Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

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Synopsis

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.

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My Review

“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.”

I felt every last thing in this book.
Every character.
Every moment.

The Sea of Tranquility is absolute brilliance and every book lover should read it. The story built slowly, a clear strategy and intent to the flow. It needed to unfurl, fold by fold, moment by moment, so that we could get to know Nastya and Josh and connect with them deeply. At their young age, they’ve both experienced life in a way no one should, and it’s made them flawed and despondent. They seem hopeless, both living shadowed lives, hiding behind pain and sadness. My heart physically hurt so many times, tears spilling down my cheek during so many poignant and meaningful moments. There were also times I felt physically ill and moments where I felt uplifted, hopeful and happy. I kept thinking… this author… this woman… is brilliant. This book… a book… seemed to transcend fiction and became real to me. You don’t read this book.

YOU.
FEEL.
IT.

“I was probably going to feel shitty for the rest of my life, a life I should not even still be living. A life that should have let me go. So I got angry. Then I got very angry. Then I got angrier still. But you can only go so long being angry before you learn to hate. I stopped feeling so sorry for myself and started hating instead. Whining was pathetic, but hate got things done. Hate strengthened my body and shaped my resolve and what I resolved to do was to get revenge. Hate seemed pretty damn healthy to me.”

So what is this book about? We meet Nastya Kashnikov as she starts a new school. We learn she was a piano prodigy, living life through her connection in music before that life “smashed into a thousand pieces.”

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“I think I’ll stay in pieces. I can shift them, rearrange, depending on the day, depending on what I need to be. I can change on a whim and be so many different girls and none of them has to be me.”

She doesn’t talk (ever). She hides behind dark makeup. She dresses in tight clothes, ultra-short skirts and 4″ high heels … to go to school. If she’s going to call attention, it won’t be for her scars or her brokeness.

“Sometimes it’s easier to pretend nothing is wrong than to face the fact that everything is wrong, but you’re powerless to do anything about it.”

Then Nastya meets Josh Bennett. Everyone seems to leave him alone at school, as if he has a “force field” that shields him. Josh is broken too. His entire family has died, one by one and he’s almost completely alone. Josh makes furniture … it’s his passion and one day, Nastya finds herself in his garage, watching him work.

To say this book is about two broken people coming together and saving each other, would be true. But it is SO MUCH MORE. The way these two people connect is beautiful and real and soul deep. I also loved the way each of them evolved. Josh is reluctant and scared to feel … if you don’t feel love, you don’t feel loss. And Nastya, she’s both fragile and strong, two sides of herself constantly warring.

“Everything in me turns on and shuts down at the same time. I am weak and strong. I am terrified and brave. I am lost and found. I am here and gone.”

They are almost paralyzed with fear and insecurity, and the truth is, those kind of deep-seated emotions take a while to abate. This is one of the reasons I think the book is slow to build, and one of the reasons it was so real and powerful.

I don’t want to tell you too much about what happens … both in the past and during their time together. Know that you will feel every page, every word in this bookThis is MY type of book. I love books that make me feel this much, whether it be laughter or heartache or even anger. The Sea of Tranquility is filled with so many emotions, it’s brimming with feeling and I won’t ever forget it. And because of this and so many beautiful reasons that those of us who have read it can attest to, I give it my highest rating … 6 perfect stars.

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Comments

  1. james310 says:

    Thank you for the awesome giveaway.

  2. Tonya Hauser says:

    Very cool

  3. Misty Trevino says:

    Loved Sea!! Fingers crossed for the giveaway!!!

  4. Jennifer Zorko-Legan says:

    Thank you for the chance.

  5. Alisa Kaminski says:

    Thanks for the giveaway. I absolutely loved this book and it would be awesome to add a signed copy to my collection.

  6. Fabulous giveaway! This book was amazing! I would love to win!!!

  7. Beckey Buxton says:

    I would LOVE to win a signed copy as this is seriously one of the best books I have ever read! 🙂 THanks for the giveaway!

  8. Shannon says:

    Awesome giveaway and book!

  9. Sylvia Chavarin says:

    I wanna win! I love TSoT!

  10. Can’t wait to read this book. Thank you for the 6 star review. Makes that itch to want to read it more of holy cow this itch isn’t just an itch it is a need LOL!!

  11. This was such an amazing book. I read it over again right after I finished it the first time. Would love to have a signed copy on my shelf to keep separate and perfect from the other one I’m ordering to read over and over 🙂

  12. Jatana Fleming says:

    This is a beautiful book in an awesome giveaway. Wish I could have a signed copy on my bookshelf.

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