Hardcover | April 21, 2014

byJessica Martinez

not yet rated|write a review
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....

Pricing and Purchase Info

$2.00 online
$18.99 list price
Out of stock online
Prices may vary. why?
Please call ahead to confirm inventory.

From the Publisher

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 w...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.2 inPublished:April 21, 2014Publisher:Simon PulseLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1442420529

ISBN - 13:9781442420526

Appropriate for ages: 14

Customer Reviews of Virtuosity


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Understated Review first posted at I hadn't heard of Virtuosity when it showed up in my mailbox a few months ago. What I did notice right away was the cover. Look at that cover, It's beautiful! And after reading the novel, the cover is very fitting for the story. I really like this book. A lot. I enjoyed the musical world Jessica Martinez created. It was fun and complex, and the competitiveness that takes over the lives of young musicians I found very original. One often reads about competitive sports competitions, but this concept of a musical skill being all consuming is not something that I have read about before, and I found it incredibly interesting. I was sucked in Virtuosity from the very beginning. I absolutely love when an author does that. When she is able to create such a gripping tale, that sucks you in from the first line. Martinez was able to convey the extreme emotions that Carmen was made to feel because of the Guarneri competition. I felt for Carmen, and her I could understand her anxiety. It made sense to me. Her confusion over her feelings for Jeremy was clear, and well developed. I loved reading about it. Her feelings of not being good enough were something that as a reader, you were empathic to. I enjoyed this part of the novel immensely. I liked Carmen. I really liked Carmen. She was a fairly timid girl and even with her timidity she tried to be strong. For a lot of the time she attempted to be the person everyone else wanted her to be, and that almost destroyed her. She lost sight of the thing that she loved the most- her music. What I loved the most about Carmen was when she made the decision to stand up for herself, and live her life, she stuck to it (for the most part), she knew that she needed a change and she was the only one to bring to make that change a reality. Although it was not easy for her. Carmen's mother was a piece of work. She was in no way supportive of her daughter. She was controlling and manipulative, and she almost destroyed her daughter. It really irked me. I really dislike the notion of parents living vicariously through their children, nine times out of ten it's not going to end well. Which we saw in Virtuosity. A mother's obsession that almost ruined her daughter. Jeremy. Oh, Jeremy. I liked Jeremy when her first made an appearance. I thought he was cocky, and funny, and he brought Carmen out of her shell. I wasn't a huge fan of this, a boy being the reason a girl could be herself. Girls don't need boys to be themselves. But, that's beyond the point. In this sense Jeremy was good for Carmen, and they had something in common. Her understood her. He knew what she was going through, and how the competition was all consuming, he knew the feeling. It was great. However, Jeremy wasn't all good. He did some pretty crappy things, which led to Carmen's downfall. However her redeemed himself, sort of. Jeremy wasn't without his faults, but he was pretty terrific. Overall, Virtuosity was a great book. I loved this story, and I loved the world that Martinez created. It was complex, and magical, and totally worth the read.
Date published: 2012-01-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful and Heart Breaking I want to start out by saying I know almost nothing about classical music or the world of competitive violin playing. This did not stop me from becoming completely absorbed in this novel. Jessica Martinez makes the finer details very accessible for those readers who (like me) are unfamiliar with this particular musical world. Though there are many, many things I loved about this novel my favourite by far was Carmen herself. She was so authentic, so real and that girl is just so brave! Even with all her personal flaws, I found her so admirable. She is an incredibly complex and deep character and I just don't think 300 pages was enough! I wanted the novel to be longer so I could get to know more about her (I don't think this is a criticism – I certainly don't intend it to be). There are some heavy issues put forth in this novel. We've got intense competitions, prescription drug addiction, teenage love, over bearing parents. All tackled in just 290 pages! A difficult feat to pull off but Jessica Martinez manages it. This novel handles these issues in an appropriate way and doesn't brush off their importance. I think a lot of people (not just teens) will be able to relate to many of the themes in this novel Virtuosity pulls you in and certain scenes will just tear you apart. The story is tragic, yet absolutely beautiful. This and other reviews can be found at Christa's Hooked on Books -
