Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: won ARC
You can read the Goodreads summary here.
Carmen is a teenage violin virtuoso and the biggest competition of her life is rapidly approaching - the Guarneri competition, whose prize includes a priceless violin for four years, but also the start to an epic violin career. Carmen was just trying to scope out the competition when she spied on Jeremy and she certainly didn't intend to actually meet him... or get kissed... Meanwhile Carmen is also struggling with her anti-anxiety medication, worrying that she may be addicted.
Ah! Why did I wait so long to read this book? I absolutely loved it. I was anything but a musical prodigy as a child - I played clarinet through middle school but was terrible and refused to practice - yet the story line in Virtuosity drew me in entirely. Maybe I just wanted a glimpse of what that world was like. Carmen really is an interesting character to read about; she's won a Grammy yet she hasn't even graduated high school yet. As for school, she doesn't even go to school, she has a tutor so she can spend as much time as possible with her violin.
I loved that Carmen loved music so much. Sure, everyone loves music, but it was practically in her veins. I think because Carmen didn't attend high school like normal teenagers, she was a much more mature character and I really appreciated that about her. She was wise beyond her years and that really came to her advantage near the end of the book. Even when she found herself in a dating situation, she wasn't stereotypical teenage girl about it at all. Perhaps that's what I enjoyed about Virtuosity the most - it was far from stereotypical.
That was such a fantastic part of the book, as well, her relationship with Jeremy. It was such a forbidden thing because her mother thought she should focus on music and because spending time with Jeremy was practically like consorting with the enemy, and who doesn't love reading about a forbidden romance. The ending of the book really surprised me though, the last chapter in general, but also the very last paragraph - it really left me thinking about what's next for Carmen. I liked the way the author ended things.
The only thing I wish the author had expanded on more was Carmen's "addiction" to her anti-anxiety medication. It wasn't a very heavy topic in the novel at all.
Four stars! Virtuosity was a delight to read and I highly recommend it to YA contemporary fans. The virtuosity theme was refreshing and very enjoyable.