September 06, 2013

Review: The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr

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 to make a few mistakes along the way.
 RATING: 3/3 Smarties

Long Story Short:

The Lucy Variations is not only one of the most beautiful composed Yound Adult contemporary novels I've read in a while. It is also a book that I would recommend to anyone who just wishes for something a bit different, not only different from the books you normally read, but also the world you usually live in!


I've had an on and off relationship with contemporary fiction for a while now. I don't get all excited about books that have no other remarkable features than being set in a highschool and I feel like almost every topic in contemps that could interest me, I've already read about.
Ever since reading The Lucy Variations, though, I know that my attitude was completely superficial, ignorant and stuck up.
Contemporary fiction can be amazing, interesting and incredibly originally done - especially by Sara Zarr.
Of course, she did choose an interesting topic, no world, to begin with. I personally don't even know anyone who is as much into classical music as Lucy and her family are. This theme alone made for an outstanding, and really interesting, novel. I felt like I was getting to know a whole in this world. It felt a bit like seeing my first few book blogs on the Internet. It might sound cheesy but I find that books like that, that show access to a whole other group of people and accent of this world, can expand ones horizone so much. Simply by pointing out that there are so many aspects of this world that we could never discover all of them.
I personally have only read How to Save a Life and don't know any of Zarr's other books, but if you do, you'll agree with me that Zarr is the master of characterisation and transferring emotions directly from the pages into your heart.
This story had basically nothing to do with my own life, yet, it was like I could just slip into her skin and be her when I was reading the book - and even after I finished it, her story didn't leave me right away.
Lucy, and the side characters, stuck with me in a way that only very few book characters do.
Partly, I blame this on how realistically the story was portrayed. The details were right. Not too few, not too many little anecdotes, twists, character traits. A few conflicts between the characters but very seldomly to never dramatic outbursts that noone really lives through in real life.
Of course, there was the incredible tension between Lucy and her family members and sometimes also her friends. However, as a reader, I could feel it build up, and then get a bit weaker again. Then there was a well-up of emotions on the one side, then the anger faded in the background again.
The relationships between Zarr's characters, as well as the plot developed exactly how they would do in real life. Slowly, without a clear direction. There were moments when Lucy realized something was just true and then again, she would despair and doubt her own decisions.
In my opinion, there are only very few books that live and breathe the Growing of Age title, and this one certainly did.
If you like to read about really growing up and finding out who you are as a person, I recommend The Lucy Variations. Not only to teens or Young Adults, though, but for everyone, because I think looking for one's true self and meaning never really stops in life.
Oh, and if you didn't plan on going so deep, you could also read The Lucy Variations, because it will give you a window to peek into the beautiful world that classical music seems to be!

1 comment:

  1. Wow it sounds like a really good book
    you got me when it said it involves classical music
    great review


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