Date published: 2011-10-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Welcome to the Darker Side of the Competitive Classical Music World... I've been very excited to read Virtuosity ever since I first glanced at its bold, pretty cover... but it also doesn't hurt that its plot description immediately appealed to me as well! Jessica Martinez welcomes readers into the dark side of the classical music world with her debut novel! At the heart of Virtuosity is a coming-of-age story about a teenage girl just trying to break free onto her own path. Virtuosity has a wonderful, quiet intensity that continues to build as you progress through the novel. There's a lot at stake for both Jeremy and Carmen's futures with the approaching Guarneri competition, but of course, only one of them can win. They're the best violinists of their generation and everyone is watching– and waiting– to see who will come out on top. But while their musical talents are practically utter perfection, what their stage presence hides are their complicated relationships with their families. In particular, Carmen's mother is controlling and conniving to the point where you're left wondering just far she'll go to ensure that her daughter wins. And there's more to Jeremy's background than first meets the eye as well, lending more depth to his character. There's an enticing edge to the romance which develops between Carmen and Jeremy. They're both highly competitive and driven to win, yet they share an undeniable connection with their love of music and playing the violin that no one else can truly understand. But with the pressure of the competition on their shoulders, there's a certain tension in their words which leaps off the pages. I was left suspicious and weary of Jeremy initially... but mostly because I wasn't all too sure if I could trust that he wasn't trying to use Carmen's feelings against her. I loved how Jessica Martinez left her readers on edge, wondering what would happen next! The ending of the novel is left rather open-ended without too much closure, but there's a hopeful tone to it that suggests everything will work itself out in the end... even if we don't actually get to read it. Jessica Martinez's debut novel Virtuosity is one of those hidden gems you stumble across and immediately wish you had read sooner! I can't wait to see what kind of novel the author will write next in the future! You can also read this review at:
Date published: 2011-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Musical and Romantic In this intelligent read about love and music, Carmen surprises us with her witty and smarts. This was a little different than other books I read, but with its emotional pull, it really pulls the reader in. The book was narrated by Carmen, who in my opinion was very strong and I would say that she is independent. Her mother is too controlling of Carmen's career in becoming the top violinist. Her main goal is to win the Guarneri- a prestigious award. Then we met the handsome Jeremy. Ladies he is one great character. I liked him from the start, he was charming, adorable, and HOT. Carmen first meets him at a concert he plays, but with their little banter the relationship grows upon that. As they grew closer, we learn a new side of Carmen. Jeremy brings out a lot of things that Carmen, and her mother tries to get her to ignore the relationship and that he is using her, but once Jeremy kisses her.........Jeremy is one great character (British) all of his reasons for being there are heartwarming, it shows that he also has feeling for her once he got to know her. Violin is what connects them, and can also tore them apart. The plot was put together well, characters were well rounded, you really get in touch with Martinez's characters to the heart. Carmen's family is caring to some degree, but her mother is very insensitive, I know she cares for Carmen and her career as a violinist, she smothers her, and we dont see much of her biological father, only 2 mentions of him, I thought we could've seen more of him despite the circumstances. Overall I enjoyed the romance between these two, and the ending was a great ending, but it could have been more. If you like music, love and much more take a look at this book!!!
Date published: 2011-09-30

