"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.
Published by: Katja Millay (September 5, 2012), Atria Books (ebook November 13, 2012...paperback June 2, 2013)
Genre: YA contemporary romance (mature)
My rating for The Sea of Tranquility:
***I won the paperback of The Sea of Tranquility on Goodreads in June, so I'd like thank Hillary Tisman from Atria Books for sending me this beautiful copy! Disclaimer: All these words are my own thoughts and opinions, and I have not been compensated in any other way for this review.
This is one of those books that I've been meaning to take the time to write a well thought-out review, but whenever the mere thought of writing it comes to mind, I go blank. I don't even know if I'm going to end up writing anything past this sentence here because I pretty much just want to say, "I have no words for this novel other than 'you need to read it for yourself.'" But here goes nothing. (Definitely a possibility.)
The writing style is one of my favorites. I love the way Katja Millay writes TSoT, dropping hints as to what the main conflict is throughout the novel. I love the slow build of Nastya first encountering Josh Bennett, to seeing each other at school, to a questionable non-friendship, and on. The little by little is done so well, giving me just enough to entertain me and then having me want more. When I write, I try to channel Katja Millay; I just love how this book was written.
And the moments Nastya and Josh had! Every one was special! If I had read this story on my kindle instead of in my precious precious paperback that I won from Atria (THANK YOU!! You have NO idea how much this story means to me!) then I would have highlighted, noted, or, bookmarked every moment Nastya and Josh shared. I'm so appreciative that they got to know each other slowly, unlike so many other romance novels these days where the characters are all over each other in a heartbeat. There was a mystery to both characters that made each other curious but hesitant and it set the perfect pace. And Nastya & Josh together? GOLD.
I love the subject matter. I've learned that I LOVE books that evoke all the emotions out of me and fill me back up in one swoop! Without giving anything away, this story intense/difficult material played with my emotions. (Note: I always struggle with verb tense in reviews because I DID _______ as I was reading the book, but I STILL love, hate, etc now..So please pardon my verb tense.) Along with intense/difficult subjects, the characters dealing with them typically go through a huge change, typically for the better, and that is what I LIVE for when I read a book. I don't care if the character is a bitch or slut or is whiny or naive throughout most of the book, because as long as something sparks a positive change in the heroine/hero and there is learning and growth on their part, I love the character; and wow did I love Nastya and Emilia. ;)
I really connected with Nastya on one level: that one event changed her whole life and she could no longer physically do something that she loved with all her being. I know what that feels like because received a sports injury that caused me to quit all the sports I loved, left me with years of pain, and it's something that I will never fully recover from... I empathized with Nastya to the point where I started crying at one point. I know how she feels. Also, another small, lighter thing I love about Nastya is that she loves names. Being a name freak myself, it felt like I was meeting one of my long lost sisters. I supposed Katja loves names herself, so that's awesome!
I love both covers for this book too! Both covers portray significant scenes of the story...they warm my heart. :) I really don't know what else to say other than I love this book so much. When it was over, my heart ached more than I thought it ever could on behalf of a fictional piece of work. It's just.. THOSE WORDS. Those two. simplistic. words. They did me in. That was just one instance where this book evoked everything I had from my body and filled my heart right back up. <3 Those words make me cry just thinking about them.