Review: Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Sea of Tranquility
By: Katja Millay
Publisher: Atria Books
Published: Nov. 13, 2012
Genre: YA

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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 was killed one day while walking the neighborhood in the daylight. The doctors were able to bring her back but life has never been the same since. For a while she couldn’t remember anything about that day but the moment she does, she completely shuts down. She decided to stop talking because she can’t bring herself to say the things that everyone wants to hear, “who did it” and “what happened”. So instead of trying to come up with lies for the answers, she decides to stop talking until she can bring herself to talk about it. Only, minutes turn into hours, hours into days, days into months… you get the idea. All she knows is the boy who attacked her kept calling her a Russian whore and when she’s given a second chance at life, that’s exactly the persona she takes on.

Everyone that Josh has ever loved is dead. His mom and sister were killed in a car accident when he was 8, his father died of a heart attack later on and his grandfather, who is the only one left, is not looking like he’s got too much longer to live. So at the age of 18 he is alone. He keeps to himself and only has one friend, and he’s perfectly fine with that. He doesn’t want anyone else in his life who is just going to leave him heartbroken.

I loved their story. You get bits and pieces of Nastya’s story as the story progresses but it isn’t until the end that all the pieces fall together. I liked that this wasn’t one of those teen angst books where the girl falls in love with the bad boy. Josh is a loner and even though he’s not looking to make friends, he isn’t rude to Nastya. It isn’t until his best friend, Drew, decides to pursue the new girl, Nastya, that the two characters start to interact.

Now normally I don’t talk about the cover because a lot of the time it’s not always relevant to the story. However, this cover deserves some spotlight for how amazing it is. The Sea of Tranquility is actually the lunar mare (dark part we see on the moon) that is located in the Tranquillitatus basin on the moon. Why is this relevant? Well, there’s a part of the book when Nastya and Josh are laying in the bed of his truck looking up at the stars and the moon. They start talking about the Sea of Tranquility and how Nastya has a picture of the moon on her room wall. She used to think that the Sea of Tranquility was a beautiful and peaceful place that you’d want to go to when you die but has since learned that the name is all a lie.
The ice cream is actually presented a lot in the story. Nastya has this addiction to sugar. Her food groups consists of, candy, cookies, cake and ice cream. She once tells Josh that if she goes too long without ice cream she gets really irritable. And since then he either has ice cream in his freezer or he takes her out for ice cream.

“We put a pretty big dent in every one of those containers, and she’s definitely more Sunshine and less Nasty afterward. I make a mental note for the next time she gets pissy that, in lieu of mood stabilizers, ice cream will do the trick.”

I’m so glad that I read this book. The author has a wonderful way of weaving two stories together to create a seamless masterpiece. This is an unforgettable story about two characters who find peace in each other and with the bond that they create, start to heal. It will keep you up until all hours of the night, until you finally pass out, only to start reading again the second that you wake up. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more work from this debut author.

“At the age when most kids are trying to figure out who they are. I was busy trying to figure out why I was. I didn’t belong in this world anymore. 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.” -Nastya

2 Thoughts on “Review: Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

  1. Thank you for your thoughts on this book. Sounds like a book I’m going to have to read.

  2. Great review. I have been seeing this book everywhere and need to check it out.

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