Monday, September 12, 2011

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
Release Date: October 18, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse

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.... -

I've never read a story before about competitive music, but this was very interesting.  It was intriguing to see the level that people will go to in order to win a prestigious competition.  The two main characters are both virtuoso performers in violin... incidentally one of my favorite instruments to listen to.  What create such great conflict in this story, for me, was the fact that they are both fabulous musicians, fall in love, but are competing against the other.

Motives are questioned, of course.  Is Jeremy really interested in Carmen, or is he just trying to make her vulnerable so that he can increase his chances to win?  Carmen's use of medication to get a good performance from herself was heartbreaking, and the fact that she does so with her mother's encouragement was even more sad.

Although her mother's motives for her actions in the story are for Carmen's benefit, and all she has ever wanted is to help and love her daughter, it was so difficult to see some of the decisions she made on her daughter's behalf.  I wanted to dislike her, but deep down, I just couldn't because she didn't do it for herself.  She thought she was doing these things for her daughter.  This made the situation even sadder to me.

This wasn't one of those "feel good" stories, at least not to me.  I felt somewhat depressed after reading it, but at the same time, it truly was a very good book.  I'll stop there, as I don't want to ruin it for anyone, but suffice it to say, I did like the book, and I think the choices Carmen eventually makes were so very right for her and her story.

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