Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

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 antianxiety 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 received the ARC a couple of weeks ago and finished it in a couple of days. It was a good read, it was something I enjoyed reading but probably won't reread it or think about it as much as other books I've read.

Let's start off with what I liked about it. I play a little piano, like very little, like, I can play with my right but I have trouble with my left. That said, I haven't any clue on what playing the violin entails. Virtuosity provided enough information to understand the basics of the violin without making it seem like a history lesson.  I noted some of the music that was played in the book and I found myself listening to The Beethoven Violin Concerto and Carmen after I finished the book (I also did this with Yo Yo Ma and other cellists after I read If I Stay). I also really liked the dialogue between Carmen and Jeremy. There were a few blushes and smiles and some "LOLs".

Carmen refers to her mother Diana, who was a professional opera singer turned Manager, so we know there's some tension there. She puts Carmen under a lot of stress and as Carmen puts it, has her on a very short leash. She is home-schooled and her main focus is practicing and performing with her violin, Stradivarius which was acquired through her estranged grandmother. Carmen who seems to have it together has a complicated life. She notes that her being home-schooled has not prepared her for certain social situations. Reading the book loosely made me think of Center Stage and Black Swan, when you read it, I think you'll see some of the similarities that performing can cause pressure.

What really kills me is the ending, it was like, ok, you're trying to find yourself and then 'this' happens. And it's like one of those cheesy movie endings with the 'what ifs' yeah, not for me, seems more like a cop out.

I wanted to love this book but I didn't, it was just a good read. I felt that the story and characters start out so deep but then everything sort of resolves itself rather quickly. I didn't connect with the characters as much as I would have liked, but nevertheless, it was an okay read but I'm glad to have read it.

Order Virtuosity out October 18, 2011
Pages 304
Jessica Martinez - Official Website
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Author and Book Details at SimonPulse

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