Extra Content

Read from the Book

Chapter 1 Carmen, stop staring. You can’t force him to appear with your eyes,” Heidi said. She was right. But I couldn’t risk missing him either. The backstage door of the Chicago Symphony Center was frozen shut, and it had been for at least a half hour. He had to be coming out soon. “Trade you,” she said. I took a quick glance at my dessert, a miniature chocolate cake with a molten center oozing out and a dollop of whipped cream on top. Then I looked at Heidi’s, a lemon drop cupcake nestled in an unnaturally yellow cloud of spun sugar. Both were missing one bite. “What’s wrong with yours?” I asked, eyes back on the target. “Nothing. It’s just too tart for me. Look at it, though. Isn’t it pretty?” She poked it with her fork. “Um …” I didn’t really care. Where was he? She smiled, sensing victory, and tucked her silky blond hair behind her ears. “I’m just in the mood for something richer.” She glanced at my plate again. “And you love lemon, right?” “I guess.” I pushed my plate toward her. I didn’t hate lemon. “You’re the best,” she said, her fork already sinking into my cake. “I know.” I took a bite of her dessert. The lemon curd was tart, especially after that bite of chocolate cake, but the frosting was painfully sweet. Elegant and trendy, like everything else on Rhapsody’s menu, but not something I actually wanted to eat. I took one more bite, then slid the cupcake out of my way and propped my chin on my hands. I had selected the patio’s corner table specifically for its view of the backstage entrance to Symphony Center. We were close enough to see the paint peeling off the door, but sufficiently hidden by Rhapsody’s hovering gold umbrellas and the fat green leaves sprouting from planters. Perfect for hiding. “Remind me what I’m looking for again.” Heidi licked a chocolate smudge from her thumb. “Blond hair, violin case.” “Right. Now remind me why you’re stalking this mysterious albino violinist.” “He’s not an albino and I’m not stalking. Stalking implies some kind of romantic interest.” “Sheesh. Lighten up,” she teased. “A little crush doesn’t have to be such a big deal.” I wanted to ignore her, but she was just too far off. “Again, Jeremy King is not a crush. I’ve never even met him. He’s the competition.” “But here’s the part I don’t get: Why do you need to see him? You’re a violinist. It’s not like you’re going to arm wrestle him. What is a visual going to tell you?” “Nothing. I’m just curious.” I pulled my hair up and tried to smooth the mass of unruly curls into a ponytail. “Everybody is talking about this guy.” “Everybody?” I didn’t have to look at her to know she was smirking. My everybody was not her everybody. Occasionally I forgot that the rest of the world didn’t exist exclusively in the realm of classical music. “I think this competition is finally getting to you,” she said. “It’s so bizarre to see you worried. You never worry.” “I’m not worried,” I said. “I just want to see him. And I’ve been preparing for the Guarneri Competition for four years now. There would be something wrong with me if I wasn’t getting a little freaked out.” Heidi’s eyes widened. “Are you going to make a Jeremy King voodoo doll? Is that why we’re here?” Then before I could glare at her, she gave me her signature sweet smile. Heidi’s cuteness was her greatest weapon. She used it to win people over, and then, knowing she was too adorable to hate, said and did whatever she felt like. I loved her like a sister, but she drove me nuts. And I had to wonder, if I had baby blue eyes and butter-yellow hair (yes, Heidi was essentially Barbie minus the sexy pout), would I get the same free pass? It’d be nice to be brutally honest, even act like a brat occasionally. But my dark, curly hair and brown eyes just didn’t cast the same spell. The slightly oversize nose probably didn’t help either. “No voodoo dolls,” I said, “but just think how much more interesting this is than physics or French, which is what we’re supposed to be doing right now.” “Agreed.” “Although, I guess that’s what my mom is paying you for.” She sat up straight and looked around the patio, as if Diana might actually be lurking behind an umbrella. “Looking for someone?” Heidi shrugged. “Nope. Just a reflex.” “We’ll do physics and French tomorrow. I’m almost finished anyway.” Heidi couldn’t argue with that. They were my last two high school courses. I’d left physics to the end because I hated it, but my test scores were good. Not that it mattered. And French had been an afterthought. It wasn’t a GED requirement, but during my European tour last spring I’d fallen in love with the sound of the language, the way the words rolled around and tumbled out. “You’re right,” Heidi said. “Spying on lover-boy is more fun anyway.” “I hate you.” “No, you don’t.” She smiled and ate the last bite of my cake. “I’ve got an interview, by the way.” “For what?” I asked, without breaking my stare on the door. “A real job. No offense.” “None taken.” I paused. “That’s great,” I added, trying to sound sincere. Heidi getting a real job was the inevitable. She had been tutoring me for six years, but now I was almost done, going to Juilliard in the fall. Of course she was interviewing. But for what? She had a degree in art history and I was her work experience. “What kind of job?” I asked. She shrugged. “Human Resources at OfficeMax.” I nodded. She nodded. Neither of us had to say it, but we both were thinking it: She should have gone to dental school. The server came with a new soda for Heidi and refilled my water. “Anything else I can get you?” she asked. Heidi shook her head no, and the server left. My eyes never left the backstage door. It didn’t budge. “So how do you know he has blond hair if you’ve never seen him before?” Heidi asked. “His picture,” I said. “It’s next to his bio in the Carnegie Hall program.” I pulled the booklet from the crocheted bag on my lap. The hemp purse was a souvenir I’d bought from Camden Market in London on the last day of my British Isles tour. It was stuffed with CDs—an array of the Bach Violin Sonatas and Partitas recordings. Yuri had sent me home with them after my lesson to listen and dissect. I handed Heidi the Carnegie Hall program, which flipped open to the exact page. “Diana brought it back from New York.” “She heard him play?” “No. The program is from a year ago. She just picked it up for me.” “And did she bring it home from New York with the spine split open to this page, or did you do that?” I ignored the bait. She was either suggesting that Diana was a pressuring stage mom or that I was obsessed with Jeremy King. Neither was entirely true. Or false. Heidi examined the picture. “Cute kid. Dimples, curls, he’s like a male Shirley Temple. How old?” “Seventeen.” “No way.” I shrugged. “That’s what his bio says.” “More like twelve.” I checked my watch. 