The lucy variations

May 2013  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

May 2013

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers


A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2013

A Kirkus Best Book of 2013

An ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults book

Junior Library Guild Selection

A Publishers Weekly Best Summer Book

Kids’ Indie Next Pick

A Favorite Read of 2013 at School Library Journal’s blog



hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook, UK edition

translations: French, Korean, Japanese



It could be a depressing thing to believe, at sixteen, that your best years were behind you. Especially when the people closest to you seemed to agree.
Lucy Beck-Moreau once had a promising future as a concert pianist. The right people knew her name, her performances were booked months in advance, and her future seemed certain.
That was all before she turned fourteen.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr takes readers inside the exclusive world of privileged San Francisco families, top junior music competitions, and intense mentorships. The Lucy Variations is a story of one girl’s struggle to reclaim her love of music, and herself. It’s about finding joy again, even when things don’t go according to plan. Because life isn’t a performance, and everyone deserves the chance to make a few mistakes along the way.


“…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.” – The New York Times

★ “Zarr doesn’t waste a word in this superb study of a young musical prodigy trying to reclaim her life…."   Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ ” Zarr does what she does best. ... she really, truly gets inside her characters’ minds and shows us what makes them complex human beings—their faults, fears, and hopes.” – Booklist, 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

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

“This is a wonderfully written story with fully realized characters. engaging story beautifully told.” – VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

“…the novel’s strength is Zarr’s unflinching attention to the gray areas on Lucy’s life, where adults are fallible, decisions are reversible, and passions can guide you forward or lead you astray. The result is both a satisfying coming-of-age story and a thoughtful treatise on art, identity, and personal fulfillment.” – The Horn Book

“The ever-capable Zarr creates an utterly believable family in the Beck-Moreaus, with layers of function and dysfunction melding into one another. … Will, too, is an interestingly complicated character with his mixture of genuine tenderness toward Lucy, self-interest, and a soupçon of lust. Lucy’s...desire to determine her own path will resonate with teen readers, especially those beginning to question where their own gifts will lead them.” – The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“The joys of this novel are many, but its most striking aspects are the genuine family moments that reflect both love and frustration, and the passion for music that permeates the structure, the plot and the characters’ lives.”Shelf Awareness

“As we watch the novel’s major characters through their interactions with Lucy, their flaws and lived-in traits rankle — in large part because they seem impervious to new possibilities of seeing. But this is, paradoxically, also their golden quality, as it is evidence that Zarr won’t let false awakenings occur.” The Salt Lake Tribune