The heart of the story is family, as with her other books. Lucy walks off stage from a high-profile performance in Europe just moments after her dad, well-meaning, informed her that her grandmother's sudden illness turned fatal. For moths, Lucy hasn't been near a piano. Now, her younger brother is progressing with his own piano career, stepping in line for her failure, just as Lucy stepped in for her mother's failed piano career. Her grandfather is determined to see someone excel and pushes Lucy's brother further into the scene. Lucy herself is intrigued by her brother's new teacher who is young with fresh ideas, and nothing like her former coach.
Parts of this story made me quite uncomfortable, as Lucy begins an escalating fascination with her brother's new coach. They start spending time together, and you just want to reach into the book to tell her to step back, and to smack that hipster piano guy upside the head for dazzling an impressionable teen girl. As mentioned, Zarr does not take this where I expected, and I am glad she steered this in a less sensational route in favor for more nuanced take. Lucy thankfully has a wonderful father figure and a good best friend, even if her friend has (expected) limitations. Her complicated relationship with her mother and grandfather, and how their affection and loyalty ties in with Lucy's own talent and aspirations make this an engaging read.