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....
**ARC received by Simon and Schuster Canada**
I hadn't heard of Virtuosity when it showed up in my mailbox a few months ago. What I did notice right away was the cover. Look at that cover, It's beautiful! And after reading the novel, the cover is very fitting for the story. I really like this book. A lot. I enjoyed the musical world Jessica Martinez created. It was fun and complex, and the competitiveness that takes over the lives of young musicians I found very original. One often reads about competitive sports competitions, but this concept of a musical skill being all consuming is not something that I have read about before, and I found it incredibly interesting.
I was sucked in Virtuosity from the very beginning. I absolutely love when an author does that. When she is able to create such a gripping tale, that sucks you in from the first line. Martinez was able to convey the extreme emotions that Carmen was made to feel because of the Guarneri competition. I felt for Carmen, and her I could understand her anxiety. It made sense to me. Her confusion over her feelings for Jeremy was clear, and well developed. I loved reading about it. Her feelings of not being good enough were something that as a reader, you were empathic to. I enjoyed this part of the novel immensely.
I liked Carmen. I really liked Carmen. She was a fairly timid girl and even with her timidity she tried to be strong. For a lot of the time she attempted to be the person everyone else wanted her to be, and that almost destroyed her. She lost sight of the thing that she loved the most- her music. What I loved the most about Carmen was when she made the decision to stand up for herself, and live her life, she stuck to it (for the most part), she knew that she needed a change and she was the only one to bring to make that change a reality. Although it was not easy for her. Carmen's mother was a piece of work. She was in no way supportive of her daughter. She was controlling and manipulative, and she almost destroyed her daughter. It really irked me. I really dislike the notion of parents living vicariously through their children, nine times out of ten it's not going to end well. Which we saw in Virtuosity. A mother's obsession that almost ruined her daughter.
Jeremy. Oh, Jeremy. I liked Jeremy when her first made an appearance. I thought he was cocky, and funny, and he brought Carmen out of her shell. I wasn't a huge fan of this, a boy being the reason a girl could be herself. Girls don't need boys to be themselves. But, that's beyond the point. In this sense Jeremy was good for Carmen, and they had something in common. Her understood her. He knew what she was going through, and how the competition was all consuming, he knew the feeling. It was great. However, Jeremy wasn't all good. He did some pretty crappy things, which led to Carmen's downfall. However her redeemed himself, sort of. Jeremy wasn't without his faults, but he was pretty terrific.
Overall, Virtuosity was a great book. I loved this story, and I loved the world that Martinez created. It was complex, and magical, and totally worth the read.