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A Reader of Fictions: Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor - Bach (Performed by Julia Fischer)

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor - Bach (Performed by Julia Fischer)


Author: Jessica Martinez
Pages: 288
ARC Acquired from: Simon & Schuster GalleyGrab

Brief Summary:
Carmen, at 17, is one of the most talented young violinists in the world, as evidenced by her place in the Guarneri competition. She has been soloing for orchestras since she was 9 years old. In short, she's incredible, a virtuoso. Unfortunately, she fears she has an addiction to a supposedly non-habit-inducing drug that keeps her stage fright at bay. She is also losing some of her passion for the violin. Not to mention her somewhat unhealthy obsession with one of her rivals, Jeremy King, who just happens to be her biggest competition and really cute AND British.

At first, I was not sure how I was going to feel about this book. The prologue (not called that, but I don't know what else to call the abbreviated first section) certainly grabbed my attention, but it also made me worry that this might not be a good book for me. Carmen does not come off as too smart or likable in this brief segment, but, when you finally catch up in time to this moment, you totally get why she was going crazy.

Once I got into the flow of the book and managed to somewhat calm down my intense curiosity to know the resolution of the opening scene, I got completely sucked into this book. I loved the focus on music, as well as the serious moral dilemmas that Carmen had to face. In some ways, it reminded me of Where She Went by Gayle Forman and, in it's lighter moments that focused on the rivalry and relationship of Carmen and Jeremy, of Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund.

The coming of age aspects of the story also rocked my socks. Carmen, though in some ways very mature, given that she's traveled the world and won a grammy and plays a 1.2 million dollar violin, is also, as her mom tells her, naive. Because of her virtuous status and tour schedule, she has been home schooled and has little experience interacting with others. This is partly why she has so much trouble understanding Jeremy and trusting his motivations. She is so used to being told what to do by her mother and her teacher that she really has to learn how to be herself. Of course, the fact that she was often drugged did not help. Carmen's drug addiction, whether mental or physical, was a scary thing, particularly as she had been encouraged in her dependency by people she should be able to trust.

I really loved reading this and rather hope that there might be another book on Carmen's adventure, as the ending totally makes it possible. This story was beautiful, heartbreaking and powerful. The cover's awesome too.

P.S. There was a reference to Amy Winehouse in here. I wonder if it will be in the finalized version or if it will be removed because it's too soon... The main characters mentioned her and said that they hoped she was in rehab. Unfortunately, she said "no, no, no."

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Blogger Nori said...

I think I want to read this one! I knew a girl in grade school who would totally relate to this story.

September 10, 2011 at 7:40 PM  

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