Book Review: Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: eGalley (courtesy of GalleyGrab)
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publication Date: 10.18.2011
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....

The violin wasn't alive. It wasn't a baby or an animal, not living.
But that would be easier to believe if I hadn't felt it breathe and sing.
-Carmen, Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
I waited a long time to read this book, because I was totally judging it by its cover. Don't get me wrong; I like the cover. But I kept putting it off, because I wasn't sure I wanted to read it. But I am so, so glad I finally picked it up and read it (in one night)! It was just what I needed to read, and with its sweet and quiet emotions, it swept me away into a world of music and violins.

Before reading this, I hardly knew what it took to become an accomplished violinist. I knew there were prestigious competitions for musicians out there, and that they were hard, but I had no idea how hard. Call me uneducated, but I was surprised and fascinated by reading about the dedication and determination that is required. While I didn't know how much hard work it took to be a violinist, music is my thing, and I do have an extra special love for violins. I couldn't play one to save my life, but the reason I love classical so much is because of the sound of a violin. Jessica Martinez's descriptions of the performances were such that the music was brought to life. I really got a feel for the music, and how it felt to be the one making it. I can only describe it as beautiful.

Throughout the book, the characters are all learning more and more about themselves, and those around them. Carmen is being woken up to the fact that her mother may have the leash held a bit too close, and Jeremy is having trouble dealing with his family's situation. I believed in these characters so much, that I had no idea which one I wanted to win. I felt for both them, and was at a loss as to how I wanted to book to end. Luckily, Jessica Martinez took care of that, throwing in a twist that broke my heart as much as it did the characters'.

I liked all the characters in this story, even Carmen's mother, who has her on such a short leash, it's hard to see a separation. There were some other characters who hinted at complex personalities, but these weren't over-explored. There were side stories to the main one, but the whole time, I never felt overwhelmed with information. Things were slipped into conversations, or revealed through some other means, and somewhere along the way, I got the entire back story and history.

The only thing keeping this from becoming one of my favorite books, is that I felt like we missed a part of the story at the end. Something bad happens, and then the story skips to a couple months later, and we don't get to experience any of the fallout. What happened during the fallout isn't fully explained to my satisfaction, either, and so I keep wondering what went on in Carmen and Jeremy's lives during that time.

All-in-all, I loved this book. I loved the characters, their conversations and banter, and their interactions. I loved the relationships that were tested, the ones that were broken, and the ones that were formed. I loved Jeremy. And I loved the 1.2 million dollar violin that made music so beautiful it hurt.

Read this if:
...you like music of any kind, and you want to know what it's like to work your entire life for something that you have a chance of losing.

Content Warning
Clean read!

Purchase Virtuosity:
Jessica Martinez:
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  1. O that sounds like frustrating ending. Great honest review and thanks for the warning :)

  2. omg! awesome review! it seems I need this book right now! aaaaaah!

    thakns for sharing Penelope! =D



  3. This one is already on my TBR pile, mostly for the fact that Jessica came from the classical musical world and knows exactly what it takes/costs a person to succeed in that high-pressure environment. Knowing that Jessica went into this with a whole lifetime of experience makes me want to read this one all that much more.


  4. Very nice review! I love everything about Virtuosity. The characters are just so realistic and engrossing. Thanks for the review :)

  5. Juju: Thanks for stopping by.

    Natalia: Lol, I hope you love it!

    Lori: I didn't know the author came from the musical world, but it totally comes out in her writing. She writes so lovingly about music, and the struggles that go with it.

    Mia: I agree!


Thanks for commenting! I read each and every one, and reply as soon as I can :)

Please note: The Reading Fever is an award-free zone. I am very flattered, but comments are all the thanks I need.


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