Signal to Noise

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?


“Moreno-Garcia employs her back-and-forth structure beautifully, building suspense and emotional resonance between the two parallel storylines. Her main strength, though, is in the voices she gives her characters […] SIGNAL TO NOISE feels uncluttered and understated […] funny, touching, and engaging […] In a poignant, graceful coda, Moreno-Garcia brings the book full circle.”


“The magic in SIGNAL TO NOISE may be short on spectacle, but it runs deep in what it tells us about pain and alienation. The astute use of music practically gives the novel its own soundtrack — and helps make this one of the outstanding debut fantasy novels this year.”

Chicago Tribune

“Meche jumps off the page; by turns rebellious, precocious and vulnerable, she wields her magical ability for good and bad — and Moreno-Garcia brilliantly details the consequences of such power in the hands of an unruly teenager […] Haunting and beautifully nuanced, SIGNAL TO NOISE is a magical first novel.”

The Guardian

“The book is this rich, elaborate symphony of awesome that defies simple definitions […] It is incredible how Moreno-Garcia builds this seamless whole […] Meche is a complicated and complex character and to see her arc from teenager to adult was utterly gratifying […] It’s a little bit funny how some books grow on you the more you think about them. SIGNAL TO NOISE, with its intricacies and complicated people, is one of them […] This book destroyed me into little pieces and then the last page put it all back together in the best possible way. I know it’s very early in the year but I can already tell this is one of the Notable Reads of 2015.”


“[A] sweet debut […] This accurate depiction of outcast teenage life cycles effortlessly between eras. Meche, Sebastian, and Daniela are deeply believable characters, and numerous ’80s musical references make this unusual story a welcome blast from the past.”

Publishers Weekly

“Moreno-Garcia uses the trope such an ingratiating way, and with such intriguingly conflicted characters that it seems vibrantly new […] [SIGNAL TO NOISE] is one of the most important fantasy debuts of the year so far.”


“It’s a vivid, poignant, understated take on urban fantasy, and the setting teems with texture and life. But it’s also a family drama, one whose tragic overtones are heightened by the supernatural elements in play throughout the story. It’s one of my favorite novels of the year, and one that doesn’t necessarily take a genre geek like myself to appreciate.”

The A.V. Club

“SIGNAL TO NOISE is a perfect young adult crossover novel, full of appeal, diverse characters, setting, wonderful writing–and magic […] The author does a wonderful job of pacing the revelations through the narratives. She creates suspense around the fates of her character’s relationships, which propels readers through the book.”

School Library Journal

“This fast-paced horror tale presents a new, alternate world of vampire-human rivalry and will appeal to those who enjoy rooting for unlikely heroes.”


“Beautiful, descriptive language and authentic character banter are bith essential parts of Moreno-Garcia’s lyrical storytelling. Set in Mexico City and switching back and forth between the late 1980s and 2009, SIGNAL TO NOISE is a captivating story that is a wonderful blend of music, magic, friendship and love. Meche is a strong and complex protagonist who moves the story along at a steady pace. Refreshing, lively and unique, Moreno-Garcia’s debut novel is a triumph.”

RT Book Reviews

“This charming literary fantasy [...] will resonate for readers of all ages. After all, we were all once teenagers, and can remember a time when we discovered that one band that seemed to be speaking directly to us, transmitting a message so powerful it felt like it could change the world.”

B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

“Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a delight; she explores all the insecurities and difficulties of a teenaged life […] Moreno-Garcia’s writing is enchanting and engaging. Despite their flaws, it’s difficult not to see a little of yourself in the prose, and this makes the problems the characters face all the more heart aching. If you like well drawn characters, cool tunes, and lashing and lashings of nostalgia, then you should check this out.”

Starburst Magazine

“SIGNAL TO NOISE builds to a powerful ending, in both the 1989 and 2009 segments, that I hadn’t seen coming. It’s the sort of ending that makes you glad you stuck around, and it will leave you with a new awareness that books, like records, have the power to make all sorts of things possible.”

