November's Book Pick is The Lucy Variations, by National Book Award Nominee Sara Zarr.
Those of you who have read any of her other work, including The Story of a Girl, Sweethearts, or How to Save a Life, know that she has a terrific knack for crafting strong and believable realistic YA. Her characters are usually high school girls navigating the ups and downs of getting close to adulthood--and figuring out the changes that come with getting there.
I have thought a lot about what works for me in The Lucy Variations, and I think it's the way she has created a flawed yet thoroughly understandable character in Lucy, one that readers can relate to despite Lucy's special circumstances, which include her huge talent for playing the piano and early professional success with it. She still has problems with family dynamics, with friendships, and some cringe-worthy crushes on teachers and tutors. Zarr also manages to weave all her elements into a smooth plot.
You may also want to check out Zarr's Story of a Girl, Sweethearts, and How to Save a Life, along with Roomies, co-written with Tara Altebrando.