Author: Sara Zarr
Category: Young Adult
Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: 5-7-13
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. Now, at sixteen, it’s over. A death, and a betrayal, led her to walk away. That leaves her talented ten-year-old brother, Gus, to shoulder the full weight of the Beck-Moreau family expectations. Then Gus gets a new piano teacher who is young, kind, and interested in helping Lucy rekindle her love of piano — on her own terms. But when you’re used to performing for sold-out audiences and world-famous critics, can you ever learn to play just for yourself? – Goodreads
“She wanted to chip away at everything that made up her life now and see what was left. She’d find the real life beneath, the one waiting for her.” – ARC Pg. 205
When we meet Lucy she is trying to save her brother’s piano teacher, who collapsed in the midst of a lesson. Madame Temnikova’s death was a new beginning of sorts for Lucy and for her brother. Lucy’s break-up with piano was like any other break-up. She was basically ok, but music was her very soul and something was missing without it. Lucy is adjusting to life back in mainstream school, seemingly happy to let her brother take the reigns as the resident piano prodigy while Lucy gets on with her life without the rigorous schedule, competitions, and constant examination of her career by her grandfather and mother. One of the most wonderful things about this book was the way that adults were written. Even through Lucy’s teenage lens, they are complex and real, with complicated feelings and motivations that Lucy must struggle to understand or relate to. It was as if stepping out of the performing spotlight allowed her to see her family as individuals rather than a cog in the wheel that turned her career.
Then there’s Will. Will, the youngish piano teacher, who comes to teach her brother but ends up drawing Lucy out of her self-imposed musical hibernation, seems to be a prayer answered. Lucy’s belief that Will could bring her back to the thing she loved was perhaps naive, but also heart breaking to read. Lucy’s search for herself and search for the approval that she used to get from playing, taught her some hard lessons. I thought the story did an excellent job of illustrating that even though lessons can be painful and people can be selfishly motivated, there is value in the interaction. The bubble that Lucy has put herself in since the day she walked off that stage in Prague has protected her, but it has also cut her off from the people that love her. If anything, this story is about her journey to reconnect with her life on her terms, with or without music.
I never thought that a book about a wealthy former piano prodigy in San Fransisco would speak to me so deeply, but that is the magic of Sara Zarr. She takes a main character that 99% of her readers will have very little in common with and creates a story that is about anyone who ever asked themselves “What do I love?”
Das wird sich alles finde.
I received this ARC in exchange for my honest review.