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December Favorite: Signal to Noise December 21, 2015

Posted by ccbooks in Book Reviews.
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signalThis book had been on my radar for quite awhile. I’m sure someone talked about it on Twitter, or mentioned it in a blog post, and it definitely came up on the comprehensive list of titles from 2015 that my fellow bloggers at Latin@s in Kid Lit compiled. It took awhile for me to get ahold of a copy, as DC Public Library did not have one. But Arlington Public Library did, so this month started with me falling completely in love with Danielle, Sebastian and especially Meche, the heroes of this magical tale.

Signal to Noise has a little bit of everything. There’s friendship. There’s (lots) of music. There’s magic. There’s romance. Everything is mixed together with just enough drama and poignancy and I love it all so much. The setting in working-class Mexico City is vibrant and compelling and the magic worked by the three teenagers isn’t overwritten. In some ways, it almost feels like the author is intentionally subverting the characters of Harry Potter–in this version it’s the lone boy who is the brainy intellectual and the girl is the powerful, impulsive magician who only cares about achieving her goals. The structure of the novel, jumping back and forth between the 80’s, when the characters are teens and 2009, when they are adults in their 30’s, helps build tension and suspense as you wait to find out what went wrong between the friends so long ago. And the ending is completely earned and satisfying, so you come away with a smile on your face. In short, this was one of my favorite reads of the year, a book that I know I’ll return to again and again.

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