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The Lucy Variations Hardcover – May 7, 2013
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"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
Top Customer Reviews
Then there's Will. Will, the youngish piano teacher who comes to teach her brother but ends up drawing Lucy out of her self-imposed musical dry spell seems to be a prayer answered. Lucy's belief that Will could bring her back to the thing she loved was perhaps naive, but also heart breaking to read. Lucy's search for herself and search for the approval that she used to get from playing, taught her some hard lessons. I got a real sense from the story that even though lessons can be painful, there is value in them. The bubble that Lucy has put herself in since the day she walked off that stage in Prague has protected her, but it has also cut her off from the people that love her. If anything, this story is about her journey to reconnect with her life on her terms, with or without music.Read more ›
However, for the most part I found the third person POV to be disjointed, the characters - especially Lucy, whom I found to be bratty and whiny - too distant, and not as relatable as I would've hoped. A lot of things, too, like Lucy's inappropriate attraction to older men, her best friends, and Lucy's relationship with Will's wife, didn't quite seem to fit into the overall story, and ended up as just scattered, unnecessary scenes adding to the page count.
I did enjoy the themes of family and felt that the relationships Lucy had with her own family were really well-built, her relationship with Gus and her grandfather in particular. While the romance wasn't really a romance and definitely not something you should pick up this book expecting a lot of (actually, don't expect much at all), the family themes were there and strong, and added dynamic change to the story.
The Lucy Variations was an interesting novel to read, and wonderful at times, but just not nearly enough. I did like it, but it did have it's faults. I think, perhaps, I'll go try another Sara Zarr novel - I've heard wonderful things about the ones written in first person POV, so perhaps this was a challenge for her that didn't quite work out?
(And, I just have to add, WILL. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?)
Like every other Asian kid out there, I grew up playing the piano. While I never played well enough to compete, I did my fair share of recitals and showcases with people who were that good. I spent a lot of time wondering what their day-to-day lives were like (eight hours of piano playing a day? Yeesh), and how they had "normal" lives.
So when I heard that Sara Zarr was writing a book about a piano prodigy, I was intrigued enough to want to check out the book.
Lucy Beck-Moreau is from one of those families - a rich, elite and musically-inclined San Francisco family, where they are expected to be extraordinary from an early age.
For Lucy, her talents manifested itself in her piano playing. Before the age of fourteen, she was a fixture on the competition circuit. People came to her concerts, and knew her name. Her future seemed definite.
However, after a tragedy provokes her into walking away and giving it all up, Lucy is now adrift in her day-to-day life. She doesn't quite fit in as an ordinary student in her regular high school, but she doesn't quite know how to get back everything that she's lost, either.
Enter Will - a new piano teacher hired to teach Lucy's little brother, Gus. A former prodigy himself, Will wants to help Lucy regain her lost faith. But can she overcome the fears of her past?
Things that worked :
* The characterizations.
I've seen a lot of reviews criticize the characters of The Lucy Variations for being unlikable, and I agree.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a wonderfully realistic story about a young woman trying to figure out who she is while trying to get out from under her overbearing family. Read morePublished 1 month ago by K. Westrope
My first Sara Zarr book. This novel has all the elements to make it irresistible for me. Music prodigies, taboo romance, family drama llama. Read morePublished 2 months ago by The Left-Handed Book Lover
I am very uncomfortable with this book's portrayal of the relationship between the 16-year old and the piano teacher working with her brother and then her. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kimberly M.
The Lucy Variations is a book I do not regret buying. It is a coming of age book about discovering and finding yourself again in the midst of everyone's expectations. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Katie C
Gorgeous writing! Love stories in which the girl has a passion other than a boy. Zarr captures what passion means--body, mind, heart---on the page.Published 5 months ago by Anna Carew-Miller
I checked this out of the library twice to complete. It is about a lovesick teen with a married man, primarily. I did like the song list at the back of the book though.Published 11 months ago by sewcrazy
Sara Zarr's writing might be my favorite in the Young Adult books universe at the moment. Her books always have a distinct voice to them and this is no different. Read morePublished 12 months ago by NextDoorGirl
It's no secret I love Sara Zarr. She is one of my favorite writers, and Sweethearts is one of my all-time favorite books. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Hannah @ Paperback Treasures