Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: Virtuosity

Virtuosity, by Jessica Martinez. The GoodReads summary:
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....
This book was EXACTLY what I needed at the moment—a really solid YA contemporary. I was so worried going in because I really wanted it to be good, and you know how that goes—the expectation monster usually comes out and ruins everything. But that didn’t happen here, and I am SO glad. I can’t even begin to tell you.

This book was just so easy to fall into, you know? It was effortless. And not in a mind-numbing fluffy kind of way (not that I don’t love those kinds of books as well). Carmen is dealing with some real problems: her performances, her anxiety, her mother, her first relationship—not easy things to deal with at any time, let alone right before the most important music competition of her life. But the author somehow manages to write about all that stuff and have it feel natural and real and not like she’s making her way down a checklist of teen issues.

I really liked the music aspect of this book. I’m not musically inclined AT ALL, but that didn’t matter. I could feel both Carmen’s passion for her music and the anxiety it caused so clearly. I knew exactly what she was talking about even though I’ve never experienced anything even remotely similar—I don’t know how the author managed to pull that off. And I love the tension the music competition brings to the story, as well as the tension it brings to Carmen and Jeremy’s relationship. It binds the story together so well and made it near impossible for me to put the book down.

I also really liked that Carmen and Jeremy’s relationship doesn’t dominate the story. It’s there—and it’s a very important part—but it’s not ALL the book is about. The book is about Carmen and about her relationship with her music, and I’m glad the author didn’t get distracted from that with the allure of amping up the romance.

In case you couldn’t tell, overall, I thoroughly and completely enjoyed this book. The only problem I had with it was that Jeremy never really won me over, but since the book wasn’t really about him, I could overlook it. So, yes, this is definitely one I recommend.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

1 comment:

  1. I've seen Virtuosity around and apart from the gorgeous cover I wasn't that interested until now. Mostly because I'm not musically inclined either so I'm always worried I won't be able to get it. But considering our mutual love of Marchetta I'm sure I'll love this one as much as you did.


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