1:37. “His rehearsal should have ended at one fifteen. Maybe we missed him.” “How do you know when he rehearses?” “I saw the CSO rehearsal schedule last week. I had yesterday’s noon slot, he was supposed to have today’s.” But the door still hadn’t opened. At least not since we’d sat down thirty minutes ago, which meant Jeremy had to be still inside. Heidi picked up the program again and brought the photo closer to her face. “He can’t be your age.” I shrugged and looked back at the door. Maybe it was locked, I reasoned. Maybe he’d gone around to one of the front exits, but that was tricky from the backstage dressing rooms if you weren’t familiar with the hallways and side entrances and tunnels. No, it would be this door. Suddenly, the door swung open. I inhaled sharply before I realized it wasn’t him. It was a tall, lanky guy wearing jeans, a T-shirt, a baseball cap. A stage hand, maybe. But there, slung over his shoulder, was a violin case. I squinted into the glare. Why hadn’t I brought sunglasses? Blond hair curled up around the back edge of his hat, and under the shadow the bill cast over his face, I could see the dimples that creased his cheeks. Jeremy King. My stomach fell. That could not be Jeremy King. That was not the boy in the photo or the picture I’d seen online. Unless those pictures were old. Really, really old. I forced myself to take a slow breath. If that was Jeremy King, he wasn’t a child prodigy. At least not anymore. The guy in the cap—a Yankees cap, I could see now—glanced right and left, trying to orient himself. Then, without warning, he turned and stepped in the least likely direction. Toward me. I had been counting on him cutting through the parking lot and across Wabash for the El station. Instead, he walked along the side of the building over the crumbling parking blocks, toward Rhapsody. He was whistling, and the fingers of his right hand trailed along the red brick as he walked. Long, slow strides propelled him closer and closer to me. I sat frozen, hypnotized by his fluid movement. I should have looked away. If I’d been thinking, I would have pretended to drop something or I could have at least rooted around in my purse with my head down. But of course I wasn’t thinking. And then he looked right at me. His eyes locked into mine like two magnets. His face held the blank expression people give strangers in elevators or on sidewalks. I still could have looked away, while his face was still empty, in that moment before it happened. But I was too stunned. This was Jeremy King. That’s when his face changed. His eyes narrowed and his mouth formed a smug grin. Before I could think, my head jerked down and my hand shot up to cover my face. “What are you doing?” Heidi hissed. I’d forgotten she was even there. “Nothing. I don’t know.” What was I doing? “I don’t want him to see me.” “Too late, genius,” she said. “Is he still looking at me?” “Yes. And just because you can’t see him doesn’t mean he can’t see you. Move your hand.” “But he’ll know I’m spying on him.” “Trust me, he already knows.” She reached over, took my wrist, and pushed my hand into my lap. I forced my eyes up. He was still staring at me, not more than ten feet away now, but the grin had become a full-blown sneer. And just when he was close enough that I could have reached out and grabbed his arm, he lifted his hand and saluted me. I did nothing. He walked by and was gone. Heidi and I sat in silence. My stomach churned and I wondered whether those few bites of bitter lemon drop cupcake would come up. Why hadn’t I taken my medication? I should have known I would need it. Heidi spoke first. “Wow.” I heard myself groan. “That was bad,” she added. “How did that happen? How did he see me? How did he recognize me?” Heidi shook her head. “Really, Carmen? I mean, it was bad luck that he happened to walk this way, but not that surprising that he recognized you.” “But he’s never met me before!” “Maybe not officially.” “No, not at all,” I insisted. “I could walk into any music store in the country, probably the world, and find a stack of CDs with your face on the cover. Do I need to remind you that you won a Grammy last year? Of course he knows what you look like.” I could barely hear her. My heart was still thundering in my ears. “Think about it,” she continued. “You’re scared of him. He’s probably scared of you.” I put my cheek on the tabletop and closed my eyes. I needed an Inderal. Why hadn’t I brought the pills in my purse? “I’m not scared.” Across the street the El thundered by, making the table buzz beneath my cheek. Even with my eyes closed I could feel Heidi’s stare, sense her harshness melting into concern. “It’s just a competition, Carmen,” she said softly. But it wasn’t just a competition. Heidi couldn’t grasp that and I didn’t expect her to. I didn’t expect anybody to understand. I wasn’t just scared of Jeremy King. I thought about him constantly, googled his name and read his reviews, listened to his CDs, and studied that stupid outdated photo from the Carnegie Hall program. If I wasn’t practicing or thinking about music, I was thinking about Jeremy King. I was obsessed, and I had every reason to be. Jeremy King could ruin my life. © 2011 Jessica Martinez

Editorial Reviews

“Martinez has a gift for making classical violinaccessible and understandable to even the most tone-deaf reader. The twists inthe pair’s love affair, combined with the turns in their careers, catapult thisnovel from sweet romance to tour de force. Decisions are never easy, but willthe cost of winning—or losing—be too high?” —Booklist