The Lucy Variations

Publisher: Usborne

Lucy Beck-Moreau once had a bright future as a concert pianist ahead of her. But following the sudden death of her beloved grandmother, the incessant pressure from her ambitious parents, and her beligerent, music-loving grandfather became too much. Now, at 16, Lucy has turned her back on music, refusing even to touch the piano. Instead, she tries to adjust to normal teenage life at school, whilst her 10-year-old brother Gus shoulders the weight of the family's expectations.

But another sudden death - this time of Gus's elderly piano teacher - heralds more change in Lucy's life. Gus's new teacher, Will, is young, handsome and passionate about music, and wants nothing more than to see Lucy return to the piano she was once so determined to give up. At first she is reluctant, but with Will as her mentor, Lucy begins to discover that there's more to music than competitions and critics, and to regain her joy in playing simply for herself.

Deft and elegantly-written, this is a sensitive coming-of-age story about discovering your identity and what is important to you. Lucy makes a sympathetic heroine: her complex relationships with her family and friends are well-drawn and always believable. Her struggle to reclaim her love of music, and reconcile it with what she feels is right for herself, in spite of family opposition and many obstacles in her path, will resonate with young people.

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