Book Review: Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez {Just Contemporary Review}

Today’s review for Just Contemporary {find the info about this event HERE} is one that I had only heard rave reviews about.  It’s another one about the arts, music to be more specific.  Hope you enjoy my review and hope check my other Just Contemporary reviews as well.
Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
Hardcover, 304 pgs.
Published Oct. 18th, 2011 by Simon Pulse
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Gift

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 really enjoyed this book.  It was a fast paced read with really no down time at all {which is kind of rare for contemporary} and had some amazing characters.  In fact, I loved Carmen!  I loved that she could think for herself, even if it took her awhile to do it {that was before this book actually started, because in this one she’s realizing that she has to think for herself almost straight from the beginning}.   She doesn’t believe everything told to her and is determined to find out what the right thing to do is.  And that pertains to many different things and you’ll have to read the book to find all that out.  
I also loved Jeremy and as bits and pieces of him were revealed I just felt that wonderful fluttery feeling in my tummy.  We didn’t get to know him as well I may have liked,  but we get a good enough idea of his fantastic personality and we see his weakness and it’s enough to know he’s completely lovable.  
Do you ever get stage fright for characters?  Or maybe it’s just you get really afraid for them that they will get stage fright.  Anyway, I was terrified for her a couple times.  I think her anxiety really came through in the writing so well that I could really feel it.  So much so that I was almost afraid to look, cause what if she messed up?!   Similarly I was afraid for her decisions and whether she would make the right ones and I was so happy with how the author shaped this book.  And I was surprised at how things went and over and over again I was caught completely off guard!  
It’s hard to review this one because I’m afraid of revealing too much.  I went into this book knowing it was about a girl who is a violinist.  I was afraid that I wouldn’t really be able to connect with her because I know nothing about that.  I’ve only gone to the symphony once in my life.  I know I love the music but I know nothing about it.  But it didn’t take away from the story in any way.  There wasn’t a bunch of details about the music or how things were done for concerts, etc.  It was just the perfect amount of descriptions thrown in.  This was about Carmen finding her own way through some very tough situations and no matter what your situation may be, or have been, you should be able to relate to her in her emotions and feelings.  
This book was wrote so incredibly well.  I absolutely adored the style.  And the ending was perfect.  It was done with really no questions left which I am very grateful for.  
This was a clean read.  Even though the characters are 17 there is no sex, no cursing {or very very little if any} and no violence.  There’s drug use, but it’s not the recreational drug use we normally see, but pills she takes for her stage anxiety that she is worried is making her not perform as well.  Even younger YA readers may enjoy this one, I highly recommend it to everyone.

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Comments

  1. I’ve been hearing such great things about this book it makes me bang my head on the wall cos I had this on netgalley, but couldn’t get to it owing to a busy schedule. And now, damn, it’s expired. Nevertheless, I’m gonna pick this up. Loved the excerpt I read on the author’s page. Plus, this looks like my kinda story.

  2. I was just looking at this one the other day at the store because I remember seeing it on your IMM post. I guess I’m skeptic because I know nothing about performing music but I’m happy that you said the book doesn’t focus in on that. Sometimes stories give too much description about how to do something that I can get bored.

    I’m glad that everything works out in this novel and I will have to add it to my x-mas wish list.

    Thanks for the great review, I would say I need to stop reading you reviews because everytime I add a new book to my wishlist but I love you reviews. They help me make decisions about books. :)

  3. Looks like I passed on a good book! I do still have my ARC and I think I should get started on it. Like you, I didn’t think I’d be able to connect with a violinist, but it looks like I will! Great review, Candace :)

  4. I’m really excited to read this one! I don’t read too many contemporary YA books, but I just finished Amplified and about gave myself an ulcer I was so nervous for her when she went on stage:) Love it! Seems like I’ll love this one as well, awesome review Candace!

  5. I really loved this book as well! The characters were so great and the real-life problems were really done well. Unlike you, I didn’t really like the ending, but it was still a great book :)

  6. I wouldn’t have thought I’d like this one, from the description alone. I know next to nothing about classical musical and didn’t really see this one as something for me, but your review makes me think I’m dead wrong. In fact, your review makes me want to read it. I’m still not sure if it’s something I’d love, but I think I’ll give it a shot to find out.

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