“I read Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s debut novel, Signal to Noise, early in 2015 and it became my yardstick for every read after. I love music, even if I can’t play an instrument or sing to save my life, and so reading a coming-of-age story where magic lurks in old records really spoke to me. Set in Mexico City and told in two times, 1988 and 2009, Signal to Noise is a delight from start to finish.

Shelf Talk

“This book tows that wonderful line between nerdy and hip, balancing good music, cool magic, and fumbling teenagers.”


“Silvia Moreno-Garcia perfectly captures a realistic teenage voice, which includes all of the optimism and confusion and annoying traits that all teenagers have. Music is also heavily but well integrated into the storyline, which I absolutely adore. This little indie release deserves all the attention.”


“Signal to Noise is an indie book by a debut novelist, so it was bound to be missed by many, but that would be a mistake to anyone who passed this book by [...] If you want a book that will have you feeling feels, this book is for you!”


“Charming [...] Meche’s ability to cast spells using songs makes this fascinating read as much a meditation on the incredible power of music as it is an exploration of why some friendships disintegrate, and whether they can be put back together again.”


“Meche is a vividly drawn character: abrasive, passionate, and damaged, with a voice like “caramel-coated razors” (one of several great turns of phrase) […] Suffused with the music – English-language and Spanis, pop and punk – that Meche and friends use to make their magic and soundtrack their lives, this is both a spiky coming-of-age tale and a charmingly sweet romance of making amends and starting again.

SFX Magazine

“SIGNAL TO NOISE is refreshing, innovative and really poignant as it delves into the magic of important music and friendships.”

RT Book Reviews

“Exceptional [...] A tale of fathers, daughters, and music set in Mexico City in 1988 and 2009. I loved Meche and her friends, and anything to do with music resonates with me. I can’t wait for her next book.”

Locus (Jonathan Strahan)

“The portrait of Mexico City in SIGNAL TO NOISE by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is so much the better for being written by someone with intimate knowledge of that city. The book is a great piece of urban fantasy too.”

Locus (Cheryl Morgan)

“Moreno-Garcia is a wonderful writer, and I look forward to reading her next novel.”

“The power of music and its effect on people is at the heart of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’ SIGNAL TO NOISE […] I found SIGNAL TO NOISE immensely enjoyable. It made me vividly remember being a weird, alienated, angry teenager. Like a mixtape from a new friend, it introduced me to bands I’d never heard of. It reminded me of the songs that got me through crappy days, when musicians performed their everyday magic on my life.”

Strange Horizons

“One that took me completely by surprise and wrung me out so it could collect all of my emotions in a little tin bucket. This is my favourite book of 2015.”

The Moor Maiden

“An engaging story about magic and the power of music, set in a vividly realised Mexico City [...] Moreno-Garcia is particularly adept at capturing the feel of life as a teenager. Her characterisations of Meche, Sebastian and Daniela feel believable and honest, without being clouded by nostalgia. 10/10”

Fantasy Faction

“This is one of those books that stays with you long after you finish it. It’s poignant story that you don’t want to finish and one that will have you thinking about it for a long while after completion [...] Music, magic, family problems, love, and magic — how can you not love a novel that deals in these?”

Best Fantasy Books

“A stunning exposé of the rich and magical complexities of life, SIGNAL TO NOISE is the best debut of the year.”

The Monitor

“The novel is filled with wishes and regret, and magic, and the words feel like the heavy breeze before rain […] SIGNAL TO NOISE is a strong first effort by Moreno-Garcia and by stepping into the lives of these people I get a sense of great things from her in the future. She has a concise, understated writing style I found a pleasure to read.”

The Vauxhall Advance

“[Moreno-Garcia is] a writer with evident gusto for complex storytelling.”

Quill & Quire

“[Moreno-Garcia has] built an impressive body of work that’s distinguished by political mindedness, as well as refreshing takes on a range of calcified genres and conventions […][she] has demonstrated it in her story collections, both of which showcase her unique approach to everything from vampires to steampunk–often with healthy doses of Mexican folklore, reflecting a homesickness for the country she was born and raised.”

