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Most Helpful Favorable Review
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.
a Page turner that keeps you reading.
Jessica, great writing! I look forward to your next book!
posted by songbirdsue on October 23, 2011Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.
Personally I thought this book was a good book with a interestin
posted by 13299489 on May 23, 2012Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 23, 2012
Personally I thought this book was a good book with a interestin
Personally I thought this book was a good book with a interesting story line. You do not see a lot of young adult books about music, and that really intrigued me. To be honest the first part of the book was a little slow and took me a while to get into. But once you get closer to the middle it starts to pick up. I thought the relationships between the characters were developed nicely and seemed realistic rather than fairy tale. It has depth, action, mystery, and romance. It's really interesting to see a different side a the music world, especially that it's classical music not modern. Overall, I think it was a nice book and a great read for the summertime.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 3, 2012
I feel torn writing this review. There are a lot of elements tha
I feel torn writing this review. There are a lot of elements that I enjoyed about this novel and a lot that I didn't like. I used to play the viola when I was younger so it was really awesome to read about a girl playing a string instrument. You don't see a lot of that in YA fiction, right?
Some parts in this novel are really beautiful. I really like the part toward the end when Carmen is sitting on the beach, gazing out at the colorful horizon. I love the amount of detail the author put into her scenes. It made me visualize everything without trouble. The attention to detail really propels the story forward, especially when Carmen is playing violin.
The romance is so-so for me. I was more interested in Carmen's growing confidence in herself and her ability to stop taking the medication. That takes a lot of courage and strength. The ending is extremely satisfying, too, proving that she experienced a huge change from beginning to end. She is no longer that little girl who is coddled and bossed by her authoritative mother.
However, I had a really hard time connecting with the main character. I've read other reviews that have shared this opinion, so I know that it's not just me. There was a scene early on in the novel that made me dislike her so much, which is on page 55:
"In less than two weeks I'd be facing Jeremy King and the Guarneri. Scared? I stared at the pregnant girl in the ad. She had no idea."
Really? Perhaps I am too sensitive or taking it too far, but that really upset me. Carmen is a privileged girl. She doesn't have to worry about food, a home, a bed, or money, among other necessities in life. It really rubs me the wrong way when people compare hardships in life. I am not perfect, but I try my best to not compare life situations like that. While I can understand why she is comparing this competition to being pregnant, it just rubbed me off the wrong way. Having an unexpected pregnancy is one of the scariest experiences in the world, especially when it comes unexpectedly and you are not prepared emotionally and financially (and physically, too). Competition is extremely scary, too, but why in the world should it be compared to realizing that you're pregnant and being completely lost as to what to do?
The privileged fact was another reason why I felt distant from the novel. There are examples of lavish living everywhere, from Gucci to expensive hotels. I'm tired of reading about rich people. Not everyone in this country is rich. Actually, most of us are struggling. That's another reason why I found it hard to connect with the story.
Even though the details were great, I felt that Virtuosity isn't really for me. I was too disconnected from the main character to really connect to the story, and ultimately that affected my reading experience greatly.
2.5 stars, which rounds to 3 stars.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 23, 2011
a Page turner that keeps you reading.
Wow! It is a page turner from the beginning. I could not put it down. I really enjoyed the glimpse in the life of a young musician. The stress and extent people will go to in order to be on top. It is a story of coming to terms with ethics and how far will Carmen go in order to be on top. Who do you trust?
Jessica, great writing! I look forward to your next book!
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 21, 2013
Hook, line, sinker
Carmen pulled me in. Relatable and engrossing this is definitely something to be read. Especially if you have a background in orchestra. And even if you've never played before you can still feel the same elation as that characters.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most easy description i will give of thus book... alive.
Posted August 19, 2013
Best book ever
I absolutely loved this book! So sweet and cute! With a couple twists in the book it keeps you confused on who to trust! The author is very detailed and i suggest if you like this book try reading her other book the space i between usWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 28, 2012
This book was good as a first read however it was seriously lack
This book was good as a first read however it was seriously lacking depth and in some parts I had to re-read a couple of times to understand. I finished this book quickly really without enjoying almost every aspect of it like I try to do my best with all others but, this book although wasn't hard to get into; I just couldn't picture the movie in my head. I love that this book was about violins and a serious violinist the events which led to her downfall weren't as severe as the main character makes them out to be. With everyone in this book having problems its very hard to see hers as the most extreme of the all.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 29, 2012
Havent read i yet Haven't read it yet...
