Monday, October 24, 2011

Review of Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

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....

When I marked Virtuosity as to-read on GoodReads some time in May of 2011, I didn’t give it a lot of deep thought. I figured I might enjoy it because I play the violin and hey, the cover is really pretty. Turns out, I was able to read an ARC of this one through Teen Book Scene. Virtuosity is a beautiful, poignant, heart breaking and hopeful novel to add to your must read list.

I read Virtuosity over the course of 48 hours, which is very fast for me. The was only willing to stop to sleep, eat and do chores. I had to know how Carmen’s story ended.

Martinez’s debut automatically earns brownie points in my book for its original premise. While there are a lot of teenage musicians in young adult literature, I haven’t read about many who are classical music professionals. I know some people are tired of reading about wealthy teens and their problems, but I admire Carmen’s desire to reconnect passion and music.

What sent me head over heels in love with this book, however, was the writing. Martinez’s writing is incredibly poetic and enchanted me every step of the way. She has a gift for finding the perfect images to pair with her descriptions of music and rhythm. It seemed like every five pages I was stopping to write down a quote I loved because the imagery was so incredible.

No matter what I write, I’m not sure if I can convey how much I loved this book. There are some reviewers who like to use the phrase “well-crafted” to describe novels they love, and that is absolutely true of Virtuosity. Yet in this case, every plot point and every word is expertly crafted. Virtuosity made me want to pick up my own violin and start playing again. Martinez has written an exceptional debut, and I will be clamoring to read any other books she publishes.

Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book through Teen Book Scene.


  1. seriously, i felt the same way. my review could not possibly do the justice this book deserved. it was incredible. btw, you are awesome because you play the violin. not JUST because you play the violin, but more because you play it in addition to your being awesome :)

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  3. OMG. I cannot freakin' wait to read Virtuosity. I, like you, LOVE when the musicians are classic musicians.

    Also playing Violin is wicked cool.



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