Sunday, March 10, 2013

Before I Read The Lucy Variations

Before I read a book, I look at its cover. Despite what people say, you can tell a lot about a book based simply on what it looks like on the outside. Although you cannot judge a story by its cover, the outward appearance is what can draw you in and make you want to read it. I love talking about covers maybe as much as I love talking about the novels themselves, so I started this feature that spotlights these essential works of art.

The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr

Release: May 7, 2013
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?

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.
I love Sara Zarr so much and I have little doubt in my mind that The Lucy Variations will live up to her other books. However, in my opinion at least, its cover does not.

It is not that it is unattractive; my aversion to this cover stems from the fact that it simply appears slightly amateur. I could have made something similar using a stock photo of a musical instrument and an image editing program no more advanced than paint, and I would have liked to see something more dramatic done with the title, like what appeared on the cover of the author's How to Save a Life. Not all covers have brilliant lettering, but something about the way the text goes with the image on this one seems uncoordinated, generic, and very copy-and-paste. Perhaps it is the way that the vibrant purple seems a little too obnoxiously bright against a subdued black and white backdrop, but this cover will remain only average in my mind, despite the gorgeous story I am sure it is veiling.


  1. I echo your thoughts here. How to Save a Life was so a brilliant novel, and I am still a big fan of that beautiful cover- very evocative and matching the subject. But this cover-- I just wanted MORE- something a bit more exciting or bold to go with Sara's amazing storytelling abilities. I have such high hopes for this, and I think it will be great, but...sigh...that cover is not doing justice!

  2. I completely agree. It seems very...boring. I like how you described it as "copy and paste" because that's exactly what I was looking for. It's not horrendous, but it doesn't do anything for me. You say your feelings so well!

  3. Huh. I'm surprised this is a Sara Zarr book. I mean she's pretty prominent with young adults so it's just weird. I agree that the purple is too bright but it's the font too that bothers me. I'm not sure about the reflection of the piano and fingers either.


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