Friday, June 8, 2012

YA Friday Book Review: Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

by Isabelle Doan
Random Information:
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 294 (Hardcover)
Series: No
My Format: Library
Time to Read: 10 Hours
Rating: Library/Borrow/e-book/Paperback/Hardcover
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....
Here’s an essential question: Is it okay to do bad things for a good cause?

This, I felt was a recurring theme in Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez.

I came into this book thinking that it was a contrived chick lit. And FOR LOVE OF ALL THINGS BOOKISH, I wanted it to be.

However, I realized too late that this book is freaking depressing. (Sometimes that’s good, though.) 

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez is about a seventeen year old girl, named Carmen, who plays violin. She's very successful and has even won a Grammy. She has a competition coming up (Guarnieri) and that's what drives her to meet Jeremy King, the love interest.

Along the way, she takes some pills, listen to her mother who may or may not be corrupted, and stands up for herself and I guess that's important too. 

Now, here were some bad things about the book:

- The pretentious word dropping. I'm a violinist, but non-violinists will not know what things like vibrato and rosin and frogs are.

- Some inconsistencies. The love interest in this book, Jermey King, is British. However, sometimes he doesn't seem British. In one sentence he can say mom and in the next he can say mum. At times Martinez can make lame attempts at British dialect by dropping bloke or something, but still.

Some iffy things:

-Jessica Martinez seems like a nice person, and I read her blog and liked it. However, I'm not sure if Carmen is a character insert of the author or not. The reason I say this is because Martinez was a violin soloist around the world, and obviously knows a lot on it and relating subjects. 

However, to make a character of the same ethnicity (please correct me if I'm wrong) that also is a concert violinist that has amazingly amazing things happen to her is... sort of... well.

I mean, BEJEZZUS I want a hot blond British virtuoso to fall in love with me at first sight! Please and thank you.

BUT, as I read on, HOLY MOTHER OF MARSHMALLOWS, I never get this excited over some seriously flawed characters. Like, seriously. Even though this book isreally small, these characters became more and more interesting.

And, okay, hear me out. USUALLY, I sympathize with the bad characters in the novels. No, like seriously. Whenever YA books try to make out the parents as bad, I just want to bitch slap the child into the moon, because JEEZUSSS the parent is just trying to be a parent.

But in this book, even though you’re supposed to sympathize with Carmen’s mom, I really couldn’t. And HOLY MOTHER OF MARSHMALLOWS THAT’S A GOOD FREAKING THING.

Not only that, but the writing was really smart in some places.

I’ll admit that this book is not for everyone. Actually, a lot of people might not like it, as it’s sort of depressing because it looks at the bad side of everything, and no one goes on an epic journey… it’s just a portrait. A portrait tells you everything you need to know in one fell swoop, while an epic is perfectly chronicled and crap.

But honestly, what a refreshing break from that. It’s a good read if your head hurts.

I’ll leave you with an epic haiku that Carmen and Jeremy made up about baseball.

Ball-dropping fat dudes
Your mothers have moustaches
Girl Scouts run faster

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