Length of Book: 304 pages
Type of Book: YA
Format: My Kindle and Kindle app for my iPhone
Release Date: October 18, 2011
How I found out about it: I was looking for a brand new release. I sorted my Goodreads list by date and realized this one, that had been sitting on my list for oh-so-long, had just been released! Two minutes later, it was downloaded and I was immersed in Carmen’s world.
Synopsis: Carmen is a seventeen-year-old girl who is about to compete in the biggest violin competition of her life; she’s already won a Grammy and traveled the world, but this would top everything. She’s focused and driven until she meets her biggest competition, Jeremy King.
Jessica Martinez is a writing genius. After the first page and a half of this book, I was hooked and left questioning how I was going to make it through another 302 pages to find out how this story pieced together. The story begins with the ending. We are introduced to Carmen at the climax of the story, and then chapter one begins from the beginning of the story with Carmen staking out her competitor for the Guarneri competiton, Jeremy King. Carmen comes across as very sheltered because of her home-schooling and musical career that has left her unable to interact with other people her age. When she first meets Jeremy, he seems so completely different than her – sarcastic, in-your-face, and maybe a little cocky. Of course Carmen’s (and my) interest was sparked by this boy.
As the competition nears and things heat up between Carmen and Jeremy (I’ll let you read the book to find out if I’m referring to a romantic heat or a competitive heat), we get an inside look at how discontent Carmen really is. Her mother was a detestable character. The things she made Carmen go through for the sake of winning was unfathomable. The amount of pressure she placed on her daughter was immense. I felt so uncomfortable reading through pieces of this story because Carmen hadn’t come to the realization that they were wrong things to be doing. I wanted to reach through the pages of the book to shake Carmen and say, “YOUR MOTHER IS TRYING TO LIVE HER LIFE THROUGH YOU.” Carmen practically had it all and yet, she wasn’t able to enjoy an ounce of her life because her mother had her on such a short leash.
I appreciated how this story was told because it felt like I was going through the journey with Carmen. I could understand her questioning of Jeremy’s motives. Was he talking to her because he was trying to manipulate her or was he really a genuine guy? Did she believe her mother about everything? Had her mother ever led her astray before? I flew through this book because I had so many ideas of what could happen and I desperately wanted to know if I was right. Unfortunately, the ending left a little to be desired because all the loose ends were not tied up. I’ve looked at Goodreads and at Martinez’s website to see if there is a scheduled sequel planned for Virtuosity, but I have yet to confirm or deny this. I really hope there’s another book coming out. I am sure my jaw dropped when I finished the last page – such a cliffhanger. Regardless of the end, this was still a four star kind of book for me.
A small side note is that while I was perusing Martinez’s blog, I saw this post where she did a book signing. If you click the link, you can see this awesome author playing the violin for her audience at the book signing. How cool is that!? I definitely felt like she knew the subject matter and composers well (this coming from a tone deaf, but musically interested girl), and now it all makes so much sense. She plays, too!