Review: Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

I received this book for free from S&S Galley Grab in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Virtuosity by Jessica MartinezVirtuosity by Jessica Martinez
Published by Simon Pulse on October 11, 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 294
Format: eARC
Source: S&S Galley Grab
Goodreads
four-stars

Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. And Jeremy is hands-down the wrong guy for her to fall for. He is infuriating, arrogant, and the only person who can stand in the way of Carmen getting the one thing she wants most: to win the prestigious Guarneri competition. Carmen's whole life is violin, and until she met Jeremy, her whole focus was winning. But what if Jeremy isn't just hot...what if Jeremy is better?

Carmen knows that kissing Jeremy can't end well, but she just can't stay away. Nobody else understands her--and riles her up--like he does. Still, she can't trust him with her biggest secret: She is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to perform, and what started as an easy fix has become a hungry addiction. Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of always doing what she’s told, doing what's expected.

Sometimes, being on top just means you have a long way to fall....

At first, I was not sure how I was going to feel about this book. The prologue (not called that, but I don’t know what else to call the abbreviated first section) certainly grabbed my attention, but it also made me worry that this might not be a good book for me. Carmen does not come off as too smart or likable in this brief segment, but, when you finally catch up in time to this moment, you totally get why she was going crazy.

Once I got into the flow of the book and managed to somewhat calm down my intense curiosity to know the resolution of the opening scene, I got completely sucked into this book. I loved the focus on music, as well as the serious moral dilemmas that Carmen had to face. In some ways, it reminded me of Where She Went by Gayle Forman and, in it’s lighter moments that focused on the rivalry and relationship of Carmen and Jeremy, of Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund.

The coming of age aspects of the story also rocked my socks. Carmen, though in some ways very mature, given that she’s traveled the world and won a grammy and plays a 1.2 million dollar violin, is also, as her mom tells her, naive. Because of her virtuous status and tour schedule, she has been home schooled and has little experience interacting with others. This is partly why she has so much trouble understanding Jeremy and trusting his motivations. She is so used to being told what to do by her mother and her teacher that she really has to learn how to be herself. Of course, the fact that she was often drugged did not help. Carmen’s drug addiction, whether mental or physical, was a scary thing, particularly as she had been encouraged in her dependency by people she should be able to trust.

I really loved reading this and rather hope that there might be another book on Carmen’s adventure, as the ending totally makes it possible. This story was beautiful, heartbreaking and powerful. The cover’s awesome too.

P.S. There was a reference to Amy Winehouse in here. I wonder if it will be in the finalized version or if it will be removed because it’s too soon… The main characters mentioned her and said that they hoped she was in rehab. Unfortunately, she said “no, no, no.”

One response to “Review: Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez”

  1. Nori says:

    I think I want to read this one! I knew a girl in grade school who would totally relate to this story.

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