My book review of 'The Lucy Variations' by Sara Zarr

The Lucy Variations

by Sara Zarr
Recommended age: 13+
The Lucy Variations
by Sara Zarr

Lucy Beck-Moreau is a young pianist who has won numerous competitions, performed to sell-out audiences and is highly regarded by world-famous critics. But at just sixteen she has given it all up in reaction against her family who have been cocooning her from real life. Instead, Lucy focuses on schoolwork and watches as the attention of this privileged San Francisco family turns to her brother.

When a new tutor is appointed for 10-year-old Gus, though, Lucy reconsiders her decision. This charismatic young man becomes an ally, someone who makes her realise that she needs to return to music for her own sake.

This is a fascinating exploration of music competitions, family dynamics and expectations, and coming-of-age. It is a compelling read, but slightly frustrating in that the treatment of the issues and relationships lacks real depth. Nevertheless this is a good story tackling a subject which is rarely covered.

Review date: March 2013