It is Mexico City, 1988. Meche, short for Mercedes, loves music, a passion inherited from her father. This is the time long before iTunes, Spotify, or MP3 players. It is all about the vinyl, and her beloved portable record player. Meche is an awkward fifteen year old teenager, unpopular with few friends, and her parents’ marriage is falling apart. She throws herself into music as an escape, and discovers magic. Her friends Sebastian and Daniela help her discover the extent of her powers. But then it all goes terribly wrong, and friendships shatter. Meche flees town, never to return, she thinks. However, nearly two decades later, her estranged fathers funeral drags her back, and she has to face up to what happened all those years ago.

This story is told through multiple storyline approach. The primary is set in the 80’s when Meche and her friends are coming of age, trying to find themselves and where they fit in the world, and how to cope with all the changes that life brings. The other is then twenty years later, with Meche’s return, and trying to cope with the anger she still feels. I was a bit conflicted reading this one. While on one hand I enjoyed the coming of age, mixed with the discovery of magic and how its power was found, I found the intense anger still felt by Meche twenty years later a bit confusing. She was a successful woman, with an excellent job, living a great life, yet still held onto resentment that one would  imagine would have faded somewhat over the years.  

As a story about love and hate – and how sometimes it can be hard to separate one from the other, it was written well. The characters are well developed. Some become a tad annoying – Sebastian I am looking at you!! But the emotions felt, the growth, the life portrayed was all done very well. I always enjoy reading Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s work, and while this was perhaps not my favourite to date it still did bring Mexico to life, along with three teenagers just trying to belong.

*I received this copy from NetGalley for review, but all opinions are my own.

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Book Review: Signal To Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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