The Lucy Variations
By Sara Zarr
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9780316205016, 320pp.)
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
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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 one girl's struggle to reclaim her love of music and herself. To find 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.
Sara Zarr was raised in San Francisco, California, and now lives with her husband in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is the author of How to Save a Life, What We Lost, Sweethearts, and the National Book Award finalist Story of a Girl.
"An elegant novel...Zarr vividly develops the title character, illuminating Lucy's teenage insecurities, her close and fractious friendships and the coming-of-age realization that she can pursue her dreams on her own terms...A rewarding journey for readers."—The New York Times Book Review
"This book has so much depth and character that it stays with you like actual memories. I love how Sara Zarr can make you laugh and cry on the same page, and I think this is her best book yet."—James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of The Maze Runner (Metro New York)
* "[Zarr] really, truly gets inside her characters' minds and shows us what makes them complex human beings -- their faults, fears, and hopes...This is a mellifluous novel about rekindling joy -- in music, in the everyday, and in the beauty around us."—Booklist, starred review
* "Zarr doesn't waste a word in this superb study of a young musical prodigy trying to reclaim her life....[Lucy is] a deeply real and sympathetic character, and that dimensionality extends to the rest of the cast. The pressures Lucy is under feels powerful, immediate, and true -- her journey of self-discovery will strike a profound chord with readers."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "The combination of sympathetic main character and unusual social and cultural world makes this satisfying coming-of-age story stand out."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "Exploring relationships is where Zarr soars . . . This strong coming-of-age story about music, passion, and the search for identity will appeal to longtime fans of Zarr's work and newcomers alike."—SLJ, starred review
"A satisfying coming-of-age story and a thoughtful treatise on art, identity, and personal fulfillment."—The Horn Book
"[A] gripping YA novel about a 16-year-old music prodigy trying to survive the cutthroat world of piano competitions."—InStyle