Thursday, November 14, 2013

Review of The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr

 The Lucy VariationsLucy 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.

(Summary from GoodReads)

I’ve heard wonderful things about Sara Zarr’s books and was thrilled when I had the chance to read and review The Lucy Variations.  When it comes to writing characters who are deeply passionate, Zarr nails it.  The Lucy Variations is a wonderfully written book about pursuing one’s passion in life and trying to find happiness along the way.

Lucy is one of the most compelling characters I’ve read about in 2013.  Despite being only sixteen, she’s had to face tragedy with a topping of family bureaucracy.  A cocktail of emotions comes with everything that’s happened, and that’s what her feel so incredibly realistic.  Our main character is decidedly sure of one thing: she loves music, and it has a place in her life.  Zarr portrayed how absolutely exhilarating it can be to find something you love and chase it until it’s right.

The Lucy Variations is wonderfully atmospheric novel.  I got a vivid picture of how Lucy’s wealth family dressed day to day and went about their lives.  However, whenever Lucy would have an experience that made her feel strongly, I got to see it in descriptions that covered the scenery, the sensory, and the emotional.  Zarr never used too many words achieving this goal.

I did feel a slight disconnect with Lucy in terms of her love interests.  The types of people that she’s attracted to aren’t the people she perhaps should be attracted to—you’ll see what I mean when you read the book.  As I read these portions of the novel, it felt like Zarr was trying to tell me something about Lucy, but it wasn’t clear what.  Zarr added some nice twists to the story, and I appreciated how it ended.

Some readers may feel anxious about picking up this book because it’s so musical, but it has much broader appeal than that.  Readers who have ever felt deeply passionate about something will really appreciate Lucy’s struggle to excel while staying true to herself.  The Lucy Variations may not have been a perfect book, but it made me want to read the rest of Zarr’s work.

Disclosure: I received a digital galley of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Other reviews:
I Eat Words 
The Readventurer

1 comment:

  1. I loved the musical parts so much but was unable to feel much of a connection with Lucy herself which made this book a wash for me.



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