Saturday, June 22, 2013

Book Review: The Lucy Variations

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.

I was counting down the days until The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr hit the shelves. I'd read and loved her previous four books, so I had high expectations for this one. And she did not disappoint.

Lucy comes from a well-off family. She and her brother play the piano. And I don't mean just a few times a week, with lessons one day, and a year-end recital. It's almost their entire lives. But Lucy quits and tries to take control of her life. Her grandfather is a music lover, and her mother grew up playing. So the pressure Lucy and Gus face to not only play, but play perfectly, is high. The book picks up after some time has passed since Lucy quit, and she's considering maybe, possibly playing again.

As with the last several releases by Sara Zarr, I went into it without knowing what it was about. I find that to be a lot of fun. I didn't know what to expect except a girl named Lucy and a piano in there somewhere. Her writing is fantastic, and her story-telling really sucked me in. The Lucy Variations was very different from her previous releases. I think this is due to her growth as a writer, considering this is her fifth YA contemporary published.

Lucy's book is not my favorite of Zarr's, but it was definitely an enjoyable read. (All of her books are worth picking up. It's some of the best contemporary YA out there, in my opinion.) Beware, it will make you cry. But it will also make you laugh. I have a love/hate relationship with Lucy. Sometimes I felt like I really understood her, and sometimes I wanted to smack her. But, for me, that's the perfect kind of book. Pick it up. You won't be disappointed.


Steph from said...

I don't read YA mch anymore but this book had a title that only serious piano students or adults would get since it is a riff on THE GOLDBERG VARIATIONS this post caught my interest. It's interesting that that title would be chosen since it would be more likely to appeal to adults.

Post a Comment