Thursday, January 10, 2013

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

Jessica Martinez
2011, 306 pgs

Summary from Amazon
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....

My Summary
Carmen’s whole life is the violin.  She loves music and the violin, but lately the pressure to perform has become too much.   She has followed the rules laid down by her momager, Diana, for her entire life.  Diana’s career as an opera singer was cut short by an unsuccessful/botched surgery on her vocal cords.  To deal with the pressure Carmen is prescribed anti-anxiety drugs (a move that is endorsed by her violin coach and mother).

As a result of some opposition research, aka stalking, Carmen ends up meeting Jeremy, her only real rival in the upcoming Guarneri competition.  She finds herself drawn to him even though she can never be confident in his motives.
That’s pretty much all the plot I feel comfortable revealing.

I found Virtuosity thoroughly enjoyable.  Exactly what I have been wishing for in reading material the last couple months, short and quick but not shallow.  There’s a sweet romance, believable conflict, and even a few bigger issues: fairness and integrity. 

I liked Carmen and Jeremy – even though it did feel a lot like insta-love.  Diana started out seeming only mildly stage momish, but got increasingly worse as the book progressed.  Most the other characters were fleeting, but I really enjoyed Carmen’s stepdad, Clark.  He was a calming influence who she could have used a lot more of.

My Rating
Enjoyability (5 out of 5 stars)
Relationships (4 out of 5 stars)
Writing (3 out of 5 stars)
This book will stay with me a few years until I tire of rereading it.   

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