Monday, December 17, 2012

Book Review: The Sea of Tranquility

 The Sea of Tranquility: A Novel
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
September 5, 2012
352 pages
Atria Books
Source: Personal Purchase (ebook)
Genre: Mature Young Adult/New Adult/Adult
due to mature themes and situations
From Goodreads:
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.

Full of rage and without a purpose, former pianist Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone discovering her past and to make the boy who took everything from her pay.

All 17 year-old Josh Bennett wants is to build furniture and be left alone, and everyone allows it because it’s easier to pretend he doesn’t exist. When your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, a hot mess of a girl who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. The more he gets to know her, the more of a mystery she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he may ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a slow-building, character-driven romance about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

Please Note: This book contains mature content including profanity, drug/alcohol use, and sexual situations/language.
My Review:

After finishing The Sea of Tranquility, I found myself hours and days later, still dwelling on the amazing and complex characters Kayja Millay introduced me to. This is one of those books that won't leave you quickly. The rave reviews made me want to read this book, but the incredible writing and multi-dimentional characters kept me glued to the pages.

The synopsis of The Sea of Tranquility describes it as "a slow-building, character-driven romance about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances," and that statement sums it up perfectly. Without giving away the main plot-points or revealing spoilers, I will simply say that Millay transitions us through the thoughts and lives of Josh and Nastya (Sunshine) with alternating POVs. They are both broken people, who have erected walls around themselves, one of them running away, one of them hiding away. Millay slowly displays what has separated these two from the world, what draws them to each others and what, if anything, will help them break down those walls.

There were many beautiful moments in this story, great spoken and unspoken banter between characters, and touching situations. The storyline was not comfortable for me at all times either. Some things done to the characters, around the characters, and by the characters would range from unpleasant to frustrating to anger-inducing. They are flawed people, and despite the mistakes done against them, still make their own mistakes against others and each other, hence the frustrating parts for me. But that also makes them real characters, despite how I felt about some of their choices.

I loved watching Josh and Sunshine unfold, slowly, oh so slowly. But slowly in a good way. I loved watching them learn about each other, and in the process, learn about themselves as well. I also liked the progression of some of the secondary characters as well. I liked how my perception of them changed as the story played out and their characters were tested. Millay was able to reveal the depths of her characters along the way, allowing us to learn alongside them. I also loved how Millay ended it all.

Bottomline: This is a touching, moving story with multi-dimentional characters and a beautiful summation of second chances. This is a worthy read, that may make you uncomfortable at times, but will ultimately leave you hopeful.



  1. Thanks for the awesome review. This one has been on the top of my Wish List. Maybe Santa will put it under the tree.... fingers crossed

    1. Thanks! Fingers crossed for Santa :)


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