Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
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…. (Goodreads)
The Story: Carmen is preparing for the biggest competition of her life: The Guarneri. For those not in on the violin-know, this is a huge deal. The winner receives fifty-thousand smackeroos, goes on tour and is pretty much guaranteed sweet success. And our girl is ready. She’s primed. So she’s got a serious issue with her nerves. And so she has to take more and more Linderol just to make it through practice (pushed heartily by her mother and by her crankypants violin teacher). She’s ready. Stop worrying.
Carmen’s biggest competitor is Jeremy King. He ‘s from London, is extremely gifted and is pretty darn cocky. Carmen should clearly stay away from him and not do the unthinkable—meaning, she shouldn’t fraternize with the enemy. Or crush on him. Jeremy knows he makes Carmen a little edgy and he plays it up until something happens: he and Carmen start to actually like each other. I mean “like” as in all I want to do is make out with you despite the fact that I’m going to pummel you in the competition. It makes sense really because they understand each other, but it grows more and more difficult because as the Guarneri draws near they have to admit the painful truth: only one of them can win.
Meanwhile, Carmen’s mom is kind of a nutters. Not like Barbara Hershey in Black Swan or anything, but crazy intense. She’d do pretty much anything to see Carmen succeed. She controls every detail of her daughter’s career and presides over her like a dictator. She believes that Jeremy is enemy numero uno (and he is) and that his intentions are less than honorable. She tries to keep them apart, she tries to convince Carmen not to trust Jeremy and all the while Carmen is torn between her new feelings and her uncertainty about her future.
My Take: This was an excellent story. I loved that it took me into an entirely new world (I know nothing of playing instruments or serious competitions). Carmen was incredibly intense. I thought she was borderline crazy at times, which is amazing because she was driven by such passion, not only in her music but in every decision she made—nothing could stop her. She’s raw and unprepared for the new feelings of love she has for Jeremy, and yet she goes for it full throttle. I liked Jeremy too, but I won’t divulge too much about that because I think it’s too spoilery.
Crush Intensity: 4/5 If you think a book about violin virtuosos can’t be intense or romantic, or even tragic, think again. This one is good.
I’d like to give a huge thank you to Simon Pulse and Galley Grab for giving me an e-galley of this book!