Highbeam Business

“The author captures perfectly our ability, as children, to see the wonder and beauty in life, even when it seems elusive, and she does this with magic, friendship, and of course, love. SIGNAL TO NOISE is an utterly gorgeous book, and will make you want to get out your old turntable and records and give them a spin or two (or three.) Don’t miss out on this one.”

My Bookish Ways

“I hope others will give SIGNAL TO NOISE a chance. It is a novel which doesn’t set out to shake the world but rather to present something that is personal and thoughtful; emotional but sometimes guarded. In this, it is much like the box of mixtapes I’ll always keep.”

Nostalgia for Infinity

“SIGNAL TO NOISE combines magical realism with the kind of love for music that inspired so many people of my generation to spend hours with a record player and a tape deck […] a reading experience full of cultural references that are often sorely missing from the genre […] SIGNAL TO NOISE by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a unique and very welcome entry in the fantasy genre […] I’d love to see more novels like SIGNAL TO NOISE.”

Fantasy Literature

“A captivating story about friendship, music and magic […] The story has a quite classic double temporal setting that is neatly developed and very clearly managed […] SIGNAL TO NOISE is not only an interesting story, it also works perfectly as a time machine. As happens when you listen to an old song, you’re thrown back to your own youth, to your own friends and family.”

Future Fire

“This book is about mood, about adolescence and adulthood, about growing up and accepting loss and a whole lot of other things. It’s solid and intense and I could probably write like five different critical essays about it. But for now I will only strongly recommend it. SIGNAL TO NOISE is an amazing read.”

Nerds of a Feather

“This charming literary fantasy will resonate for readers of all ages. After all, we were all once teenagers, and can remember a time when we discovered that one band that seemed to be speaking directly to us, transmitting a message so powerful it felt like it could change the world.”

B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog

“This book is a beautifully-written love letter to the power of music […] [it is] quiet but emotionally powerful literary fantasy […] SIGNAL TO NOISE is an original, unique, and compelling debut novel and a wonderful introduction to the work of Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I look forward to reading many more of her novels in the future.”

Urban Fantasy Magazine

“For me, there wasn’t one note, scene, or music selection out of key […] Meche is worthy of such celebration for me mainly because she is uncomfortably realistic in both her guarded emotions and her simmering rage at the world around her.”

Luna Station Quarterly

“Moreno-Garcia uses alternating chapters set in 1988 and 2009 to slowly unspool Meche’s story with the careful plotting of a master storyteller […] [Moreno-Garcia] gives us a wonderful ending, one that is cinematic in its fulfillment, but sad and lovely at the same time.”

The Spec Fiction Hub

“SIGNAL TO NOISE is a great debut that uses music and magic to bring something a little different to the exploration and struggles of teenage years.”

Cwtch Books

“SIGNAL TO NOISE conveys the raw emotions of the teenage years without slipping too far into nostalgia or downplaying the emotional struggles of adulthood. It’s a marvelous balancing act. I can’t wait to see what Moreno-Garcia does next!”

Cafe Nowhere

”I am impressed by this book, immensely so. I am in awe of what it achieved, I can’t help by praise the writing, the depictions and the sheer realness of the characters. It was a deep, powerful book that deserves a high fang rating even if it wasn’t fun or what I was looking for.”

Fangs for the Fantasy

“[This story] drew me in so slowly and seductively that I hardly realized it was happening, until I felt compelled to turn page after page. The real world faded away as the vivid colors of Meche’s, Sebastian’s, and Daniela’s Mexico City surrounded me […] An evocative, powerful, and beautiful tale of magic, dreams, love and hate, betrayal and redemption, this book is heartbreaking and heartwarming, and one of the best I have read so far this year.”

Book Adventures

“A magically manifold Mexican mix tape of a novel — SIGNAL TO NOISE will stay lodged in your brain and haunt you for days afterwards like the best kind of tune.”

Lavie Tidhar, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Osama