Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay ~ Review

Source: Received eBook copy from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

My Thoughts:

4 stars - Emotionally intense, this book will touch your heart.

This is a book that once you've read it, you wish you hadn't waited so long to get to it.  I loved this book.  Why?  It deals with some very emotional issues but it doesn't feel debilitating like some emotional books do.  And I was really impressed with how the relationships in this book rang true.

Nastya and Josh are both broken but for different reasons.  Neither of them are interested in a relationship.  Both of them excel at hiding in plain sight.  They resist even being friends.  But something draws Nastya to Josh.  I thought I knew what that was but the last line of the book told me the truth.  What I did know was that their relationship wasn't instant love and was build over time.  It's nice to see that.

Nastya is scary angry and I can totally understand why.  Doesn't make is right or good but I get it.  She's just waiting, not healing or even dealing.  Waiting.  Very much stuck in a angry place.  I find her reactions to her very ugly circumstances interesting.  Her choices would never occur to me and I think that's what makes them interesting.  I loved how she is drawn to Josh.  It's not a matter of attraction even though it becomes that.  They become friends first. They spend time together.  They build something real.

I was totally taken with Josh.  My heart breaks for him.  For whatever reason, I understood his pain better than I did Nastya.  She was more clearly in need of fixing but Josh needed it just as much.  I really love it when characters save each other.  These two become so important to each other even though both have tried so hard to not love the other and not be loved by the other.  Really, their determined effort to avoid it is exactly what causes it.

The story is compelling and I was never bored though this book is almost 500 pages long.  It's very much a YA book in it's tone and setting but the issues are very much adult.  It's sad that teens would ever have to deal with these issues but in this world, they do.  I love that books can help teens learn how to deal with the tough issues even if what they are facing is different.

If you love a good YA book with depth, then this is one that should not be missed.

About the Author:

Katja Millay grew up in Florida and graduated with a degree in film & television production from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She has worked as a television producer and a film studies and screenwriting teacher. The Sea of Tranquility is her first book.



  1. I thought you read this long ago? Oh well, I'm so glad you enjoyed TSoT, Pal!

  2. Great review! This book sounds really intriguing and one I'll have to check out when I get the chance. :)

    Wendy @ Escape Into Fiction

  3. I loved this book so much. One of my favorites. I was one of those who waited a long time to read it and wished I wouldn't have. Great review.

  4. Great review! This book has my favorite last line EVER! Just so perfect.

    Teresa @ Readers Live A Thousand Lives

  5. This is one of my favorite books. Katja is an amazing writer.

  6. LOOOOVE this book! At first I thought it was boring but it sneak up on me and I loved it. The ending was perfect! And a GH fan, I love Josh!

  7. Sadly, I was bored much of the time in this book. It was too long! That may have something to do w/the fact that I was reading while undergoing a crazy reading slump where I hated everything, but still. Yes, it was great writing, touching, emotional, but just not what I was wanting at the time. I'm happy you enjoyed it though Val. Great review!

    Confessions of a Vi3tBabe
    Deity Island

  8. I listened to the audiobook of this and thought it was fantastic. It was a bit drawn out to me, but it was still a good story. I think I liked it more on audio than if I had read it myself because the readers were great. They both really brought emotion to the characters. Fabulous review Val!

  9. I loved this book so much, it brought me to tears at points. :)