Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

Published: October 18, 2011 by Simon Pulse
Received: S&S Galley Grab - thanks!
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.... {taken from}
A YA contemp focused on music & a love interest? Yes, please!  When I read the synopsis for this book I became increasingly interested in it.  Then when S&S featured it on this month's Galley Grab, I just knew I had to get my hands on it!  Yay for that!!  Virtuosity is Jessica Martinez's debut novel in the young adult world.  I was blown away by her ability to write a story with tons of characterization and depth.  You really dig deep with these characters, and I know for myself, I was holding on to Carmen.  Her character was so strong, yet so conflicted.  Her story was interesting to read, and very intriguing to follow.

Carmen is the child prodigy of her once talented mother Diana, who use to sing professional Opera.  Carmen's talent is utilized through the strings of her violin.  She has performed at numerous concerts around the world, and has even won a Grammy - all at the age of 16.  Carmen's world is one strict lesson after another, in which her mother keeps her on a tight leash.  She is continuously being pushed forward, toward their goal of winning the Guarneri competition.  In Carmen's life, nothing is ever done for pure enjoyment.  Everything has it's cost - and this one is the ultimate.

What would a competition be without someone of equal or greater talent than your own?  Carmen meets Jeremy King, the brilliant violinist from England.  He is projected to run away with the competition and steal all the glory that Carmen has worked so hard for.  To make things even more difficult, Jeremy is charmingly handsome and immediately takes interest in Carmen for more than just her talent with the violin.  The two strike a chemistry that Carmen has never felt before.  Soon Jeremy is all thats on her mind, and she begins to lose focus on the competition at hand.  Her mother's iron fist comes down strong, and hard.  The measures that she takes to make sure her daughter wins the prize could possibly jeopardize their relationship, for ever.

I enjoyed this story for the musical element that is brought up through out the story.  I find it fascinating to read about young characters who have great talent in one particular area of artistry.  I know, for myself, that I could never be that dedicated or disciplined to follow the path that Carmen has.  Immediately I could see the grief she feels when picking up the violin.  Somewhere along the way, she lost sight of what it meant to her - and has slowly become a robot, performing on prompt.  I loved the relationship that slowly built between Carmen and Jeremy.  At first I wasn't sure if I'd like Jeremy's character because of his arrogance.  But I soon realized it was only a shield, protecting his vulnerable side that Carmen quickly revealed. 

If you're a fan of YA contemps that center around music, then I highly recommend this book.  I also recommend it for those who enjoy books with family issues, and strong character growth.  And of course I recommend it to all those YA contemp romance lovers!  I for one, was very satisfied with this story :-)  Virtuosity hit the high notes, as well as the low notes with such force that it left a lasting melody inside my head.



  1. I am looking forward to this book. I often wonder about these things. We always try to 2x check that Sid wants to be doing soccer, VB, & fiddle. My husband even said no to cross country--he said it was too much on her plate. We have to balance passion & commitment with obsessed & burnout.

  2. Love the review. I've had my eye on this one and now can't wait!

  3. I've been curious about this one since I love this cover. Contemporary, Music, Family Issues, all things I love in books. And romance, yay! Thanks for the review, def be reading this one. 

  4. can we talk about your creativity with the music puns at the end? STELLAR.

    also, i do dig a book that has some character growth to compliment the swoon. nice job!

  5. Alright, I'm reading this.  I really can't pass this up having been a violinist in High School

  6. Oh dangit! Now I have to add another to the TBR Teehee

    This sounds exactly like my kind of read. 

  7. ooOOoo. This one sounds really great. I really love books that deal with virtuosos and the like. YAY MUSIC. Also, I'm assuming that Carmen will have her own Pantene hair commercial flipping moment, because that's what this cover feels like!

  8. oooooh, I hadn't heard much about this one even though I've seen the cover around. I am intrigued and will definitely be looking for it. It sounds amazing! Great review Ginger. =)

  9. As an ex-violinist this will definitely be a story I can relate to. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention with this review!

  10. This one sounds amazing! I love a great Contemporary and this one just sounds beautiful. I love when music is a huge part of the story, especially when it's like this, and the character themselves are musicians. I'm definitely looking forward to reading it soon! Glad to hear you loved it! :) 


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