Tuesday, 10 April 2012

"Virtuosity" by Jessica Martinez

All her life, Carmen has known she has to be the best. And she's wanted it as much as her family, putting everything aside for her music. But now she's met Jeremy - a fellow competitor for the prestigious Guarneri music prize - and she's beginning to think there might be more to life than playing violin. Jeremy seems to understand her more than anyone else. But does he really care about her, or is he just out to win the competition?

Carmen has a choice to make: between following the path her whole life has steered towards, or taking a step into the unknown with someone she's not sure she can trust. Because trying to win everything, could mean losing it all...

I had heard a lot about Virtuosity before I started reading it, and I was interested in it because I am a musician myself (although not as good as the main characters in this novel!). I really enjoy books about music, and I found that Virtuosity was no exception. Carmen was a great protagonist, with real personality, humour, and 'spunk'. I really felt her emotions when she was playing the violin, and how much she hated taking Inderal, an anti-anxiety performance drug. Her mother Diana was awful, and I really disliked her, especially when I found out the many wrong things she had done...

Jeremy was wonderful. I don't read about a lot of English boys in books by American writers; I'm used to seeing moody, secretive, controlling types who I really don't like. For the first time in a long time of reading contemporary novels, I have found a love interest where I could see why the main character fell for him. I saw Carmen's doubts about his intentions, and also how much she liked him herself, even if he was really arrogant at the beginning!
The prologue really made me ask myself a lot of questions about the plot, and then we get to see the events that lead up to it, and what happened afterwards. The ending was a perfect conclusion to such a good story, and my love of this book went up even more when I discovered that Jessica Martinez plays the violin and was probably in a similar competition situation as Jeremy and Carmen at some point. Being a musician, I understood the musical terms, but I think Jessica Martinez wrote them in in a way that non-musical readers could understand too.
I have one tiny fault, though, which was that there were printing errors in the book. Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and there were words missing. Usually, it wouldn't bother me but it made the book's format a little sloppy.

Rating: A-

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