Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

Jessica Martinez
Simon Pulse
[October 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....

 This was a really beautifully written story.

I loved how real Carmen was. I've been a violinist and while I never went pro or anything (obviously), the way she behaved with her violin and her dedication was realistic and genuine. It was clear how important the violin was, but also how important her independence became.

I know a lot of people complain about how parents seem to disappear in YA, but Carmen's mom and step-dad were there with her all the time. They really cared about Carmen and her career, even if they didn't always makes the best decisions. They stayed involved. It was different and refreshing.

Jeremy...oh Jeremy. Sometimes he pissed me off, other times he had me melting along with Carmen. I was so torn on his true motivation, but I think in the end I liked him. I liked him for Carmen and I liked what he did for her in the long run.

I really loved the whole plot of this book. The love story and the violin and the anxiety problems. I like that it was something that could genuinely happen to a young violinist. And I liked that it wasn't predictable. There were things that happened that I didn't see coming and things that made me gasp and things that I still think about and shake my head. And the ending was perfect. Absolutely perfect.

The writing was beautiful, really. It was gorgeous and flowed well and kept me hooked for the whole story. I'm hoping that all of Jessica's books are like this, because if they are, I will insist on getting all of them.

I really, really, really recommend this book. It's absolutely fantastic, especially if you've ever been a performer.



  1. That's great that her parents are actually present in the story...and that the writing is wonderful! I'll have to check this one out.

    Amazing review, Julie! :)

  2. I've added this one to my TBR list. It sounds really good from your review. I love YA books with a mental health angle.

  3. Great, clean YA fiction. It is so hard to find quality fiction without language, party scenes, and steamy love scenes. I discovered this author while judging her first novel, The Space Between Us, after it had been nominated for a Whitney Award . Martinez is a breakout author, who now has me preordering her newest releases. Her plot lines are real without the shock factor.



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