[ARC Review] The Lucy Variations

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Title: The Lucy Variations
Author: Sara Zarr
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Little Brown, BFYR
Source: ARC received for honest review

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 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.

What I love so much about Sara Zarr's writing is her ability to make you feel as if you are the characters in her novels. You are invested before you realize whats happening and then you have no choice but to go along for the ride and trust that she won't break your heart too much.

In The Lucy Variations we meet Lucy, a piano prodigy who quits, much to the dismay of her family especially her grandfather. It is this family dynamic and the extreme tension between them that drives this story forward. I found myself extremely angry at her family for the pressure and expectations they put on Lucy and ultimately her brother as well. It was those emotions alone that made me realize how much Sara had me invested in this story. And from them on I was hooked.

I think what I loved most about this novel was the absence of a traditional love interest or love story at all. It has become such a staple in YA contemporary fiction that it was very refreshing to read a book that deal primarily with family and leaning what it is to be an individual. But I will say that I did love that the little love that was there, it was a little taboo/forbidden, which was very interesting to say the least.

Lucy herself was such a great character. She is an independent girl who stuck to her instincts, even when no everyone agreed with them. I also love that she is extremely flawed(as all teenage girls are) and showed impulses that lead to situations that no teenage girl should be a part of. She felt real, and that is why I think she is such an interesting and captivating character.

Overall The Lucy Variations deals with situations and emotions that make you step back and evaluate what just happened. This is not an easy read-even though I read it in one afternoon. It hits you hard and you will remember it for a long time after the last page is turned.

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  1. LOVE Sara Zarr! All her characters are so real and deep and flawed and I'm so happy Lucy is amazing too:)

    Awesome review, lovely comments:))

  2. Lovely review! Looking forward to reading this!

  3. I've never read a Sara Zarr book but this sounds like a beautiful read. It also reminds me of another book - Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez (but she was a violin player) and I really enjoyed it, so I would probably like this as well.