Hardcover, 294 pages
Published October 18th 2011 by Simon Pulse
Borrowed From Library
Synopsis 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....
I really enjoyed reading Virtuosity - I loved the writing, the storyline, and the 2 main characters. The prologue sucked me right into the story. Once I started reading I was hooked and I didn't want to put this book down.
The protagonist, Carmen, is very sheltered and extremely naive. Every minute of her life is controlled by her mother. With so much expectation placed on Carmen to always perform at her best, she begins showing signs of cracking. Her mother basically forces her to take anti-anxiety pills, and even though Carmen doesn't want to take the medicine, she becomes dependent upon them. I really sympathized with Carmen because of the pressure she was under, and I admired the way she handled her addiction.
Carmen and Jeremy start off as competitors, but after spending time together, they soon begin to care about each other. Their relationship is well written, and has a forbidden aspect to it, which adds drama to the storyline. With a huge competition looming, I could really feel the pressure that Carmen and Jeremy were under to perform and be the best while attempting to maintain a fledgling relationship.
Jeremy was not an instantly likable character for me. In the beginning I wasn't sure of his motives and I questioned his sincerity. He was very competitive and totally obnoxious. Luckily, the more I got to know Jeremy, the more I liked him. He ended up being more than I expected.
Even though Carmen is naive, she is very smart, and I was happy to see her start to take chances and make decisions about her life. I really enjoyed her progression and maturation as the story went along. Having Jeremy in her life was a huge part of Carmen being able to stand up for herself and what she believes in.
Virtuosity is wonderfully written and completely engaging. The characters were well developed, and the plot will keep your attention. I thought that the romance was very sweet, and the relationship between Carmen and Jeremy felt natural, although they did have a lot of trust issues. This was a very clean read that would be appropriate for younger teens, and I highly recommend it.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars