Book Review: The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr

Lucy Variations Boy, did this bring back memories!  Of course, I wasn’t a world famous child prodigy, like 16 year old Lucy.  I was just your average kid who’s piano teacher mother expected me to perform perfectly at every recital…and didn’t.  Not that big a deal when it was just the students & their parents. But what if it was an international piano competition that you’d been working for months to win?  And what if you walked out the door as your name was called to the stage?

Lucy had an excellent reason to walk out the door.  Wouldn’t you if you’d just been told that your beloved Grandmother had died?  Grandfather, ever the perfectionist, hadn’t wanted her to know until after the competition.  As she walked out, Grandfather told her, “That was it.”  Lucy didn’t play again.  Instead, the family focus shifted to her equally talented younger brother, Gus.

After years of international travel, performances, study, and music, Lucy returns to regular school, albeit a private one.  She’s finally in one place long enough to hang out with friends, study anything she wants, and even have a crush.  Life is good…or should be.

Then Gus’s long time teacher dies suddenly and a replacement has to be found.  Enter Will, young, kind and interested in helping Lucy regain her passion for the piano.   Or is he?

Beautifully written with multi-dimensional characters, Zarr has penned a coming of age story with a dramatic flair (I mean, how many of us are prodigies?)  Still, Lucy’s struggle to become her own person in the face of family expectations is universal and one that we can all relate to.