with sound at the precise resonant frequency of the glass.” No catastrophic failure for me, but my brain was definitely blown at times. Maybe I just felt so moved that my turntable was spinning out of control.
I couldn’t help reading more and more, the same way I would put the same disk on day after day as a teenager after school and forget my worries for an hour or two.

I want to thank Rebellion Publishing and NetGalley for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I loved this so much! I love when Silvia Moreno Garcia writes about music, this really gave me High Fidelity vibes, but with magic.

Just like all of her work there is so much depth in the story, even in her debut, you really see the early markings of what makes her writing so great. The jumping back and forth in time was perfectly used in this book, I was so attached to the story in each timeline as more was revealed, truly compulsively readable. Magic, nostalgia, morally grey characters, teen angst, adults trying to come to terms with their past choices, so much love for music, and magic!

I definitely recommend picking this up, especially if you loved Velvet was the Night, but even as an entry to her work if you've never read anything by her before. It's truly a gem!

I'm so glad this debut novel got a re-release or I may not have picked it up right away. Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for an e-ARC of this book. I can't wait to add the physical copy to my collection for re-reading.

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Beautiful and evocative story about three teenager misfits who discover they can perform magic through playing certain records in Mexico in the 1980's.. Meche and Sebastian in particular were unsaparable, but when we jump 20 years to the present, they are completely estranged, and part of the mystery is what passed between them to break them up so suddenly. Feeled with nostalgia and music the story also explores Meche's family as she goes back in the present to her father's funeral.
With the success of Starnger Things, i think this book begs to be adapted to the screen. I've also gained some new playlists based on artists and songs mentioned in the story which was very nice.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book, it was a pleasure and I've discovered a new favorite author.

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