But i suspect great things from Martinez. From the blurb,I noticed that there may be drama/Romance/Comedy/(and of course)MUSIC!! Marti?ez we expect great things from you in the near future.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 10, 2012
complex and engrossing
Carmen Bianchi should have one thing and only one thing on her mind right now: winning the Guarneri competition. Technically, the Guarneri violin competition has already been on Carmen's mind for years. She has fame, she has a Grammy. But victory at the Guarneri has always been the final target--the last step to confirm her ascent from talented prodigy to a true virtuoso, a real talent.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Except Carmen is losing focus.
Carmen's mother channels all of her own career aspirations into managing Carmen's professional life while micro-managing her personal life. That used to be fine. But now Carmen isn't so sure why she is playing. Struck with painfully acute stage fright isn't even sure she's good enough.
Not after she hears Jeremy King play.
With the Guarneri finals fast approaching, both Carmen and Jeremy know the real competition is between two violinists: them. Carmen has every reason to hate Jeremy, every reason to stay away from him. She knows that. She also knows she can't stay away when Jeremy is the one person who might really understand her.
As what should be her finest hour approaches, Carmen has to decide if a win playing the violin is worth more than finding her own voice in ¿Virtuosity (2011) ¿by Jessica Martinez.
¿Virtuosity ¿is Martinez's first novel. Martinez began playing the violin herself at the age of three. She has worked both as a symphony violinist and as a violin teacher.
With a book so grounded in the main character's passion there is always the risk of getting lost in technical jargon or simply atmosphere, particularly when the author is already an expert in the field. One of the biggest strengths of ¿Virtuosity¿ is that the story remains centered around Carmen as a character instead of Carmen as a violinist.
With snappy prose and competitive passion, ¿Virtuosity ¿is an interesting story about the difference between fostering a talent and quashing it. There are no easy answers for Carmen and the choices she faces throughout the novel which is part of what makes this book ¿such a gripping read. Martinez's characters are well-drawn and authentic from their talents and wants right down to their flaws. Virtuosity is as complex as it is engrossing.
Possible Pairings: ¿Catalyst¿ by Laurie Halse Anderson, Prom and Prejudice¿ by Elizabeth Eulberg, Bunheads by Sophie Flack, Where She Went by Gayle Forman, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach, ¿Rx¿ by Tracy Lynn
Posted February 3, 2012
Amazing debut and Contemporary
I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. I thought it would just be a quick read (which it was) but it was so much more.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I really felt like I could relate to the subject matter as playing an instrument myself. Although I play the cello instead of violin and I'm nowhere near as talented as Carmen is. But I do think that those who don't have a musical background can also enjoy this book.
Carmen was my favorite part of this book. I loved watching her grow throughout the book. She learned how to decide for herself what she wants and what she does. She was a little weak in the beginning, which was a tad bothersome, but she grew and became a stronger person, which I liked that about her.
Virtuosity is a fantastic debut--one that I wasn't expecting to like so much. Even with its short length, there is an addictive quality to it and wonderful character.
Posted January 14, 2012
As you no doubt read in the blurb, Carmen is a world-renowned violin virtuoso. I found it interesting to read about her life and the inevitable pressures that come along with such talent and fame. Carmen, for all of her world travelling and access to unique circles of people, is still a very sheltered teen thanks to her mother, Diana.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Although, I'm sure, Diana's intentions were pure in the beginning of Carmen's career, she has now become a stage mother of all stage mothers (hello, Mama Rose!) and the central source of Carmen's growing anxiety.
Enter stage left: Jeremy. Jeremy is Carmen's cheif rival for an upcoming all-important competition and (natch) her love interest. I liked the way their relationship developed and loved the mystery that made me question his motives almost until the end.
