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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

Publication Date: 10/18/2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Simon & Schuster

 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....


Definition: Virtuosity: The character, ability, or skill of a virtuoso.
                Virtuoso: A person who has special knowledge or skill in a field. (www.dictionary.com)

You may have already known the definition of virtuosity, but I admit that I did not and I'm glad I looked it up.  It fits perfectly as the book title.  I want to start by saying this was a great book to bring me out of a reading slump.
Carmen is an amazing violinist, but a very naive teenager.  She doesn't have a lot of social experiences, and this shows in her character.  She so badly wants to believe what everyone in her life tells her rather than making decisions for herself.  Then, she meets Jeremy who is a polar opposite.  He has so much freedom and natural confidence in himself that she wants to believe him too.  Jeremy is so nice to her and shows such interest that Carmen can't help but be a teenage girl and believe he wants her for who she is.

I admit at times I was more than a little annoyed with Carmen.  She just wants to believe what her mother tells her and has never thought much about any of these decisions.  Her mother forced her to take the anti-anxiety drugs to perform and it's her mother who has done some questionable things in Carmen's life.  Her mother is the one who puts ideas in her head and causes more issues for Carmen.  My main thought regarding Carmen's mother is that she was trying to live her life vicariously through Carmen.

Carmen grew into herself and became an adult through this book.  She learned that trusting everyone around you isn't always the best move and she began to make decisions for herself.  I think this book teaches a lot about overcoming differences and doing what is right.  At some point, we all need to come into ourselves and discover who we want to be and what we want to do.  Carmen was able to do this eventually and brought us along through her own journey.  We were able to see her falls and her mistakes, but also her successes and awesomeness.  Jessica Martinez writes in a way that helps you connect with the characters and feel like you know them just a little better.  Carmen and Jeremy have a fun story that you'll be happy to go along on the ride for.  I enjoyed this book a lot and the events that occur to cause the twists and turns were awesome.  They kept me guessing and at times saying, "OMG?"

Pick this one up, it's a keeper.


Sarah (The Book Life) said...

I'm so glad you liked it! I recently read it myself and Carmen's mom drove me nuts, but it was nice to see some actual growth in the story :0) Great review!

LillyReader said...

It really was a great book, and yeah Carmen's mom was very frustrating. It's unfortunate that they couldn't work it out, but I guess it shows how real life works out sometimes too.