Title: The Sea of Tranquility
Author: Katja Millay
Publisher: June 4th 2013 by Atria Books
Format: Paperback, 448 pages
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.
You guys. You guys. This book. I just… I don’t think I have the words to express how much I loved it. Nothing I can say could possibly convey the amazingness that is this book. And the feels. My god, the feels!
Nastya is the new girl at school, and everyone wants to know all about her. But nobody knows a thing because not only does she dress like a prostitute, she doesn’t speak. Ever. What they don’t know is that something traumatic happened to her a few years ago, and her silence and provocative dress are her way of dealing with things and taking control of her life. On the other hand, everyone knows everything about Josh. Everyone in his family has died, one by one, until he’s all alone. Between those who are afraid his “bad luck” will be contagious, and those who just don’t know what to say to him, he has no friends, except for Drew, the slutty but honest guy he’s known forever.
The point of view switched between Nastya and Josh, which I loved. We learned what happened to Nastya before Josh did, and I enjoyed seeing things from his point of view, as he struggled to understand what made her tick. I also liked seeing her point of view, as she let herself relax around him, and learned to face her past.
I really liked Drew, Josh’s friend, who also became Nastya’s friend. He was a manwhore, but he never lied about it to the ladies. He was always up front about his interests, and of course, there was more to him than met the eye.
The way the characters spoke to each other was so honest, nothing flowery or unreal. They always said what was on their mind, even if it didn’t make sense, or paint themselves in the most flattering light. But they were honest, and they respected each other for it. Drew was definitely the comic relief; he had a great sense of humor and knew how to make the other two take a break from their inner turmoil.
Katja Millay has a gift for writing honest and real emotions, and for making me care about the characters. From the very first chapter, I was completely invested in what was going on in their lives. And I wanted them to work out, I wanted them to heal and be there for each other. I wanted them to have a happily ever after. It mattered to me what happened to them.
Not since reading Where the Red Fern Grows as a child have I cried so much for characters in a book. I’m not talking getting a little teary-eyed, either. I’m talking full on ugly sobbing.
It’s a long one, at over 400 pages, but believe me, you won’t notice. In fact, as I neared the end, I started to slow down my reading because I just didn’t want the story to end. I am absolutely blown away that this is Katja’s debut novel, I never would have guessed that. She was born to write and I will, without doubt, read anything else she puts out.
Heart-wrenchingly sad, but also hopeful and funny. It broke my heart, stomped on the pieces, then put it all back together again. Truly a book that everyone must read.
Katja Millay grew up in Florida and graduated with a degree in film & television production from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She has worked as a television producer and a film studies and screenwriting teacher. The Sea of Tranquility is her first book.
And because I want others to experience this book, I’m giving away a copy, in the format of the winner’s choice. If you don’t see the Rafflecopter form below, try refreshing your screen, or just click the link.