The Sea of Tranquility by Katja MillayThe Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Published November 2012
Genres: Young Adult
four-stars
Format: eBook
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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.

Nastya Kashnikov is the mysterious new girl at school who wants nothing to do with anyone, her dark make-up and daring clothing scaring everyone away to fulfil this purpose. The former piano prodigy won’t talk, and doesn’t want anyone to know about her past, let alone the incident that took everything away from her.

Yet, despite all of that, something draws her to Josh Bennett, the quiet guy she shares a few classes with. Nastya keeps showing up at his place, and Josh has no idea what to make of it: every person he loves has been taken away from him and he sees it is a curse, so all he wants is to be left alone.

However, the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes, and while he is talking himself into not getting involved, he can’t help but want to understand what she is hiding, and why.

To begin with, The Sea of Tranquility is definitely a New Adult story by definition, but the characters didn’t necessarily feel NA. Maybe the tough life that the main characters have been put through that makes them somehow more mature (even if sometimes, they really do act immature). But all in all, this book will definitely appeal to any romance readers.

First off, the writing in this book was excellent – absolutely mind blowing! Even though this was a dual-POV book, the author knew how to keep the suspense going by never completely unveiling both points of view. I loved the underlying (not necessarily sexual) tension that gradually built up throughout the book, and the way stuff happens in the storyline that just shatters you because instead of taking a step forward, the main characters reluctantly take a step back! As as the reader you just want to shake both Josh and Sunshine and bring them to reason!

I was very impressed by the research the author put into the notion of grief. Whereas Josh had just as many issues as Nastya, Nastya used a completely uncommon way to deal with what happened to her. While Josh cut himself off from the rest of the world (except for Clay and Drew), Nastya changed every bit of her personality to find the distorted image of who she is supposed to be, as opposed to the girl she once was.

With that, the author underlined very well the fact that there is no roadmap to overcoming grief, and that every personal story is different – and thus handled differently. By giving Nastya her obsession with names, dark clothing and make-up, author Katja Millay turned The Sea of Tranquility into a deep-meaning novel with a lot a psychological research, where the pieces of the puzzle just click into place in the end. It was absolutely impressive.

And while the story pretty much evolves around Nastya and Josh, the author also put a lot of attention to detail in the form of very though out side characters like Drew, Clay and Sarah – just to name a few!

The reason why I wouldn’t give this book a full 5 Stars is because I felt that the closure that was given to Nastya by the end of the book came a bit unexpectedly and perhaps a but to easily. I wonder if the story had ended the same way if Nastya hadn’t had this closure. But then again, it is not something that should deter you from reading the book at all.

I highly recommend you read this. I listened to this as an audiobook (with very competent narrators!) but I am pretty sure actually reading it so you can adjust your pace when it comes to the more boring bits would have been better. Also, don’t expect steam in this book, but a whole lot of romantic build-up – which can be a very nice change sometimes!

Detailed Rating
Storyline
4.5 Stars
Characters
5 Stars
Writing
5 Stars
All the feels
4 Stars
Overall: four-stars