Book Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

  PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book about or by a woman in STEM Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy: A bo...


PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book about or by a woman in STEM

Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy: A book that's published in 2020, A book by a WOC, A book with a main character in their 20s

TW: Sexual assault, abuse, incest, violence, mental illness, eugenics, gaslighting, racism, sexism/misogyny, classism

I didn’t know what to expect going into Mexican Gothic. I’d mostly seen positive reviews but I didn’t dig any deeper into them to learn more about the story. I just knew I loved the cover and was excited for a 1950s horror story with a Latinx MC. The story was completely unique and unexpected. Throughout I truly had no clue what would come next. 

Noemi is a bit of a party girl. Forever single (by choice), glamorous, fun, and incredibly independent. She works in the family business but went to school for anthropology, something she wishes to pursue further. When her father receives a concerning letter from Noemi’s closest cousin, Catalina, he bids Noemi to travel to her cousin's country home, High Place, where Catalina lives with her new husband and his family. Catalina is convinced her husband is trying to kill her, but Noemi wishes to check in on her cousin. Upon arrival, the uncomfortable atmosphere is apparent. She feels her cousin is ill and wishes to take her away for immediate care, but Catalina’s new husband and in-laws refuse to let her leave. Something is obviously not right at High Place, and Noemi makes it her mission to save her cousin by any means necessary. 

Wow. What. A. Book. From the plot of the story, this book could have very easily been predictable and reminiscent of many other works of literature or film, but Moreno-Garcia perfectly executed this story in a way that was horrifying, unique, and completely unpredictable. Everything in the book was set up so effectively. The slow build up of information was paced incredibly well so I was receiving info as I needed it, making it easier to digest in a way that wasn’t overwhelming.

The book was also incredibly frustrating in the best ways. The antagonists were so darkly horrid. The gaslighting was infuriating. But Noemi was such an exciting and fierce MC. I loved her. She was sassy and witty, fantastically smart, but also with a high level of emotional intelligence that made her so aspirational. I love when female characters are well-rounded... when they can be brave and funny, beautiful and emotional all at once. Because that more so encompasses how women really are. We’re not one-dimensional, so seeing that reflecting in fictional stories is such an incredibly liberating and relieving thing to see.

"Noemí’s father said she cared too much about her looks and parties to take school seriously, as if a woman could not do two things at once." - Mexican Gothic, Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The story-telling was so incredible. This was my first time reading a book from Moreno-Garcia, but it certainly won’t be my last. 

Goodreads rating: ★★★★☆

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