Publisher: Atria Books
Date Published: June 4, 2013
Genres: Young Adult
Description: 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.
Some books can absolutely destroy you, rip out your emotional insides…and then in just 2 words, put you back together. This is exactly what The Sea of Tranquility did to me. Several people that I met at a book signing in January recommended this book to me. Few books that come with such high recommendations meet my expectations. This book surpassed them! In search of the ever elusive HEA, I was propelled by a compulsive obsession to finish this book! The author took me right up to the edge where I was almost ready to throw the book aside and scream that I will never believe in HEA’s ever again when I read the final page. Worth every tormented minute of reading!
Author, Katja Millay crafts a painfully dark narrative of two damaged, grief-stricken souls both in desperate need of healing. Despite the tragedy Nastya and Josh have experienced in their own individual lives, this is a story about the creation and offering of second chances. Sometimes when books are of a dark nature, the author allows the darkness to carry the story and propel you to find the answers out of simple interest. Katja Millay does not allow the darkness to define her book, even as Nastya permits the darkness to define her life. Bit by bit, Millay masterfully reveals Nastya’s tragedy. Piece by piece, Josh attempts to rebuilds his life. These two forge a new, if not unlikely, friendship and one would think the story would end there with a nice big HEA. However, this book is too real and edgy for that to happen. Josh and Nastya have had too much happen to them in their young lives, too much destroyed and taken away. Part of healing is not just intellectually knowing that what happened in your past is not your fault and should not control your future. Part of healing is actually embracing this knowledge and moving forward with life. Nastya struggles with this:
It’s not that I wanted to be dead, I just felt like I should be. Which is why it’s hard when everyone expects you to be grateful simply because you’re not.
Josh struggles with this as well. Having lost everyone he has ever loved, he finds it almost excruciating to be vulnerable again. Together the two must overcome and heal from their past or it will consume their future as well.
I could go on forever and never do this book justice. Millay’s writing style is so fluid that I frequently forgot that I was a reader and not actually a part of this book. It is a book I could read again and again and be affected each and every read. Deep, dark, edgy, and simply exquisite.
I wasn’t sure what to think of The Sea of Tranquility at first, because everyone was a little bit messed up and I can’t say that any of the characters were super likeable. They were just confusing and everyone had secrets, and I think that is the beauty in this work. As the book unfolded and the secrets got out, the characters became more real and I definitely became attached to them.
I liked the changing narration in this story. We have the on-his-own-because-everyone-died boy who builds furniture as a hobby, or as an escape. We also have the girl-who-refuses-to-speak-because-something-bad-happened who dresses like a Russian hooker, goes on long runs to forget, bakes delicious desserts, and is obsessed with names. She even goes to change her own name to suit her new look. Throughout this story they come together and push each other away, break each other’s hearts and save each other.
This story is dark and tragic since both our main characters have suffered a great deal in their lives, and have suffered quite a bit together as well. They’ve both experienced death, and our main character actually died but the doctors managed to bring her back. She leaves her immediate family to live with her aunt because her loved ones only see a dead girl – the girl she was before the tragic event. Ultimately she needs to face what happened to her before she can come to terms with her new life and move on.