Monday, April 1, 2013

Review of The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

The Sea of Tranquility
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.

(Summary from GoodReads)

There are some books that I only recommend to certain people, typically because they were only okay for me and I’m not sure that I see their widespread appeal.  However, I’m eager to push The Sea of Tranquility on all of you, which is precisely what Allison at The Allure of Books did to me until I downloaded an egalley of this one and read it.  The Sea of Tranquility is an exquisitely characterized, brilliantly written book that you need to read yesterday.

Millay’s novel will pull you in right from the start, but it’s a slow-burner.  The plot of this novel isn’t fast-paced, and in some ways, it’s not insanely unique.  It’s about people who have yet to figure out how to deal with their emotional baggage.

The characters and writing are what make this book exceptional.  When I put this book down, I didn’t just know what Nastya and Josh went through during this story.   I learned that Nastya is addicted to sugar and Josh can’t live without his wood working.  Even though I couldn’t necessarily relate to what either of these characters had been through, I rooted for them and desperately wanted things to work out for them.

The prose in this novel is gorgeous.  Millay knows how to explain how much emotion can be packed into seemingly mundane activities, yet she never becomes too loquacious. The prologue is particularly well done--it pulls the reader in right away and makes him or her long to know what happened.

I wish I could have a hardcover of The Sea of Tranquility for my shelves right now.  Millay's novel is one of my favorites of 2012 and all time.  I hope all of you pick this up, because I suspect you'll love it as much as I did.

Disclosure: I received a digital galley of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Other reviews:


  1. Yes, I just love this book!! I read it while it was still a self-pub release, and once it was picked up by S&S I pre-ordered the PB, because I basically want every single version available. I definitely rec it to everyone as well. =)

  2. I liked Sea of Tranquility a lot, too. It's not an all time favorite for me, but I was so invested in the characters! Nastya and Josh, and Josh's friends (I can't think od his name right now). They were so well-developed.

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  4. I definitely liked The Sea of Tranquility, but I can't say it's a favorite of all time. I did love Josh to pieces though. Oh, and Drew! What a surprise he turned out to be, right?

    Rowena Hailey (Hummer H1 Accessories)



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