Release Date: October 18, 2011 (US)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Virtuosity is told from the point of view of Carmen, an award winning violinist who is about to enter a competition and is going up against Europe’s best male violinist. I’m not a huge fan of music to be honest. I mean, I love listening to it, but I don’t understand most of the terms that musicians use and I can’t play an instrument to save my life. Actually, that’s a lie. I used to play the recorder. Boo-yeah. Anyway, what I was leading to before I got sidetracked was that the music in this book, while being a huge part of the novel, wasn't overpowering and there weren't music terms thrown around left, right and centre.
I really enjoyed reading from the point of view of Carmen, as she was easily relatable and I loved her personality. I was led to feel so sorry for her, and I was cheering her on during the latter half of the book. For coming from such a rich family, she’s definitely not spoilt and she’s really down to earth once you get to know her. I would have liked to have seen some development in the relationship between her and her biological father, perhaps just some sort of communication, because I felt like this could have been a goof focus for the novel. However, Carmen has a great relationship with her stepdad, which was awesome to read about.
Carmen’s relationship with Jeremy did move very fast. I would have preferred a little more build up, but without much action happening – this is contemporary, after all! – I think Jessica Martinez handled this quite well. Jeremy was a really sweet guy, and a well developed character. We learnt a lot about his own family, which I enjoyed. Tip: If a guy from Britain was to state his nationality, he would not say he’s British. He would say he’s English, Welsh etc.
I absolutely hated Carmen’s mother, Diana. I think that if I had seen more of her then I would have despised her as much as Nash from the Soul Screamers series. I almost do. She was an awful mother to Carmen, for various reasons. The main reason being she put her daughter on anti-anxiety drugs, and she practically forced her to take them. This made me so unbelievably angry. Diana was a very controlling mother, and ran Carmen’s life for her. I was very pleased with how their relationship turned out in the end.
Overall I enjoyed Virtuosity to an extent that was completely unexpected! Jessica Martinez is a fabulous author, and she told Carmen’s story really well. I’d definitely recommend this to fans of contemporary fiction, whether you like music or not. It’s a great book!