Contemporary Realistic Fiction · Review · Young Adult

The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr

the-lucy-variationsPublisher: Little, Brown and Company

Pub. Date: 2013

Genres: Contemporary Realistic Fiction, YA

Pages: 308

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Lucy Beck-Moreau, once a famous child pianist, is still trying to cope with quitting piano. She decided to quit when her family hid that her grandmother was dying before a performance in Prague. When the Beck-Moreaus have to hire a new piano teacher for her little brother, the new teacher pushes Lucy to play again, if only for herself. The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr presents a girl who varies on her love of and commitment to piano and any other thing that catches her attention.

I liked The Lucy Variations, but it’s a one-time read. The primary theme of it is finding and doing what you love. Zarr’s novel reminds me of the anime Your Lie in April. It has the same issue of the protagonist quitting competitive piano because of the overbearing expectations of their guardian. The major differences are the lack of developed love interest and overall beauty.

Plot and character were okay, but some aspects fell short. Showing Lucy confront the Prague incident and her love of Prague works great, and I love the moments where she thinks about how music makes her feel. That reminded me of the colors and shapes that came from the musicians in Your Lie in April. That is beautiful. I like how she realizes that she should not have to promise to do one thing for the rest of her life, and that is refreshing for me to read in a YA book.

The relationships in the book were good so long as they were not romantic. The relationships with Lucy’s parents, grandpa, friends, and Gus were alright. I don’t like teenagers having romantic interest in older adults, especially teachers. I know this is part of Lucy’s character, so I have to accept that it is semi-present in here. When it comes to Lucy having crushes on older men, it was forced and did not have a good rhythm.

When I describe beauty, I know it is not visual because they cannot be compared. The unity, artwork, music, and story all work in favor of making the anime great. This book lacks a level of unity and does not come alive.

The book has good plot and theme, but the attempted crushes did not work. If you like Your Lie in April or have any background in music, you might like this book.


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