Sunday, October 23, 2011

Review: Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

From Goodreads: 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 Rating: 4 hearts

Thoughts on the Novel: Jessica Martinez’s Virtuosity draws the reader into the world of classical music and one girl’s attempt to rediscover her passion for it. As someone who doesn’t know much about music and has absolutely no musical talent whatsoever, I tend to shy away from YA contemporaries dealing with the subject since I don’t know whether I’ll be interested. Fortunately, Martinez managed to captivate me with her plot and characters.

I found Carmen to be appealing and very relatable. Despite having a Grammy and being a successful musician, she has horrible stage fright and is so anxious about performing that she’s become addicted psychologically to Inderal. Now with the Guarneri coming up, she can’t help but obsess over it and her competition.

With her world completely revolving around music, it’s not surprising that Carmen does whatever her (horrid) mother Diana tells her. Rather than being a supportive mom, Diana is a control freak who keeps Carmen on a short leash and lives vicariously through her daughter since her own singing career was cut short. It’s only when Carmen meets Jeremy and the two spend time together that you start to see Carmen questioning her life and becoming more assertive.

Is it wrong that I loved the character of Jeremy – what’s not to like about a hot, confident and snarky guy with a British accent – even while I kept waiting for him to break Carmen’s heart and thus prove Diana right? The romance was a little too fast for me to consider that Carmen and Jeremy were in love – I’m very cynical if you haven’t figured this out by now – but I can believe that they really liked each other because as famous musicians, they understood each other’s life unlike the average person.

My favourite aspect of the book though was the climax and the prelude to it. Martinez managed to totally surprise me with how the Guarneri played out and the decision that Carmen chose. I love and admire Carmen for staying strong and doing something that a lot of people probably wouldn’t do in her situation.

With a fantastic debut like Virtuosity, I can’t wait to see what Martinez comes up with next!

Virtuosity was released by Simon Pulse on October 18, 2011. 

Comments About the Cover: I like that it looks like the girl is trying to break free; and since I always think pink and black look good together, it’s not a surprise that I also like the colour combination. 

In exchange for an honest review, this ARC was received from the publisher (Simon and Schuster) for free via Galley Grab.
original image from


  1. I thought the romance was rather fast too, but overall, I really enjoyed Virtuosity too! haha, I kept waiting to see if Jeremy would break my heart or not too... Great review, Zahida! :)

  2. Great Review!

    This one seems totally my kind of book =)

    thanks for sharing! ^__^

  3. I have no musical talent either and yet I'm still interested in this one. Though I'm pretty sure I would be cynical about the romance too.

  4. Is this one really that good? I kept putting off picking up my ARC, but now I'm regretting my decision! Great review, Zahida :)

  5. I had the exact same concerns as you did about the music aspect of it! I'm not a huge music person, so I was afraid that it would be difficult for me to relate to it. Maybe I'll still give it a shot, but we'll see.. I do keep eharing such good things about it (such as your review)...

    Thanks for sharing! You've given me some things to think about now lol

    Brenna from Esther's Ever After

  6. "As someone who doesn’t know much about music and has absolutely no musical talent whatsoever"

    This is so me. I'm completely tone deaf and couldn't play a musical instrument to save my life, but I love the sound of this book! Despite the fast-moving romance, I'm still really looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for the amazing review Zahida!

  7. Cynical? You?

    Nope, haven't notice. :)

    And yup, hot boys with accents always manage to make me fall in love with them too. Isn't it funny how accents come through in books? I was thinking about that the other day, and it's kind of weird, but it usually works for me.

    I've read quite a few reviews for this book today, and I'm totally looking forward to it. Seems like it does offer a few surprises despite the fact that an overbear parent is involved.

  8. Oh wow. I received this book too, but I just don't have the time to read it. Too bad, because it really sounds so good. I probably end up with a physical copy of it anyway. :) Great review!

  9. Glad to see you liked this one! I was quite impressed with it too - I really liked how the competitive angle affected Carmen and Jeremy's relationship.

  10. 'm reading Dark of the Moon right now. I'm at the beginning so nothing's really grabbed me yet but hopefully it'll get better since you seemed to have like it.divorce papers


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