AUTHOR: Katja Millay
GENRE: YA Contemporary
PUBLISHED: 5th September 2012
SOURCE: Received E-ARC from author in exchange for an honest 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.
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.
OK, so I read The Sea of Tranquility just over a month ago now and I am still thinking about it every day. It’s taken me a while to sit down and write this review because I just wasn’t sure how I was going to articulate my love for this book. I’m going to try and do that now, I haven’t planned what I’m going to write, I don’t have a pre-drafted review that I’m typing up, it’s just straight from the ramblings in my head. So here goes …
Have you ever read a book so amazing, brilliant, all consuming and powerful that you just CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT IT?! If no, then bad luck, but if yes then hopefully you’ll know what I’m talking about because for me The Sea of Tranquility is one of those books and it’s currently sitting at the top of my favourite books of 2012 list. The more people who know about and read this beautiful book, the better. Everyone needs to know about it and read it.
It’s hard to review The Sea of Tranquility without giving away the plot and spoilers so I’m going to tread carefully here because I hate spoilers. I accidentally read one this week for another book I’m reading and I wish I could forget that I’d seen it! Argh!
Nastya is an emotionally damaged girl. Something happened to Nastya in the not too distant past, something that changed her life forever and made her the bitter, damaged, fragile girl she is. The same thing that made her start dressing and looking, in her words, like a Russian whore. The same thing that made her move away from her loving mum, dad, and brother, and move in with her aunt to attend a new high school for her senior year. So you can start to see that something isn’t quite right.
If you caught my Teaser Tuesday post from 11th Sept you might have seen that I shared the prologue which goes like this …
I hate my left hand. I hate to look at it. I hate it when it stutters and trembles and reminds me that my identity is gone. But I look at it anyway; because it also reminds me that I’m going to find the boy who took everything from me. I’m going to kill the boy who killed me, and when I kill him, I’m going to do it with my left hand.
… I think it gives you an idea just how deep Nastya’s rage and desperation run.
Josh Bennett is a boy in Nastya’s senior year. He’s not the sort of boy who’s in with the cool kids and or has a lot of friends. He’s pretty much the opposite. He keeps to himself, doesn’t really talk to anyone and can be found sitting on his own most of the time. He’s known as the boy that death follows around. As you can imagine the kids aren’t flocking to be around him and that suits Josh just fine, until one day Nastya starts to pay Josh some attention. and he can’t seem to get rid of her.
They’re two kindred spirits, both have been hurt by events of the past that were beyond their control, and both are struggling to live in their present as a result. The story that unfolds is beautiful, moving, full of emotion and angst, and ultimately sees Nastya and Josh finding a sense of peace that neither of them have felt in a long, long time.
The Sea of Tranquility started off quite slow, and I’ve seen others write that in their reviews too. Funnily I haven’t seen anyone say that this is a bad thing and it wasn’t for me either. There is just so much that you need to know about Nastya and Josh that it takes time to do that. I don’t think this would have been the book it was if all the groundwork of it was rushed. We wouldn’t have got to know Nastya and Josh the way we needed to know them in order to appreciate just what a shitty deal they’d both got in life.
The one thing, actually just one of the many things, that amazed me about The Sea of Tranquility is that it is Katja Millay’s DEBUT book! You’d be forgiven, I think, for assuming that Katja already has a few books under her belt and some previous publishing experiences from which she’s honed her skills, but no this is her FIRST book and IT. IS. AMAZING! Don’t believe me? Just go to Amazon and check out the 5 star reviews, there’s 78 of them in just over a month! Now I think that speaks for itself!
I think this is where I should probably stop my review because I’m afraid it could just descend in to full out gushing about my love for it!
But I think that goes without saying!
There are A LOT of quotes I highlighted while reading The Sea of Tranquility but I can’t share them with you 🙁 since I left my bag, and therefore my Kindle, in my car and my husband has gone out in it 🙁
So, I have taken the liberty of sharing some of the quotes on the Goodreads page for The Sea of Tranquility, and here they are …
“Daylight won’t protect you from anything. Bad things happen all the time; they don’t wait until after dinner” – Nastya
“Wonderful. Last night’s dinner, the charred remains of my dignity, and apparently, now, my undergarments, too. What else did I leave on Josh Bennett’s bathroom floor?” – Nastya
“It’s a little bit devastating being surrounded by people who can do what you can’t anymore. People who create. People whose souls don’t live in their bodies anymore because they’ve leached so much of themselves into their work.” – Nastya
“Good morning, Sunshine.” – Josh
“What? Sunshine fits you. It’s bright and warm and happy. Just. Like. You.” – Josh
**Updated 4th Dec 2012** Since I wrote this review back in October, The Sea of Tranquility has been published by Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Congratulations to Katja Millay!**