Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Review: The Sea of Tranquility

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.

Title: The Sea of Tranquility
Author: Katja Millay
Publication Date: November 13 2012
Publisher: Atria Books 
Length: 448 Pages
Add it to your TBR PileGoodreads
Buy ItAmazon US / Amazon UK

Source: Purchased (Kindle Edition)
Cover Love: Once you read it you will realize how perfect it is... I mean ice cream?  Perfect.
Point of View:  Alternating 1st person between both Nastya (NAH-stee-ya) and Josh

My Rating: 5 Stars

I honestly don't know where to begin with this review.  I finished The Sea of Tranquility earlier this morning and since then my head has been filled with all of the things I wanted to say, the points I wanted to get across and the emotions I wanted to share.  Now I am sat here wondering how I could possibility put into words the journey I have just had the pleasure of being on. 

When I am reading I use the highlight feature on my Kindle quite often.  I highlight scenes I want to remember or make note for the review I will be writing later.  I highlight swoonworthy moments, moments that made me laugh, moments that made me cry... just anything that stands out to me that I will easily be able to read through at a later time.  With The Sea of Tranquility I might as well have highlighted the entire book for what it was worth.  It is filled with so much greatness that I found myself constantly wanting to highlight this scene or that.  It seemed to take me a day longer than normal to finish and I realized late last night it was because I was reading a lot of the scenes twice.  Not because I was confused or didn't understand them but because what was happening was so beautifully written that I wanted to read it again, right then.

To say I cried while reading this book is an understatement.  There is so much emotion and it is practically dripping from every single page.  But sadness is not the only emotion, there is also happiness and moments that made me laugh and smile.  Ultimately this is a story of the rebirth of a girl and a boy.  Both have been through some really hard but very different times.

"Dying really isn't so bad after you've done it once.  And I have.  I'm not afraid of death anymore.  I'm afraid of everything else."

Nastya thinks of herself as being dead.  She died when she was fifteen.  Before she died she was a piano prodigy and the golden girl of the town she and her family lived.  Then tragedy strikes.  Then a while later she stops speaking.  She doesn't talk to anybody for a very long time.  I knew she could not go the entire book without speaking to anybody and that tension that built up because of this realization was immense.  When it finally happens, when she finally speaks it was perfect.  It was in a moment when you least expect it and about a topic that at the time was not something she was interested in.  When she speaks you would expect Josh to be shocked or make a big deal about it and that is exactly what he doesn't do.  He simply answers the question that she asked and they carry on talking.  This is exactly why she is drawn to Josh, he doesn't try to fix her and when she asks him not to ask her questions about her past, he doesn't.  He doesn't look at her as the girl she was before she died, he only knows her as she is now.

"My grandfather assured me before he left that there was an afterlife, one he'd seen if only briefly, a long time ago.  I listened but I didn't believe him.  It was a story born of disease and painkillers, not memories and truth.  he'll be dead any day now and I won't be waiting for a sign.  I'll just be relieved that I have no one left to lose."

Josh has lost every single person he has ever been close to.  His mother and sister, his father, his grandmother and lastly his grandfather.  There are walls that have been built around him.  He keeps everybody at arms length in order to save himself the hurt that he knows will come later when they leave him.  He thinks that God hates him and that he doesn't deserve to have anybody he cares about in his life.  

Enter Nastya. This is the reason why they work.  Josh believes that only death is around him and Nastya sees herself as being dead.  

The relationship between these two is a slow and beautiful build up.  The wonderful way that their interactions slowly turn into a trusting friendship and from there more.  They are both respectful of each other and it was such a joy to witness.  It is nice to read a book where the girl is not automatically falling all over the boy and simply dying to get him into bed and vice versa.  It is not one look and *swoon* I am in love.  It is a real relationship, with real conversations and real romance.  These are both real characters and the emotions and actions that take place are also real.  Nobody is perfect and mistakes are made but it is how you overcome those mistakes that matter.

There are a lot of great side characters also.  Drew who is Josh's best friend was really enjoyable.  At first I wasn't sure what I was going to think about him but as you get to know him the more you love him.  Cole is a guy at school that Josh once helped when he was being bullied and that Nastya gets to know a bit more.  Cole is an artist and finds Nastya to be the perfect model so he is always drawing her and getting her to sit for him.  I loved Cole.  He was charming and funny.

Well from starting this review with not knowing how I was going to get across how much I loved it I hope that I did an okay job.  I started my book blog and writing reviews because I love nothing more than sharing my love of books and hopefully highlighting the special ones enough to get even one person to read it so that they can share in that love also.  If you are looking for an emotional and heart-warming read then please do not hesitate to get The Sea of Tranquility.  I promise that you will not be disappointed.

“It’s about the dream of second chances,” he says finally.

He hasn’t raised his eyes from the paper on his desk and I feel him looking at me without looking when he uses his grandfather’s words. “The narrator doesn’t respect the beauty of life and the world around her, so it crushes her into the ground and once she’s dead, she realizes everything she took for granted and didn’t see right in front of her while she was alive. She’s begging for another chance to live again so she can appreciate it this time.”

“And does she get that chance?” she asks Josh while I desperately focus on the poster of literary terms on the wall and wait for absolution.

When it comes, I barely hear it.  “She does.”


  1. Yay! I wish I could give this a standing ovation. So, so glad you loved this one.

  2. Good review! I also just finished this book today, it was a very enjoyable and emotional book.
    I am a new follower and I think your bog looks awesome!

  3. I requested it from Netgalley and I haven't started it yet. I'm very happy to see that it's so good!


I would love to hear what you have to say! I read and try to respond to every single comment I receive. Knowing there are people out there reading is what makes this all worth it... : )