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Thursday, 22 December 2011

Review: Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

Title: Virtuosity
Author: Jessica Martinez
Series: Standalone
Pages: 294
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: October 27th 2012 (UK)
Source: For Review
Rating: 4 stars

Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. Two weeks before the most important violin competition of her career, she has bigger things to worry about—like growing out of that suffocating “child prodigy” label, and not disappointing her mother. But it isn’t just the wrong time. It’s the wrong guy. Jeremy is Carmen’s most talented rival, and according to her mother, he’s only interested in one thing: winning. 

He isn’t the only one. 

Carmen is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to control performance nerves. But what started a year ago as an easy fix is now a hungry addiction. Her mother insists now is not the time to quit, but Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of doing what she’s told. 

When the darker side of the classical music industry and her mother's ambition collide, Carmen must choose between her career and her love for music.

Virtuosity is a book about music but it is ultimately about love and loss. It deals with a battle between mother and daughter, competition and love but also an inner battle of what is right and wrong.

Carmen is an extremely talented violinist, preparing to take part in a competition to win a prestigious prize. Her biggest competition, Jeremy, makes   Carmen feel passionate to win but also passion in a whole different way.

I really liked Carmen as a character and I felt like I could connect with her. I felt her struggles as much as I felt her successes. I also really like Jeremy, the competitor and the love interest. The relationship develops quite fast but I think it is just so new and familiar and a chance to rebel from her mother and music. The internal battle of Carmen deciding whether Jeremy really cared for her or merely wanted to mess with her was just as agonising for me as it was for her. I felt everything she felt.

The element of music was ongoing but it didn't take centre stage. It was merely a well crafted device to demonstrate the characters. I really loved the music aspect and it was similar to 
If I Stay by Gayle Forman in some ways in that sense.

The book dealt with a lot of issues, including pressuring parents and 
competitiveness, as well as some other issues. Carmen's mother put an insane amount of pressure on Carmen and sometimes I just really wanted to hit her. As a failed opera singer she tried to force all of her frustration onto Carmen in order for her to succeed. I think parents like Carmen's mother are definitely found in competitive sports such as music and sports and I think Martinez dealt with it incredibly well. 

The ending really packed a bunch. There was a slow burn throughout the novel that was just turned right up. So many surprising 
occurrences and character developments. WOW.

Virtuosity is a 
bitter sweet novel with highs and lows. A beautifully novel dealing with struggles of competition, love and family. I look forward to reading more from Martinez in the future.


  1. Great review! I'm definitely putting this on my tbr list. Also, I'm totally loving that it's a stand alone book, those are really hard to find these days!

    Nerd Girls at Books to the Sky

  2. Great review! I read this earlier this year and enjoyed it quite a bit. The UK cover is so pretty!

    The Bursting Bookshelf

  3. Awesome review Alice! Haven't been around in a while so I'm just seeing how awesome your page is! I loved the classical music aspect of If I Stay as well as everything else. I will definitely check this one out!

    Lah @ LazyGirl Reads

  4. It looks like you enjoyed this one more than I did, I just couldn't connect to the story or the characters. Which is a shame, as it has a really interesting premise.


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