Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Review: The Sea Of Tranquility by Katja Millay

The Sea of Tranquility
Goodreads Summary: 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.
Goodreads / Barnes and Noble

Genre: New Adult, contemporary
Pages: 448
Publisher: Atria Books
How I Got It: Library

First Line: "Dying really isn't so bad after you've done it once."

Favorite Quote: "It amazes me how people are afraid of what can happen in the dark, but they don't give a second thought about their safety during the day, as if the sun offers some sort of ultimate protection from all the evil of the world. It doesn't. Bad things happen all the time; they don't wait until after dinner."


So far, I haven't had a whole lot of luck with New Adult books. They seem to have the same basic plot, the same drama, and the same type of characters most of time. But still, sometimes I decide to read one because it sounds interesting. The Sea Of Tranquility is a good example of this, because it was just a book I put on hold at the library kind of absentmindedly, not exactly sure if I would read it or not. But when I finally did get it, I saw mostly amazing reviews and I became much more excited to start it. And once I did, there was no stopping me. At first the cover confused me a little, because the white stuff running down the middle looked like white paint, and that didn't really make any sense after I finished. Sure, the characters were artsy, but not in a painting kind of way. Upon further inspection, however, I realized the white stuff was ice cream, which actually works much better with the plot.

There was something very intense about this novel right from the start. I could feel the urgency in the writing and I could feel the depth of the emotion from both Nastya and Josh. Both of them have undergone a lot of trauma at a young age, so it was understandable that they were both pretty down a lot of the time. Millay does an excellent job of keeping you interesting by dangling little bits of information about what really happened to Nastya throughout. Of course there's the information we already know about in the summary, but that's definitely not the whole story. Little clues are placed here and there for the reader to pick up on, and I really enjoyed the slow reveal of information. Though I did get a little frustrated with Nastya occasionally - this is the second book I've read with a mute narrator (the other being Speechless), and eventually I just wanted to make her talk to everyone, to open up about her situation. I felt very bad for her family, as they had never done anything wrong and yet were treated horribly.

The plot moves along really well, and what's interesting is that there isn't a whole lot going on besides the internal conflict for most of the book. The Sea Of Tranquility is most definitely a character-driven novel, so if you don't like that type of thing, I'd steer clear of this one. I found it very strange how immersed I was in what was going on despite the fact that most of the time it was just the two characters talking. Now, I'm not saying that nothing ever does happen (because let's face it, that would be incredibly boring), but it it's almost always focusing on healing and pain and such. Nastya coped with her problem by running and not speaking - but at least she didn't turn to things that could have been much more destructive.

I really liked the romance between Josh and Nastya. Both of their POVs were cool to read, and I didn't feel like their ways of thinking blended together too much. They just gradually started to drift together as time went by. It was nice that they were friends for such a long time first, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't impatient for them to just kiss already when I hit the halfway mark. Josh seemed so human and down to earth - he made a lot of mistakes (especially that big one towards the end), but I just wanted to hug him. I also really appreciated the fact that, though the two of them were in love, just because they were didn't mean that everything was sunshine and roses. At the end of the day, they still have a lot of issues to deal with. They comforted each other, but overall I found it very realistic. I was also very surprised that my feelings for Drew, Josh's best friend, shift quite a bit as I read. At first, I was bound and determined to dislike him. But he has a lot of character development throughout, and by the end I was rooting for him to be happy.

The ending was about what I expected it to be. I was happy with the decisions Nastya made after her day in the museum, and it left me smiling. The Sea of Tranquility is a beautiful debut that I would gladly recommend to anyone, and I'm excited to read whatever this author decides to publish next.

4.5 stars 

Books in this series:

Other Opinions:

The Midnight Garden
Respiring Thoughts
Lovin' Los Libros


  1. Great review! I really liked this one, especially the romance. I agree with you about the cover. For a long time I thought it was a spinal column (I don't know what I was thinking). I love the idea of melted ice cream, but I hate that you have to read the story to get the reference.

  2. Thanks! I actually really like symbols on covers most of the time - I feel special knowing what it means when other people don't (is that weird?). :D Thanks for stopping by.