Monday, March 12, 2012


By Jessica Martinez
Simon Pulse, 2011. 294 pgs. Teen fiction

Carmen Bianchi's whole life has been leading up to a prestigious violin contest. She has practiced and performed and recorded CDs, but none of it matters if she doesn't win the competition. However, her main competition, Jeremy King, might just be good enough to beat her. And to make matters worse, he also might be the only one who understands the pressure that she's under--enough pressure that she's become addicted to an anti-anxiety drug that keeps her from throwing up before each performance. Carmen's mother, who cares about this competition as much or even more than Carmen, says that Jeremy is only expressing interest in her to fluster her before her performance, but Carmen wants to believe it's more. She also wants to start living her own life and soon finds herself rediscovering what it means to be Carmen.

This is an excellent choice for fans of realistic teen fiction. It draws readers in from the first page, and even people who don't know anything about violins will be able to relate to Carmen's passion and the pressure she's under. Highly enjoyable.

4 stars. Some language, I think, although I don't remember for sure (read it a couple months ago.)

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