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The Lucy Variations

The Lucy Variations by Sara ZarrThe Lucy Variations

By Sara Zarr

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Curriculum Subjects: Performing Arts, Family Relationships

Grade: 9-12


Educator Guide


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.




★ “[Zarr] really, truly gets inside her characters’ minds and shows us what makes them complex human beings — their faults, fears, and hopes…This is a mellifluous novel about rekindling joy — in music, in the everyday, and in the beauty around us.” — Booklist, starred review


★ “The combination of sympathetic main character and unusual social and cultural world makes this satisfying coming-of-age story stand out.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review


★ “Zarr doesn’t waste a word in this superb study of a young musical prodigy trying to reclaim her life….[Lucy is] a deeply real and sympathetic character, and that dimensionality extends to the rest of the cast. The pressures Lucy is under feels powerful, immediate, and true — her journey of self-discovery will strike a profound chord with readers.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review


★ “Exploring relationships is where Zarr soars . . . This strong coming-of-age story about music, passion, and the search for identity will appeal to longtime fans of Zarr’s work and newcomers alike.” — School Library Journal, starred review


“An elegant novel…Zarr vividly develops the title character, illuminating Lucy’s teenage insecurities, her close and fractious friendships and the coming-of-age realization that she can pursue her dreams on her own terms…A rewarding journey for readers.”
— The New York Times Book Review