Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review: Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

Title: Virtuosity
Author: Jessica Martinez
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 294
Release date: October 18th 2011
Genre: Contemporary YA; romance
Source: Bought
Find out more: Amazon / Goodreads

Goodreads description:
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.

Goodreads description:
The balcony felt cold under my cheek.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I love the unique premise of Virtuosity. There are so many interesting storylines - the violin-playing, the anti-anxiety drugs and the forbidden romance. And while the execution isn't perfect, Virtuosity is a really fun read!

Usually, I'm pulled in by characters or writing, but the plot is what I liked best about Virtuosity. Carmen's violin-playing is really interesting to read about - I know nothing about the topic, but I loved reading about that whole world, the pressure and everything, especially since the author knows what she's talking about. I also loved reading about Carmen's problem with Inderal, but I wish that issue would have been elaborated on more - I don't think the reader gets to know enough about Carmen's struggle with anti-anxiety drugs.

Carmen is a pretty good character - she's easy to relate to, and you can't help but feel for her. But I still didn't love her - I can't even explain why, but she isn't my favorite character ever.

The secondary characters are really well-developed. Diana, the mom - wow. At the beginning I could still sort of understand her - her career as an opera-singer failed, so she wants Carmen to succeed in the music industry. No, that's not great parenting, but you can see where she's coming from, and it seems like she still wants what's best for her daughter. What she does later on, though... How can anyone be that cruel? I hated Diana with a passion. Clark, Carmen's stepdad, on the other hand, is so sweet. I love all scenes that include him, and I would have liked to know more about him and how he deals with, well, what happens.

I'm split on what to make of Jeremy and Carmen's relationship. I loved Jeremy as a character, but I think his relationship with Carmen developed too quickly, and I still don't get why they started hanging out in the first place. Carmen's obsession with Jeremy in the beginning is strange, too. Later on, though, I loved the two of them together - it's really well-done how they go back and forth between wanting to be together but both wanting to win, and that part seems more realistic.

The ending is perfect - it's not happy or sad; it's hopeful, and just right. Yes, I would have liked to know some more about what happens to all of the characters, but the ending works really well with the story.

The romance is a little too insta-love and there are some topics I would have liked to know more about, but all in all, this is a fun read with an intriguing plot and great secondary characters. I definitely recommend it, unless you cannot stand insta-love at all.


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