Thursday, 21 November 2013

The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr: Review

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Author: Sara Zarr
Pages: 309
Release Date: May 7th, 2013
Publisher: Little Brown

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Lucy Beck-Moreau once had a promising future as a concert pianist. The right people knew her name, her performances were booked months in advance, and her future seemed certain.

That was all before she turned fourteen.

Now, at sixteen, it's over. A death, and a betrayal, led her to walk away. That leaves her talented ten-year-old brother, Gus, to shoulder the full weight of the Beck-Moreau family expectations. Then Gus gets a new piano teacher who is young, kind, and interested in helping Lucy rekindle her love of piano -- on her own terms. But when you're used to performing for sold-out audiences and world-famous critics, can you ever learn to play just for yourself?

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr takes readers inside the exclusive world of privileged San Francisco families, top junior music competitions, and intense mentorships. The Lucy Variations is a story of one girl's struggle to reclaim her love of music and herself. It's about finding joy again, even when things don't go according to plan. Because life isn't a performance, and everyone deserves the chance to make a few mistakes along the way.


This was a good book about a child prodigy who (unintentionally) gives up her life after the death of her grandmother which strains her family's relationship, and leaves her wondering who she really is. Lucy knows that the piano was once her safe haven, but realizes that at some point, the magic disappeared. With the help of Will, she reconnects with that passion for playing, but is his help really any different from her grandfather's strict ways?

It was sweet and held all the things that a YA contemporary has: relationships, friendships, and self-discovery, and to me it stands out. I think it probably has to do with the fact that Lucy is a piano player and her grandfather is so passionate about music, because I play the piano (although no where near her level or skill) and my dad is very passionate about music as well. If I had the same easy-going, obedient kid thing going for me when I was younger, my dad would've probably pushed me like Lucy's grandfather pushed her- but my dad's too nice for that  (thankfully :D).

I found it interesting that Lucy hung out with a very older crowd for the majority of ther book. Like I get that she grew up half her life socializing adults, but I found it weird that her and Will were texting- oh yeah, and despite what the synopsis says/will lead you to think, Will is 30! (or somewhere around that age).

I liked Lucy as a narrator, but I just didn't find the other supporting characters interesting, with the exception of her French father calling her "Poulette" and Martin. Normally, this would bother me more, but this story IS called the Lucy Variations, and does a good job telling Lucy's story to self discovery. I especially love the Love Playlist at the end of the novel. Whoever thought that Usher would make it alongside of great composers/musicians of classical music?

3 out of 4 stars! :D

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