Review: The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr

Review: The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr

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The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr is such an emotional rollercoaster. This book about grief and self-discovery has so many layers. The main character is a piano prodigy who quits and struggles to figure out who she is. I found the writing absolutely beautiful and recommend this book to everyone.

Review: The Lucy Variations by Sara ZarrTitle: The Lucy Variations
Author: Sara Zarr
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Rating: four-half-stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

Lucy Beck-Moreau once had a promising future as a concert pianist. Now, at sixteen, it's over. A death, and a betrayal, led her to walk away. But without music in her life, Lucy's not sure who she is, or who she wants to be. Then she meets Will, her brother's new piano teacher, who is young, kind, and interested in helping Lucy find her way back to piano-not for an audience, but on her own terms.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr takes readers inside one girl's struggle to reclaim her love of music, life, and herself in this stunning novel about finding joy in unexpected places.


Review: The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr

This is such a complex and emotional book! It tells the story of a piano prodigy who quits piano and tries to figure out who she is and what she wants. I loved the piano aspects in the book, and I feel like it is an accurate portrayal of what competitive piano playing is like. Reading about Lucy gaining more confidence and discovering her true identity was also so inspiring and touching.

❀ Relatable Main Character

I really enjoyed Lucy’s character. I was able to relate to her a bit as a fellow piano player, but I am far from her level. Lucy is such a caring older sister and so protective of her little brother, which I loved. She deals with many family issues and drama, which made me sympathize with her. However, there are many moments in the book where Lucy is selfish and a terrible friend, which bothered me. It would have been so much better if she didn’t act so spoiled.

❀ Beautiful Writing

The writing in The Lucy Variations is so beautiful. I have never read anything by Sara Zarr in the past, but I definitely feel like I should pick up more of her books since I loved this one so much. The characters are all developed so well and the reader can really feel an emotional connection with each one. I also found the descriptions of Lucy overcoming grief so raw and believable. Her writing kind of reminds me of Sarah Dessen’s, in a way, and this is something that I found enjoyable while reading.

❀ An Emotional Story

The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr is the emotional story of a piano prodigy struggling with her identity. I enjoyed the main character, even if she is snobby at times, and found the writing so mesmerizing. I would definitely recommend this book, especially to music fans.

About Sara Zarr

Sara Zarr

Sara Zarr is the acclaimed author of four novels for young adults: Story of a Girl (National Book Award Finalist), Sweethearts (Cybil Award Finalist), Once Was Lost (a Kirkus Best Book of 2009) and How to Save a Life. Her short fiction and essays have also appeared in Image, Hunger Mountain, and several anthologies. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband.

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About The Candid Cover

Olivia ❀ Canadian YA book blogger, Starbucks lover, & professional bibliophile.

8 thoughts on “Review: The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr

  1. Kelly says:

    I love that you keep reviewing all of these older titles that I haven’t heard of – it gives me more books to collect, haha.

    Also, this sounds like such a great book – definitely deep and full of character driven situations that are difficult and allow plenty of room for growth. So glad to hear that you enjoyed this one! Great review!

    • Candid Cover says:

      I have been trying to read form my own unread library, lol! I am glad that people seem to be interested in learning about some of these back list titles. It is definitely a book that will make you think! 🙂

  2. Jaime Lynn says:

    Right now, at this moment in my life, I don’t think I could read this one. But when I am not feeling so dang emotional on my own, maybe I can check this one out.

    • Candid Cover says:

      Awwww! I hope that things start to get better for you, Jaime! I do know how you feel and sometimes reading books with more humour in them can be a better option. *hugs*

  3. Sue @ Crushingcinders says:

    I really liked this book too, although I am totally tone deaf and not at all musical. The first Sara Zarr book I read was How to Save a Life which is good, but it’s Story of a Girl that I think is her best yet.

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