Performancing Metrics

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Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
Published by Simon Pulse
Pages: 304
Ages: Young Adult
Publication Date: 18 October 2011
Publishers Summmary:

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….

With everything riding on a single competition there’s nothing Carmen can risk, least of all her heart. When Jeremy, the young and overwhelmingly arrogant violinist not to mention “the” competition, suddenly enters her realm of thought beyond simply crushing him with her ability to play the violin she begins to question everything…starting with her anxiety medication. Given to her by her overbearing and competitive mother, Carmen can’t help but question her mother’s motives as well as her own desires. Is drug addiction and the lies that lead to a path of ultimate success worth it or could there possibly be a happier, more loved version in the end?

From the moment I read the synopsis for Virtuosity I knew it would either be an instant hit or a sad disappointment. Fortunately for me it was a stunning success that I couldn’t put down! My reason for wavering before my actual reading of the full novel had everything to do with the music element of it. Being a musician myself I can’t help but nit pick books that try to pull off a character like Carmen who’s every hope and dream revolves around her love-hate relationship with music. Obviously I’m no Grammy winning artist like Carmen, but I’ve taken a turn or two on the musical roller coaster and lived through it. So finding a character like Carmen and an author like Jessica Martinez(herself a musician also) who tells a story you simply can’t forget is something I value very highly.

Obviously you can guess the aspect I valued most in the story was Carmen’s struggle to balance her love of the music that fills her soul with the domineering power of her mother’s demands. Carmen’s career is everything to her mother and along the path to success Carmen soon forgets that it wasn’t always her career that had her playing in front of countless audiences. She once played because she loved it, everything about it, until one fateful mishap. Being that my own mother never pushed me to the point of drug addiction, it’s hard to relate to that part of Carmen’s life but the anxiety certainly is. Never wanting to fail, always wanting to play your best and never disappoint those around you…stressful is an understatement at times. It was wonderful to see that range of emotions in Carmen, from her yearnings to her competitiveness you could almost hear the music weaved throughout her story.

As for Carmen’s relationship with Jeremy, her “competition” and potential love interest, it was perfect. Not only did their relationship conflict balance perfectly, but Carmen’s decisions at the latter part of the book regarding not only her and Jeremy but the competition were exactly what I’d hoped for. Jeremy was fabulous! His snarky behavior in the beginning to his support during the last half of the book made him a guy that girls everywhere will swoon after.

Mentioning that Jessica Martinez is a debut author seems ludicrous. Her writing is as beautiful as the notes her characters play in Virtuosity making it nearly impossible to believe this is her first novel. This is a story about finding your own path and becoming who you truly want to be. Virtuosity is a coming of age novel that sings to it’s readers and one that I’ll certainly be recommending for some time to come. Be on the look out for Jessica Martinez though, as I’m certain Virtuosity isn’t the last we’ll be hearing from her!

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 14 and up. A coming of age novel that has readers questioning their own dreams and what they truly want out of life. A stunning debut novel from Jessica Martinez!

Find Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez at the following spots:
Powell’s Books
Barnes & Noble

Thank you so much to the publisher, Simon Pulse, for providing a copy of this book for review! Connect with them on Twitter and on Facebook!
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This review is part of The {Teen} Book Scene blog tour for Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez. Be sure to stop by the other sites on the tour for more great reviews and guest posts!

5 Responses to Book Review: Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

  1. really like this book reading it now

  2. Great review. Reading the blurb of this one I had the same mixed feelings, but I’m delighted to hear that it’s a success. 🙂

  3. Oh, I was curious about this one! Like you, I wasn’t entirely sure from the blurb how I would feel, but I’m intrigued by the premise. I’ll have to look for it…

  4. […] as I did with Jessica’s. After you’re finished here don’t forget to check out my review of Virtuosity as well. So, without further hesitation on my part, Jessica Martinez with her favourite books from […]

  5. Karman says:

    Haha, my name is Karman and the main character’s name drew me in =P But I was interesting in reading this book and this review just made me wanna read it more!

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