Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.
Our Friend is Here: Latinx Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where between September 15th and October 15th, Latinx authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being Latinx and Latinx books. Find the introduction post for Latinx Heritage Month at The Quiet Pond here.
It’s no secret that we here at the Pond absolutely adore Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s books, with CW and I’s gushing reviews of Gods of Jade and Shadow and Mexican Gothic! When our friend Jocelyn from Yogi with a Book agreed to visit the Pond for Latinx Heritage Month, I was thrilled — not just because she’s a brilliant booktuber who makes thoughtful, lovely content (because she does), but also because she is the most invested fan of Silvia Moreno-Garcia that I know! Today, we have Joce at the Pond to introduce us to the author’s astonishing and prolific body of work over the past few years, as well as discuss her personal experience with these wonderful books!
It is my greatest honor to welcome Joce today as an adorable little kit fox with a sweater and funky little socks, both in matching floral prints! Isn’t she just the cutest darn thing you’ll ever see. 😭
Our conversation with Joce today revolves around all of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s currently published novels — from her debut in 2015 to her upcoming book in 2021. Hopefully after reading this post today, you’ll have a better understanding of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s unique strengths as an author, as well as the overarching themes and merits of her books both collectively and individually!
Before we move on to Joce’s excellent post, however, let us make a brief jaunt over to YouTube and get ourselves acquainted with Joce’s lovely booktube content!
Jocelyn’s Booktube Channel: Yogi with a Book
Friends, Joce’s booktube content is so good. It’s so good. Joce is thoughtful and eloquent, and the books she chooses to feature are always interesting and effortlessly diverse. You can find her channel Yogi with a Book here, where she regularly documents all the books she’s reading! All her monthly wrap-ups and book hauls are a joy to watch. I mentioned in a previous book community spotlight that I’m usually pretty picky with my subscriptions, and Joce’s videos got me to subscribe nearly immediately.
For something a little topical, if you enjoyed Joce’s post at the Pond today and want to read more Latinx books, her video of Latinx-a-thon book recommendations is a fantastic place to start looking!
Now without further ado, let’s get to the post! I hope that everything we present today inspires you, too, to pick up a book by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, whichever of the premises calls to you the most — because she really is that incredible of an author. We promise.
From Magical Mixtapes to Haunted Manors: An Introduction to Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Books
Hello Pond pals! I’m Jocelyn, a Cuban-American booktuber and Silvia Moreno-Garcia superfan. I’m so thankful that the amazing Quiet Pond crew reached out to me for Latinx Heritage Month so I could further spread the SMG agenda.
On my booktube channel I focus a lot on inventive SFF and Latinx authors. I’ve always been a big fantasy reader, and in my adult life I’ve become more intentional about what and who I’m picking up. It was in 2017, the first time that I really sat down and researched AOC writing in speculative genres, that I found Silvia Moreno-Garcia.
I already spend an inordinate amount of time gushing about SMG’s works. If you follow my channel, you might notice overlap between this post and a video I made last year. Even still, today I’m going to take you a little on that reading journey, and hopefully convince you to pick up one (or all!) of her books.
Before we jump into why you should pick up any of her individual works, I want to take a moment to talk about her oeuvre and what I’ve noticed on a collective rather than individual level.
For one, Moreno-Garcia is not afraid to make messy, complicated characters. As a character-driven reader, this is one of my favorite things about her books. Each of her protagonists and antagonists have a unique driving force and way of interacting on the page. Regardless of their motivations, their histories, or experiences, one thing they share in common is their complexity. Whether I agree or disagree with decisions being made, they feel like the actions of real, breathing people. It’s my favorite kind of magic.
For another, there is always a thematic well beneath the surface of the story. SMG’s stories both work as what they are plainly, fiction stories, while also highlighting real-world topics like colorism and colonization. The layers add richness and texture that I could analyze for days on end.
Finally, there is a satisfying conclusion. Often bittersweet and almost never happy, the endings always feel right. It’s a mark of a talented writer to listen to where a story wants to go, bring it there, and then stop. They’re neat and tidy, and I hardly see anyone else do that with such consistency.
Without further ado, here is a tasting of her six novels, which all came out in the last five years. (She also has edited several anthologies, as well as written some short stories and novellas. I’m not as familiar with those, so we’re going to ignore them today, but definitely look into them if you’re interested!)
2015: Signal to Noise
A dual-timeline following Meche returning to her small hometown after her father’s death, and reminiscing about the magic of music and friendships lost. It’s a book of mourning and celebration in turn. Solid debut. Made me cry.
2016: Certain Dark Things
Set in Mexico City, where vampires are technically not allowed, but somehow they got in anyway. Atl (an Aztec vampire, or Tlāhuihpochtli) is on the run from a white, European vampire (a Necro called Nick) who’s hunting her down because she once told him “no.” One of the most fantastical of SMG’s novels, and yet, deeply real.
2017: The Beautiful Ones
A Belle Epoque-inspired novel of manners complete with ye olde telekinesis. I love the quietness of this story, and the angst between Nina and Hector is top notch. This is on the lighter side of her novels, but no less substantive!
2019: Gods of Jade and Shadow
1920s ROAD TRIP WITH A MAYA DEATH GOD. I would apologize for the screen-yelling but if a 1920s ROAD TRIP WITH A MAYA DEATH GOD doesn’t sound like the best thing ever, I don’t know what to tell you. Clearly, this one sits a little deeper in my heart than some others, but how could it not. Casiopea and Hun-Kamé’s journey hits nearly all of my favorite tropes and it’s glamorous as all get out while it does.
2020: Untamed Shore
The first non-SFF book on here, and sadly, probably the one with the least publicity. This thriller takes place in 1979 in Baja California where Viridiana is chafing at the constraints of her small-town life. Thankfully, she gets a gig translating for a group of Americans which shakes things up. And then, one of them ends up dead…
2020: Mexican Gothic
This time set in 1950s Mexico, Noemí is summoned by her cousin Catalina after receiving a disturbing letter. Naturally, Noemí finds herself in the decaying house of Catalina’s husband’s family. This gothic horror is positively dripping in atmosphere and reading the last 25% were some of the most tense moments of my life.
Coming summer 2021: A Dangerous Eagerness
This was just recently announced, so there’s not much in concrete news, but according to Moreno-Garcia’s twitter account, it is a noir set “in Mexico City 1971, a thug and a kleptomaniac secretary are on the hunt for a missing woman; not SFF.”
As each consecutive novel comes out, I find new reasons to love the worlds SMG has created. They live in my mind while I turn the pages, and often follow me outside of them. Thank you so much to The Quiet Pond for having me here to share in my love for Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s books. I hope you’ll try picking one up during Latinx Heritage Month, or anytime really.
About the Booktuber
Jocelyn is a third culture kid (TCK) who spent her formative years moving across continents. She currently lives in NYC, fulfilling her life’s purpose of shouting about books on the internet. She reads across age ranges, but tends to stray towards speculative work with magical, mythological, or folkloric elements. She’s also a yoga practitioner, cactus collector, and moody water sign.