The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr. Little, Brown, 2013
Age 13 and older
Eight months ago, Lucy, a classically trained pianist wunderkind, walked off stage at a major competition in Prague, furious that her grandfather had withheld news of her grandmother’s death back home in San Francisco. Her grandfather, a rigid force in their family, announces she has made her choice: She’s done with piano (meaning he’s done supporting her career). Lucy thinks she’s happy about it until she meets her ten-year-old brother Gus’s new piano teacher. Gus, also a major talent, is being taught by Will Deva, a former prodigy whose approach is much more relaxed than anything Lucy or Gus is familiar with. Will asks Lucy if she wants to play again and Lucy finally admits the answer is yes. But can she really return to music on her own terms? Then Lucy’s wonderful relationship with Gus—they can understand each other like no one else—frays when she begins to develop a crush on Will, who doesn’t necessarily discourage her attraction despite being married. What Lucy can’t see is that Will is hoping her return will boost his own career. Sara Zarr’s novel about an extraordinarily talented young woman offers insight into the life of a child prodigy. In Lucy’s case, she is a mix of maturity beyond her years and self-centered teen, and caught between the desire to define herself, meet other’s expectations, and wanting to just be a typical teen—a dimension of life explored through her relationship with friends Reyna and Carson. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center
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