The Lucy Variations, by Sara Zarr; Little, Brown
Books for Young Readers: New York, 2013; $18
An inspiring tale of a young musician finding her place in this crazy world, The Lucy Variations is a journey about finding yourself and accomplishing your dreams no matter what giant obstacles are blocking your way. Lucy’s little brother’s new music teacher, Will, plays a big part. He helps Lucy find a side of herself she has long forgotten, the musical side, a side that used to bring her happiness. He helps resurrect Lucy in a sense. A major question asked time and time again in the book is, “What do you love?” For Lucy, the answer is music.
The Lucy Variations got me thinking—what do I love? Well, I love reading. I tried to narrow down what I loved about reading, like Will had Lucy do. Although narrowing down the reasons proved easy for Lucy, it was a lot harder for me. I just love everything about reading. I love how when I’m reading, I’m no longer myself. I can be anyone, do anything, go anywhere; and that is just one of the best feelings in the world. I love how within one page, a strong author can make you go from laughing to crying. In fact, I don’t think there’s anything I love more than the first pages of a good book. I love endings too though, because there’s always more to the tale, and I’m the one who gets to write it within the pages of my imagination. The reason I love The Lucy Variations so much is the novel allowed me to experience everything I adored in a good book in just 304 pages.
As I kept thinking about the question—what do I love?— more things came to mind than just reading. I thought about playing my guitar and singing, spending time with my friends and family, taking pictures on my iPod Touch, stupid funny movies, traveling to new places, and creating lasting memories. Like Lucy, realizing what I truly love opened my eyes to a whole new perspective. So often, people walk around without ever truly knowing what they love. They go through the motions as if each day is a death sentence, like they have no choice about how their day will go. The Lucy Variations is such a good reminder to us that there is so much to love about life. If we just choose to stop cowering away from our fears, and eliminate them like Lucy did, we can finally focus on the good things that bring us joy and peace.
One thing I particularly didn’t like about the book is how things ended with Will and Lucy. In the end, we find out Will has been using Lucy to gain fame through her talent. I was a little crushed, well more than a little, because throughout the whole book Will was one of the only people Lucy truly trusted, and then he turned on her too. Although that wasn’t how I anticipated things ending between them, I still think the author did the right thing. The conclusion demonstrated to Lucy that, even though people might hurt her, the good memories stored in her heart would fuel her to keep persevering. The incident made Lucy stronger and gave her the will to excel at her goals.
Overall, The Lucy Variations was an amazing book, one that I will read over and over again for years to come. I recommend this book to readers ages twelve and up who enjoy contemporary coming-of-age fiction.