Book: The Sea of Tranquility
Author: Katja Millay
Published: November 13, 2012
ebook, 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.
The Sea of Tranquility has been my favorite book of 2013 so far. It’s one of those books that I immediately wanted to re-read after I finished (so I bought the audiobook…). Luckily, I selected it for my first book club, so I got to discuss with some of my San Fran girlfriends over gourmet pizza and wine (there were cupcakes, too….. are you jealous?) I’ve been putting this review off, because I’m not sure how to begin. If you like contemporary new adult fiction, you will love this book.
The Sea of Tranquility had all of the makings for a typical new adult novel. A troubled young girl, set in her self destructive ways. A young boy who comes into her life and changes her (and his) perception on life, love and everything in between. There was no insta-love connection between the two of them. In fact, they were both content being invisible in school. We got to hear from both Nastya and Josh, so we know what their back story was. Since I was a psychological major, I really enjoyed getting to take a look at where their heads were at.
Our poor Nastya 😦 We know bits and pieces of Nastya’s shattered life. She was on her way to being a premiere pianist, and after a brutal attack, she was never the same. Being a prodigy was her identity, and when that was taken away from her, she hated her life. She hated everything. She thought she deserved to be the freak that girls would sneer at and the skank that men would come on to. Nastya cracked me up – she would throw in snarky and hilarious comments from time to time that continued to keep those who knew her on their toes.
And Josh… he’s such a different kind of main character. His life is too sad to even imagine. Being a high school senior with every one of your family member’s, dying. Instead of being instantly attracted to Nastya, he doesn’t want anything to do with her. Sure, he feels bad for her and he notices that she stands out, but he just wants to continue his life in solitude. While Josh showed some of the elitist behavior (like he thought he was above most people in high school), I would imagine that his feelings are validated. How could someone who has lost so much felt like they could connect with his peers when they talked about girls or sports?
The slow love story between Nastya and Josh warmed my heart. At times it did get too cheesey, but I can forgive that. I had several a-ha moments, times when I laughed out loud, cried, and also, I would have loved to have yelled at the characters.
Drew (and his family) was one of my favorite parts in TSOT. His character offered us some of the more unexpected moments, and I appreciated that. He sort of seemed like a typical side kick character, but he gave me some laughs and had some complexities that were interesting to learn about.
Word to the wise: READ THIS BOOK (if you like NA). And that ending….I fucking love it.