Thursday, October 6, 2011

Review: Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

Published: Simon Pulse (October 18, 2011)
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
Series: No
Source: GalleyGrab
GoodReads Summary: 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....

My Thoughts: Firstly, this book is about VIOLINS. I've wanted to play the violin since forever, but apparently people with abnormally small hands (yours truly) will inevitably fail. I've never read a book about a violinist, so imagine my delight when I find out this book is about a GRAMMY-WINNING violinist!

Carmen is such a complex narrator. I love that we get to be in her head instead of third person, because that would detract so much from the story. The girl is pretty messed up and RIGHTFULLY SO. You see, Carmen is the cream of the crop, but she has a mad case of stage fright. So she gets medicated. It's a difficult issue, she being so young and so medicated. Lucky for us, Martinez is pretty much gangster at tackling the difficult issues, as well as playing puppet master to two very unlikely rivals and the pieces of their love puzzle.

Jeremy King is a straight up douche bag. I hated him from the moment we were introduced to him. I was dead set on hating him for the duration of the novel, despite Martinez's sly tactics to get me to love him. NOPE. Can't love a guy that arrogant. Except wait, there's some sensitivity peeking through. OH, and deep dark secrets? WAIT, he has a good heart and is kind of the embodiment of sexytimes? And BRITISH? And he's blonde? That's usually the dealbreaker for me, but I didn't even give an eff. I wanted more more more Jeremy King at any cost. His romance with Carmen was bittersweet and heartbreaking at times. If you're looking to swoon, you've come to the right place.

I loved this book because it made me uncomfortable in places. There was so much line crossing. In fact, we were so far PAST the line, that the line was just a dot (yes, that's a Joey Tribbiani quote!) I was pretty homicidal towards my Nook, and I can't really tell you why without being spoilery. Just know that you'll likely be JUST as pissed off as I was.

Virtuosity was a surprising book for me. It was so much more than romance. It's competition and overbearing parents and self-doubt and high stakes and sacrifice and coming of age. If you couldn't care less about violins or music....or books, STILL read this book. Jeremy King awaits you.


  1. Wow, this sounds really really good! Love the cover, too. Fantastic. Oh and I doooo care about violins, music AND books. :O)

  2. LOVE this book. I think it's definitely one of those sweet surprises that you're not anticipating by first glance. I wasn't prepared for the emotional roller coaster ride it put me on, but man oh man.. what an awesome ride!

    British musicians always WIN in my book :-)

  3. Awesome review! I'm really excited about this book, and then you mentioned the violinist aspect, and now I'm even more excited. Like, ridiculously excited. I love books about music and musicians. I want to learn to play the violin. And I am really not opposed to swoon-worthy characters right now. :)

  4. I love that you quoted Joey (diehard Friends fan)! Great review, I'll be sure to give this a read.

  5. Books like this aren't usually my style, but man, you make it sound so good! And now I'll be heading over to add this to my TBR...

  6. blond = DEALMAKER!! I am currently reading this (like page one hundred and something but i got distracted) and OMG I have abnormally small hands TOO. and the fact that you made a friends reference is written proof of why you rock and that we must meet IRL to discuss the woes of being hand sized challenged.

  7. I really enjoyed this one too. I very rarely want a female character to run off with a character like Jeremy but given Carmen's emotionally abusive mother, I actually found myself rooting for her to run off with him. Given my aversion to romance novels, I shocked myself when I discovered I felt this way.

    I feel you on the small hands thing. I played piano for 13 years, but I struggled the entire time because of how small my hands are. My greatest accomplishment was mastering a Rachmaninoff prelude that had a ridiculous number of chords that stretched over an octave. In fact, given how small my hands are, I'd venture to say that my carpal tunnel started from playing the piano and not from using the computer.

    But yeah, given my classical music background, I flock to novels like this when they come out.

  8. readin ithis now likin it so far far ^-^

  9. I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH!!!! ahhh, jeremy king. reading about boys like him makes me wish they were real, and then i get angry THAT THEY ARE NOT AND NEVER WILL BE BECAUSE THEY ARE FICTIONAL annnnd that leads to a very unhappy me. yeah.

  10. I really loves this book. I wanted to hate Jeremy too, really, but he won me over. Don't even get me started on Carmen's mom. Please just shoot me if I ever become this overbearing towards my kids.

  11. I JUST finished this book. I didn't hate Jeremy at all. Partly because I knew that, as the designated love interest, he was going to get better, but also because Carmen WANTS him to be awful, so WE see him as Carmen does.

    Who I REALLY thought was the douche was her mom. From the first time she recommends that Carmen start taking a drug, I hated her. One of those- Well meaning but meddlesome that NEVER ends up being a good thing- type YA parents. And then... Well. And then :P

    But- I loved your review! And I loved this book! :D