The Lucy Variations


by Claire Kyllonen, Staff Writer

Lucy Beck-Moreau thought at one point she had her life all figured out. Her life stretched before her in the form of an endless schedule of concert piano performances or public appearances, courtesy of her grandfather and mother.

That is, until the day it suddenly didn’t.

A family tragedy prompts Lucy to get up and abandon the piano forever, shifting the spotlight to her up-and-coming, prodigal younger brother, Gus. Lucy makes an attempt at having a normal teenage life, but the pressure from the stage still hasn’t faded. Then she meets Will Devi, Gus’s new piano teacher: a kind, intelligent, youthful presence who encourages Lucy to play again, this time on her own terms. Family tensions rise, feelings are questioned, in this story of a girl who struggles to learn that sometimes the best thing you can do is simply play like no one is listening.


Unrealistic, unsatisfying, and generally unpleasant.

Lucy is characterized as a spoiled, entitled San Francisco blueblood whose main problem is deciding whether or not to play the piano again. She is indecisive, lacks gumption, and is unappreciative of the sacrifices her family continues to make for her. Definitely not a character one should aspire to be like.

The writing itself is okay, but I found the language to be too simplistic and baby-like, even though it’s supposed to be a young adult novel. I will give credit for the fact that there were surprises I wasn’t expecting, and the story itself is an interesting idea. What is lacking are real, relatable characters who can provide an effective depth to the story. Lucy’s character is about as deep as a kiddie pool.

If you want a story featuring teen angst with a twist of music, I’d suggest another title.

(2 out of 5 stars)