The only drawback for me was the end. I promise not to ruin it for you, but Carmen's choices in the last chapter had me questioning girl power in the modern world. My faith was restored in the end, but just barely.
Overall, I really enjoyed Virtuosity. I loved peeking behind the scenes of such a glamorous, yet stressful life and Martinez shares the details like an insider.
Posted January 12, 2012
A debut not to be missed
I love books about musicians. Granted, I may be slightly biased, but I think that serious musicians, especially in high school, aren't always understood well and are often shunned by others who aren't as serious about music. I think it is great that books like this can help show others what life is like for them.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Carmen is a child prodigy and one of the best violinists in the world. She has toured the globe, played in some of the best concert venues, and even been homeschooled so that she can devote more time to practicing and performing. But one disastrous performance led her to Inderol, an anti-anxiety drug that she takes to get through her performances...and her lessons. Soon she's relying on these much more than she should. Enter Jeremy, the arrogant but oh-so-hot competition. They wind up talking one night, and Jeremy's description of performing causes Carmen to begin to question many things about her own musical life. As the prestigious Guarneri competition grows closer, Carmen finds herself more drawn to Jeremy and more inclined to rebel against her mother the manager. When an unexpected event calls the entire competition into question, Carmen must make an important decision - what is she willing to lose in order to win?
Virtuosity has a little bit of everything YA - the struggle to define yourself, the question of what do you really want from life, striving for independence from parents, and romance - blended together in a fresh and engaging way. I found Carmen's character incredibly easy to relate to. But even if you're not a musician with performance anxiety, we all have things that we dread. No matter what profession we're in or what our hobby is, there is always somebody who is better. This book explores those issues. And I loved the budding romance between Carmen and Jeremy. The cynicism of Carmen's mother Diana toward their relationship sounded just like the doubts that we all let ourself have. Virtuosity embarks on an emotional roller coaster that doesn't stop until the last page. The feelings, struggles, and situations were incredibly vivid, which made for a very intense (in a good way!) read.
There were a few things about this book that I found frustrating, however. Carmen's mother, for instance. She is your classic overbearing, controlling mother (not to mention she's Carmen's manager), and I wanted to defy her right along with Carmen. Even still, I couldn't hate her completely - unfortunate circumstances forced her to give up her dream, and so she shifted the pressure of success onto Carmen. Then there was something that Jeremy did. While some people may find it endearing, I was actually very annoyed with it. So, if you are like me, keep reading - you will be glad you did.
You do not have to be a musician to appreciate the depth of this book. Complete with the butterflies and beauty of first love and the quest of one girl to find her place in the world, Virtuosity is a debut not to be missed!
Posted December 19, 2011
I love the story it was great and i loved how i could relate to it as a teenager. I thought the ending was sweet but i do wish the book was a tad bit longer....hence the 4 stars....overall great read if your looking for a contempoary read:)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 4, 2011
Great Book. Martinez does a great job at creating a sense of what is actually going through Carmens mind when she interacts with other charaters in the novel. As a fellow pianist I felt as if I could strongly relate to Carmens feelings and emotions of what she was thinking when she was torn betweening having to decide whether to chose a "muscians" career - full of expectations and obligations- or Jermey - someone who makes her happy, free, and able to forget about and get away from the stress of the competitive music world. When she got nervous I could feel myself getting nervous for her. The characters in the book are outstandingly realistic, which I guess is why I loved this book so much. I kept reading and couldn't put the book down, I just had to keep reading. Its a page turner that keeps you wanting to know more about whats going to happen next. I would most definitely refer this book: First, to all my muscian friends who and then to everyone else!!! Love this book! Thank you sooo much Jessica Martinez!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 30, 2011
Sweet Contemporary Read
Virtuosity is a sweet contemporary read that will make you rethink your wants in life. I loved that the story focused on a classical violinist and the competition she was striving to win. Even if I hadn't read the authors bio, it would have been completely clear to me that she has played the violin and been in competitions like this before. She conveyed what it feels like to play in such a way that even non-musicians like me could identify. Many teens will also be able to identify with the pressure placed on them to be the best at what they do.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Carmen's character has led a very sheltered life and it's quite visible in her reactions to some things. The subject matter of prescription medications also plays a big role in the story and it's handled wonderfully by Carmen. If only we could say the same for her mother. While her mom is the one pushing her to do more and is the ball and chain for Carmen, her stepdad is the loving and kind one and scenes about him stand out. Jeremy is written in such a way that I was laughing one minute, appalled the next, and then smiling another moment. His character is the most defined and realistic as he varies from moment to moment, never quite perfect. While all of the choices made by Carmen may not be the ones parents want their children to make, I still felt she was justified in doing everything she did given the situation she was in. The best part of this book was the love of music the author was able to inject into it. Now off to check out some of the mentioned pieces of music.
Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.
Posted October 27, 2011
As I began this book, I really loved the feel of the book. The passionate music flowing between the fingers of the strings of the violin, but also the great competition in between. The reader begins with two great musicians, yearning for a fantastic prize of fame and fortune. What starts off with an exchange of fighting words slowly becomes something beautiful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The plot line of this book blew me away! I loved reading about music. Both characters were so passionate about it. The strive to be the best, the uphold a family legacy, had me reading pages faster and faster. I adored watching both Carmen and Jeremy push and pull each other. See there love blossom between the aches and pains of music is very nice.
The characters Carmen and Jeremy felt real enough to the reader, that you felt every ounce of stress, nausea, anxiety when it came to performance time. I guess you can say I have had a taste of this cause I too was in band. I played Clarinet and when it came to competition time, it was on! I liked that Carmen and Jeremy face a road of obstacles. Though it did not bring them down, it made them stronger. Stronger in themselves, as well as a couple.
I also adored the betrayal in the story. it may not seems like a big one to some people, but when you are that passionate about something like that, it comes off as a low blow. You are no longer what you claimed to be. You are now a fraud. I adored that the character took steps in the right direction to correct the matter, but I also felt for the pain of loss they had to endure.
Virtuosity is a great book about two amazing musician coming to term with who they are. With passionate music, a burning love and a betrayal that will make everything different, this book I loved.
Posted October 22, 2011
Unique and Wonderful!
As someone who grew up on the stage, in front of audiences, and in the professional world, I could really relate well to this book. Jessica captured the pressure and demands of that lifestyle so well. And besides that, there is a hot British boy and a killer opening scene - one of the best I've read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 18, 2011
Great Story About Great Music
Carmen is a child prodigy on the violin. She's had world tour, CDs, even a Grammy. The last thing she needs to really make it is the prestigious Guarneri prize. She really only has one person to worry about beating her, and when she hears him play she becomes quite worried. However, when Jeremy, the other violin player, e-mails her out of nowhere, things take an interesting twist. Soon Carmen and Jeremy are spending more time together, and Carmen's mom is not pleased. Carmen will have to decide who she's playing for and why she plays. Her decisions could change her life forever.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I enjoyed this book a lot! I found the contrast between Carmen and Jeremy fascinating. Who has it better? The one who has more natural talent but has everything handed to them? Or the one who has to fight for everything because of their passion for music? Somewhere in the middle of becoming violin famous, Carmen has forgotten about her love of music. I wanted so much for her to be able to rediscover her passion for playing. Although Jeremy was competitive, he was still very nice. Not perfect by any means, but someone who will certainly have readers swooning.
I was honestly surprised with where the plot ended up going. There were some twists and turns that made the book even more exciting. Through it all you really feel the author's passion for music. This was translated so well throughout the book. I highly recommend this book. It's an interesting study on music, competition, romance, and true motivations.
Galley provided for review.
Posted October 16, 2011
Hobbitsies Reviews: Fantastic contemporary with an awesome MC
I was absolutely blown away by Virtuosity. I've read a few books where the main character was some sort of musical goddess, but never anything as good and as real feeling as Virtuosity.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Because Carmen? Yeah, she's in my Spanish class and I just spoke to her at the library and I went to high school with her and oh, hey, Carmen is me! That sounds weird. Do you get it? Carmen is real. She has a seriously whack and controlling mother, and issues with anxiety and boys and friends and family and isn't that everyone? She has a passion and she doesn't know what is right and wrong and what to do about it.
