June 29, 2011

Review: Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

304 Pages
Expected Publication: October 18, 2011 by Simon Pulse
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 didn’t have high expectations for Virtuosity because I’m not a musician, and having growing up around pill addictions, I wasn’t particularly excited to delve into that part of the story. I think these two things, coupled with my lack of compassion for the protagonist, are what prevented me from enjoying this as much as I could have.

I didn’t understand Carmen. She had everything. A Grammy under her belt, a full scholarship to Julliard, a rather expensive violin (the best in the world, basically), and she’d never have to worry about money. I understand the sacrifices that were made for this, I really do, but at the end of the day, I think her obsession with this competition was overly indulgent. She shot beyond the stars, and it bothered me. Not because I think you shouldn’t shoot beyond the stars, but because I think if you’re going to go through so much pain and effort for something, it needs to be for a reason. It needs to be for yourself. What was she really winning about? The right to say she won, proving people wrong, which made me think she was selfish.

The lines between her mother’s pushing and her own drive are blurred, and most of Carmen’s flaws can be blamed on her power hungry mother. Sadly, this didn’t make me like her more.

Aside from that, I did enjoy the story. There was never a moment I even considered not finishing it, and none of my gripes stopped me from enjoying the storyline. I think the romance was delightful, and I loved the ending. In the end, I did like Carmen. It just took a while for me to see another side of her. I liked Jeremy, and I think ultimately, he was what Carmen needed.

The writing was also great. The atmosphere and the way Carmen’s feelings were described did draw me in, and I feel like I’ve seen a side of classical music that I never considered being there.

Virtuosity may not have blown me away, but I definitely think it’s worth reading. For anyone who connects to the protagonist, I think this could easily be a 4 or 5 star book.

3.5/5 Stars

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review. I'll definitely have to check this one out.


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