Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

8:00 AM

Title: Virtuosity
Author: Jessica Martinez
Release Date: October 18, 2011 (hardcover)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 304
Source: ARC provided by publisher 

Overall: 4 Stars

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 antianxiety 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:
I've been very excited to read Virtuosity ever since I first glanced at its bold, pretty cover... but it also doesn't hurt that its plot description immediately appealed to me as well! Jessica Martinez welcomes readers into the dark side of the classical music world with her debut novel! At the heart of Virtuosity is a coming-of-age story about a teenage girl just trying to break free onto her own path.

Virtuosity has a wonderful, quiet intensity that continues to build as you progress through the novel. There's a lot at stake for both Jeremy and Carmen's futures with the approaching Guarneri competition, but of course, only one of them can win. They're the best violinists of their generation and everyone is watching– and waiting– to see who will come out on top. But while their musical talents are practically utter perfection, what their stage presence hides are their complicated relationships with their families. In particular, Carmen's mother is controlling and conniving to the point where you're left wondering just far she'll go to ensure that her daughter wins. And there's more to Jeremy's background than first meets the eye as well, lending more depth to his character.

There's an enticing edge to the romance which develops between Carmen and Jeremy. They're both highly competitive and driven to win, yet they share an undeniable connection with their love of music and playing the violin that no one else can truly understand. But with the pressure of the competition on their shoulders, there's a certain tension in their words which leaps off the pages. I was left suspicious and weary of Jeremy initially... but mostly because I wasn't all too sure if I could trust that he wasn't trying to use Carmen's feelings against her. I loved how Jessica Martinez left her readers on edge, wondering what would happen next!

The ending of the novel is left rather open-ended without too much closure, but there's a hopeful tone to it that suggests everything will work itself out in the end... even if we don't actually get to read it. Jessica Martinez's debut novel Virtuosity is one of those hidden gems you stumble across and immediately wish you had read sooner! I can't wait to see what kind of novel the author will write next in the future! 

Thanks so much to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing this review copy!

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  1. Excellent review, as always, Liz!
    I have the egalley but I haven't managed to get around to it. I think I will fit it in next month!
    Wonderful review!

  2. I agree the ending was open and hopeful. I couldn't connect much with Carmen, though and that was my biggest issue with this book.

    Still, I'm glad you liked it so much :D

  3. Really glad you liked this one! There was just something really awesome about it. I really liked the writing style, and I felt so bad for Carmen and the situation she was in.

  4. I really liked the ending in this one too. It's left up to you to imagine how Carmen and Jeremy's relationship will play out because there's a sense that life goes on beyond the story.