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....
Virtuosity is a great story of music, family, and love. The characterization and plot are well done, and all of the music aspects are woven into the story well.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD
Carmen is a great character who is under much pressure to be successful. She is a great violin player, and her mom expects her to win the Guarneri competition. She takes anti-anxiety pills so she won't get nervous when she performs, but she thinks she might want to quit the pills. She doesn't feel the joy of playing when she is onstage because the pills take her feelings away from her. When she decides to perform without pills, she feels some withdrawal symptoms before her performance, but the performance itself is amazing. She wants to no longer take the pills so she can prove to her mother that she is capable of performing without them.
Jeremy is a great character as well. He enters the story seeming cocky and self-assured, but as the story continues, it is clear that there is more to him. He has a competitive side to him, and the fact that he is Carmen's main competitor in the Guarneri causes some struggles between the two. He really likes Carmen and is falling for her, but he also wants to win the Guarneri. He believes that he needs to win for his younger brother, who is suffering from muscular dystrophy. He knows that winning won't save his brother, but he is still determined to. He asks Carmen to withdraw so he can win, making her become angry at him. These two don't face an easy road in their relationship, but they manage to make it work.
Diana is Carmen's mother, a former opera singing soprano. She damaged her vocal cords, and that ended her career. She is now Carmen's stage manager, determined to make Carmen a winning violinist. She does many things wrong in this book, especially something involved the judges and a large chunk of money. Clark is Carmen's stepfather, but he is basically a father to her since her biological father isn't really a part of her life anymore. He is supportive of Carmen, but he'd rather watch baseball than go to the symphony. The family dynamic between the three is extremely well done.
If you like YA contemporary, read this book.