Saturday, December 24, 2011
Book Review: Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: October 18, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: PulseIt website
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.... (Goodreads.com)
I'm sitting here trying to write this review, and all I can think to say is, "OMG THIS IS THE BEST EVER. READ IT NOW OR PREPARE TO FACE MY WRATH." But somehow I know that is not an acceptable review. So I'll do my best to put all of Virtuosity's awesomeness into words.
I'd been on a pretty bad reading streak, and Virtuosity was just what I needed to break through that. This book had its claws in me from the very beginning. The back and forth banter between Carmen and her best friend is comical and realistic and the whole first scene is just very funny and awkward. I LOVED IT! The writing is so friggin amazeballs, too. Carmen's voice comes through loud and clear and I was emotionally invested IMMEDIATELY. I didn't want to stop reading at all, which is rare when I am reading off of a computer screen.
I adored Carmen. She was a funny, sweet, and completely naive. All she ever really knew how to do was be the best at violin, and then here comes some guy from London who may possibly be better than her and ruin her career! Carmen began on a very, very short leash with her mother, and she had to learn to make it longer and become more independent. She had to learn that there was more to life than just violin and being the best. She has to learn to do what her conscience tells her, rather than what everyone else tells her, and she has to make some major sacrifices. She was so, so, so, so easy to relate to. Her competitive streak, her desire to be able to be who she wanted to be, her need to be loved, her struggle to do the right thing. She's human and flawed and so very real.
And then there's Jeremy. OMG JEREMYYYYY. This dude has problems to. He's not perfect. He;s obnoxious, super competitive, and his motives are questionable. But he's so wonderful. He makes a lot of mistakes. A LOT. Like begging Carmen for something he should never in a million years even think bout asking her. He really did surprise me. I figured he was going to be an arrogant asshole, but he had a side to him that I would have never guessed and I LOVED IT. Oh my gosh did I love it.
Carmen's mom was a bitch. END OF STORY.
This whole thing was just GAAAAHH MARVELOUS. One of those books, you know? I expected this to be a lot darker. I figured the drug addiction would be a prominent point in the plot, and that this would be about Carmen's downward spiral into all the negative aspects of performing. I'm so glad it wasn't. Instead, it was more about Carmen discovering who she is, learning how to be her own person, learning to grow up and make decisions, learning to love even when she shouldn't, learning that nobody and nothing is perfect, learning that her life needs to be revolved around more than one thing, and simply learning to be Carmen.