Friday, July 19, 2013

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Title: The Sea of Tranquility
Author: Katja Millay
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
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 life 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 to 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 lean 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.

Katja Millay's The Sea of Tranquility had been on my radar for quite some time before I was offered a copy for review. And after all the amazing things I had heard about the book, I was a little apprehensive when I first started reading. But it didn't take long before I found myself unable to turn the pages fast enough and getting dragged into the story.

At her new school, Nastya doesn't want anyone to know about what happened to her in the past, much less who she really is. And her solution? Dressing so provocatively that no one will dare approach her. And if they do, they'll be quick to realize that she doesn't speak. People stay away from Josh Bennett for a completely different story. Everyone knows that every person he has ever loved has been taken away from his life. The only person who doesn't seem able to stay away from him is Nastya, even when she finds out what has happened to Josh's family. And as much as he tries to stay away from everyone to prevent getting hurt, Josh can't seem to resist Nastya's pull. But Nastya has a secret she isn't ready to share with anyone. Except not being able to share her secret may be what hurts Nastya the most.

Anyone who knows me knows I love myself a good contemporary story, and I will love it even more if the characters in that story are damaged. So basically, The Sea of Tranquility of the perfect story for me…though it did take me a while to clue in to that. Because here's the thing, Katja Millay wrote a beautiful story that deserves your whole attention. But when I first started reading The Sea of Tranquility, I had so many other things going on that I could only read a few pages at a time. This resulted in me getting a little frustrated because I just couldn't seem to get in the story. But when it finally clicked? I just couldn't turn the pages fast enough. All I needed was some time where I could actually sit down and read more than 3 pages. And from that point on I just got sucked into the story. I wanted to know if Nastya would open to Josh, if she was going to come clean about what happened to her. And I wanted to know if Josh would finally let someone in after everything he's lost in the past. But more than that, it was also a great love story. Who knew that there could be something so romantic about two people walking down the lumber aisle at Home Depot? But beyond the romantic virtues of Home Depot, what made this story so fantastic and what made me fall in love with it were Josh and Nastya.

Josh and Nastya are both broken in so many ways. Josh has lost everyone who's ever mattered to him. His mother and sister died when he was young, quickly followed by his father and ultimately his grandparents, leaving him completely alone. So to protect himself, Josh cuts himself off from everyone…except Drew, but I'll get to that in a moment. But while reading, I couldn't help but root for Josh. I wanted nothing more than for him to finally be happy and not have that happiness taken away from him like it had been so many times in the past. And I absolutely loved seeing him work through everything, come to terms with the past and realize that he deserved so much more than he gave himself credit for. And Nastya was the same way. She was so harsh with herself, thinking that she didn't deserve to have anyone care about her, much less love her. But like Josh, she deserved so much more than she gave herself credit for. And seeing the two of them together, helping each other and ultimately help the other realize exactly who they are and what they are worthy of so much. And as much as I loved Josh and Nastya, Drew is the one who truly stole the show. I didn't make much of Drew at first, if anything he even annoyed me. But the more I got to know Drew the more I realized he was so much more than he let on. Any time he came Nastya's defence, my heart melted just a little. Because as it turned out, Drew was probably one of the most caring people in the book, willing to do just about anything for the people he cared about…even if wouldn't actually admit that to the world.

In case it wasn't clear from the gushing, I loved Katja Millay's The Sea of Tranquility. It was the kind of story that broke my heart so many times, but even when my heart was broken, I couldn't help but hope for the best. And the best happened. All that to say that if you are in the mood for an amazing love story, The Sea of Tranquility is the book for you.

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  1. I absolutely adored this book, I agree that this is a story that you need to devote all your attention to or you just won't be interested. I wanted more of Nastya and Josh, but I loved the secondary characters as well, like you say Drew is so much more than you see. I love your gushing review, this is a book I actually recommend to people, and it makes me happy when I hear they loved it too!

  2. I loveeeee this book!! I've heard from a lot of people (including most of our book club) that they had a hard time getting into it, but once they did they liked it a lot more. I dunno, for some reason I was invested from page 1! But it's definitely a quieter book, especially at first, so I can see where people are coming from. Either way, I just adoreeee it. Totally one of my favourites. =)


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