And Jeremy. Maybe I didn't necessarily feel anything towards Jeremy alone, but I loved Jeremy and Carmen together. How they interacted with each other and their insecurities and trust issues and their mutual love of music. I loved that.
Let's not forget the (awesome) craziness that went down at the end of Virtuosity. I definitely did not see that coming. I mean, I didn't see any of it coming! Something big had to happen, of course, but.wow! Definitely through me for a loop there. And the ending itself - open ended in a way that I think I know what happened, but not too telling.just enough to leave me guessing! Perfect.
Overall, I loved Virtuosity. It's an absolutely amazing contemporary and stunning debut. I loved the characters (except for the mother rahrghahrw) and the storyline, and my god, this book made me want to start playing the cello again. Be sure to pick up a copy of Virtuosity as soon as you can!
Posted October 15, 2011
Really good contemporary
my thoughts cover: The cover does not really tell me something about this book. Its just nice to look at. The pink-reddish in contrast to the black silhouette. The uk cover is a bit plain and boring for my taste . Just a girl on the cover . she whore that dress in a scene book: I first saw this on my on one of my favorite blogs as a review book. I looked it up on goodreads and added it to my tbr/wishlist shelf. When i got the galley grab email, i was so exited seeing it downloaded it along with pledge and legacy ,will be reading those soon. Carmen Bianchi our leading lady has got it all , fame and fortune and she's only 17 but has social and family issues. I felt for her ,like i wanted to be there as a friend. Her stress and all. Jeremy King is the romantic intrest. He was not the ''BAD BOY" but not the perfect goody two shoes boyfriend. A normal British young teenage dude ,except being a music prodigy. I think a couple of galls wil swoon over his british accent and appearence in their mind, will say this he played rugby There was no insta-love I admire that. I like love triangles, but sometimes its overkill and so overdone. This does not have that, triangles i mean. Miss Martinez did not focus much on the romance but more on the coming of age of Carmen and facing her fears. I wanted to know a little bit more bouth Jeremy's life and such Other than Jeremy and Carmen, my favorite character was Clark, her step dad. A true father and a fanatic White socks fan. OK a tad fanatic. Had no trouble with Jessica's writing and the pasing of virtuosity. Some 50 or so pages were a bit slow but the remaining 100 pages were exiting. The ending was thoroughly good but it was bittersweet. Was exited for this book cause i always wanted to play the violin but a music instructor said that a drum or a instrument of that sort would be for me. Something with differentiating music tones and have small hands for a male , not femine but small hands. When i encountered a classical piece in this book, i looked it up on youtube. Virtuosity gave me a look in the world of musicians and the classical type. Jessica is one, a musician and plays the violin beautifully.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 8, 2011
Carmen Bianchi has accomplished more in eighteen years than most teens her age do in a lifetime. She's a Grammy award-winning, violin prodigy and in the fall she will attend Julliard. There's just one more thing she has to do - win the prestigious Guarneri competition which will give her career a final boost. The only person standing in her way is Jeremy King, a British violin prodigy, and her biggest competition. When Carmen spies on Jeremy one day, she doesn't expect to get caught, nor does she expect him to contact her afterward. As the competition draws closer, Carmen finds herself attracted to Jeremy, despite the warnings from her overbearing mother. Is Jeremy really into her, or is he just trying to throw her off before the competition? Should Carmen follow her mind, or her heart?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I was surprised by this book. Typically I'm weary of romance books, mainly because the main character falls in love too quickly. That wasn't the case here. Ms. Martinez does a great job of pacing the romance aspect to make it feel believable. I also liked that the attraction between Carmen and Jeremy wasn't the main focus. Ms. Martinez does a wonderful job of portraying the life of a competitive musician. I felt the pressure that Carmen's mother and teacher put on her, and I sympathized with her and was able to understand her reluctance to take the anxiety medication her mother forced on her before performances. The writing is electric, and the story is engaging, my only problem was with the last couple of chapters. While I was happy with the outcome, I wasn't sure I totally believed it. Still, this is a great read and one I would recommend.
(Review based on an Advanced Reader's Copy courtesy of the publisher via Simon & Schuster's GalleyGrab)