Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

After winning a tour around the world for her violin recital, Carmen Bianche was all about success and winning the upcoming Guarneri competition. That was until Carmen saw her main competition, Jeremy King, a British 17-year-old who was also world wide known for his violin talent.

Carmen really wanted to hate Jeremy. She even started out hating him, but after she met him and saw the person behind the violin, she realized that she may actually have feelings toward Jeremy.

In order to prepare herself for the competition, Carmen keeps her distance away from Jeremy, keeping all feelings put on hold until the winner is chosen. Fate wasn't having that though.

In addition to her feelings toward Jeremy, Carmen was also fighting a battle with her self, along with her mother. Her mother, Diane, was a famous soprano singer before losing her voice through a surgery. Now, Diane is helping Carmen get her musical career going, living through her daughter's success.

Carmen also has been taking Inderal, a prescription drug to "take away the edge" and calm Carmen down during her performances. She decides she wants to feel the adrenaline rush during and after her performances, so she stops taking the medicine, putting Carmen on the wrong side of her mother.

After dealing with some major setbacks, Carmen has to decide if she loves music, or if she loves the idea of winning more to determine where her future career will take her.

My Thoughts/Reflections
I've actually been reading a lot of YA novels about music. Out of those novels, I think this one was by far my favorite one. Reading how Carmen was struggling with so many inner demons (her attraction to the enemy - Jeremy, battling against Inderal, going against her mother's wishes) showed me the hardships that professional musicians go through - something I've never thought about before.

The pressure that Carmen goes through before the Guarneri competition would be enough to crack a grown man. I don't know how Carmen was able to think straight, let alone make two of the hardest decisions in her life.

The romance between Carmen and Jeremy was very heated - even though there wasn't too many romantic scenes between them. The attraction they feel toward one another is forbidden, but there none the less. Both are able to see the person, rather than the violinist, the competition, making their thoughts and feelings very confusing about one another.

I really loved this book, which is a surprise to me. I thought I would like it, it would be a nice, different read, but the iron will of Carmen and her grown up ability to make decisions instantly attracted me to her character.

I would recommend this to anyone aspiring to be a musician, or to any teenage girl who feels trapped in a family situation and has no freedom to do what they want. It's a great novel to read if one is feeling pressured or lost in their own world and needs a way to clear their head to find the right path to take.

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