Virtuosity is one of those books you seldom come across that you are not expecting much from, but that totally take you for a spin and surprise you at the end. Carmen is a Grammy-winning violinist at only 17 years old. She is a child prodigy who has been sheltered all her life, has been home-schooled and told what to do by her Mother/Manager Diana, down to who she can and cannot have as friends. Jeremy is Carmen's only serious competition for the prestigious Guarneri award, considered an honor to win and that comes with generous prize, a high quality violin, money, and contracts. The Guarneri is everything Carmen has spent her life preparing for as well as the scholarship to Julliard she has already secured.
At the beginning of the book you really want to hate Jeremy because he is a jerk and pretentious and gives Carmen a hard time, but then you get to know him better and then you realize that he does have a sensitive side and that maybe, just maybe, he really does have feelings for Carmen. Carmen falls for him, hard, but has the looming shadow of doubt upon her. Her mother tells her that he is wooing her to derail her from the competition, and she starts to doubt Jeremy. Even I, as the reader, was doubting Jeremy, expecting him to mess up on every page and show his true colors. Does he really love her, or is it all an act?
I give this book 4 stars for being a love story that is more than just a love story. It is different than anything I've read in a long time. As a music lover I can appreciate Carmen and Jeremy's reality and the pressure they are both under to perform and be the best, especially in the realm of classical music. I don't think I have read a YA book in a while that deals with violinists. The closest I've gotten is If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman where the main characters are also musicians but play different instruments. This is a very tender book where you will fall in love with the main characters (not to mention a certain Step-Dad) and will have you rooting for their romance to work out.
(Originally reviewed at JJiReads.blogspot.com)