The Lucy Variations Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Lucy Variations

A 16-year-old pianist struggles to find a balance between her personal and professional growth. Sixteen-year-old piano prodigy Lucy Beck-Moreau walked out of a piano performance in Prague after learning that her grandmother had just died, and she has not touched the piano keys since. Having grown up in a family of musicians, she is harshly criticized, particularly by her grandfather for quitting the competitive world of classical piano. It isn't until her brother's empathetic new music teacher, Will, offers to become her mentor, that she begins playing again. Lucy gradually rediscovers her love of music while also welcoming formative, new experiences beyond playing piano. But as her relationship with the adult, married Will evolves, it nearly crosses a line into inappropriate romance. When she discovers that Will has used her in part to further his own career, she rejects his affection and guidance, choosing to perform an impromptu piece on stage that makes clear her desire to embrace a more fluid, creative, and self-governing career in music.
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Best part of story, including ending: While the book is geared toward a young adult audience, adult characters are as equally well-developed as the teenage characters.

Best scene in story: After not playing the piano for months, Lucy drinks some wine and dizzily sits down at the piano bench; the emotions she experiences as she touches the keys are complex, profound, and revealing.

Opinion about the main character: Lucy has spent much of her life living more like an adult than a child; it is why she feels drawn toward her piano teacher, a grown man. As she works to define her relationship with music, she simultaneously seeks to determine whether or not she is ready to fully embrace adulthood. Passionate, self-reflective, and intelligent, Lucy is a particularly layered character.

The review of this Book prepared by Matia Burnett a Level 1 Blue Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of The Lucy Variations

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   very sensitive (sigh) Time/era of story    -   2000+ (Present Day) Life of a profession:    -   musician Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   special abilities Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Coping with loss of loved one(s)    -   Yes Loss of...    -   grandpa/ma Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   musician Age:    -   a teen Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American) Unusual characteristics:    -   Genius


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   2 () United States    -   Yes

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Sara Zarr Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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