Music to My Ears [Café Libro]

Carson TerBush

As a violinist, it always interests me to hear about the lives of young musical prodigies. Having had experience playing music and understanding how much effort it takes to master an instrument, those who accomplish this at such a young age impress and fascinate me.

In The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr, the protagonist, Lucy Beck-Moreau, is one such musical prodigy. The eldest child in an intensely musical family, Lucy grew up practicing the piano for hours daily, quickly becoming a widely known pianist under the strict guidance of her grandfather and mother. However, when Lucy is 15, a tragic event causes her to quit piano completely, driving a rift between her and her disapproving family members. Without piano, Lucy’s life changes completely, thrusting her out of the spotlight and into the life of a normal teenager. Throughout The Lucy Variations, Lucy learns how to cope with her decision to cut piano out of her life and find a balance between the music she loves and the competitiveness she despises.

Personally, I found this book very interesting and relatable. As an increasingly busy high school student, each year balancing school and extracurricular activities becomes more difficult; quitting is an inevitability for most. Though Lucy’s case is extreme, it’s still difficult for people to learn how to move on after quitting something they used to do so often, something I have personal experience with. This theme within the novel made Lucy a very relatable character and made it a more enjoyable read.

Additionally, The Lucy Variations deals with deeper themes of acceptance within family. As Lucy struggles to gain approval by meeting the high expectations of her mother and grandfather, all she wants is to be accepted. However, sometimes it is important to consider your own needs over those of your loved ones, a lesson Lucy learns the hard way.

Overall, I enjoyed the interesting topic of this novel and the themes it addressed. I would recommend it to anyone; though it may at first glance seem like chick lit, it was pleasingly not-cliché and stayed away from sappy romance while still keeping it interesting. Thanks Emily!


The Next Challenge

For next week, I challenge Emily to read Blood Red Road by Moira Young. Breaking away from the last few books we have read, this book offers a more interesting dialect style that disregards normal punctuation and grammar rules (Emily I hope it doesn’t give you an aneurysm.)

Set in a post-apocalyptic setting, Blood Red Road follows Saba, a teenage girl, as she goes on a journey with her sister, Emmi, and a daredevil thief she meets in a cage-fighting ring, Jack, to find her twin brother Lugh after he is taken from her by a group of dangerous men. On the way, she learns a thing or two about forgiveness and gains a deeper understanding of what being a sister means. Enjoy!

On this blog, Emily Dexter and Carson TerBush will put their book recommendations to the test. Each week, one will challenge each other to read a book she has read before and enjoyed. The following week, they will judge the recommended book and then propose the next challenge. They hope to inspire new readers to read some new books. To read more, check out the Café Libro blog at