Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

Who: Jessica Martinez
What: Virtuosity
When: October 18th
Where: Simon Pulse
Why: Premise Love
How: For Review

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....

I think one of the best things about good books is how easily you fall into the story and characters, and the writing just flows and you want to turn back to page one and start all over again. And that's exactly what I felt reading Virtuosity.

Virtuosity is about a girl named Carmen who is a famous violinist competing for the Guarneri award, which everyone expects her to win. But when she needs Jeremy, really her only competition, and gets caught up in this  relationship with her rival while struggling to make her love of music come back and escaping the tight hold her mother, a singer that had a short-lived career and is definitely bitter about, has on not only her, but the pills she is obligated to take before performing.

The summary makes it seem like the book is focused on her pill usage, but it really isn't. It's more of a subtle reminder in the back of her head when she stops, and every time she's nervous she's wishing she could drown it out. It also suggests the book is a complete romance, and while it is in some sense, it's about Carmen's struggle to find herself in her music and see how far she's willing to go to get to her dreams. It's also about family and learning when it's time to say no to the people you love the most and start living your life by yourself. Carmen's voice is so real and the writing so beautiful, and you can really see her genuine love for playing shine through her struggle to win. She was strong, honest, and brave, even when she thought she wasn't being any of those three.

Her relationship with Jeremy was much like my relationship with him as well. I instantly liked him, fell in love with his character in the process of the novel, but that little voice in the back of my head was always going: is he faking just to crush her heart? To make sure he wins? Are his intentions true? And Jessica writes with such an air surrounding the boy that you're honestly never really sure, but you will every step of the way. I adored Jeremy and just their entire relationship together! They understood each other perfectly: the pull to the instrument, the pressure, and the sacrifices that have to be made to live this sort of life.

In the end, this novel is brilliant and subtle and exactly what i'm always looking for. Definitely one of my favorites of 2011!

Happy Reading!


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