Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Title: The Sea of Tranquility
Author: Katja Millay
Pages: 352
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: June 4, 2013
'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.

All Josh Bennett wants is to be left alone, and everyone allows it because they all know his story: each person he loved was taken from his life until at seventeen years old there was no one left. When your name is synonymous with death, people tend to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, a new girl in town who 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 a mystery 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.

My Thoughts: That last line. Wow. It has taken me a couple of days to process, but it's finally hit me how mind-blowing the revelation at the end was. Want to know my initial reaction to the last line? It went something like, 'Are you lying? Don't mess around like that.' I seriously did not believe it. My mind couldn't comprehend it fast enough. I just couldn't believe the ending could be that perfect! When I think back to everything that happened in the book, I'm left feeling stunned. Because it makes complete sense. The answer was always there. If you haven't read this book, you're probably confused and wondering what I'm talking about. You'll understand when you read it. You might even make the connection before you get to the end. But hopefully along the way, you'll fall in love with this novel too.

There's a reason why The Sea of Tranquility has been receiving so much praise. And it's all greatly deserved praise too. I can't even say there's one reason why I loved it. There's many reasons. It was such a moving and inspiring read. It had everything I always want to find in a novel: brilliant storytelling, wonderful and refreshing characters, and relationships that were developed gradually and perfectly. It filled me with all kinds of emotions, ranging from frustration and anger and sadness to happiness and joy and love, and left me feeling content and hopeful. This is a book I know I will still think about weeks and months to come.

The story is told from the perspectives of Nastya Kashnikov and Josh Bennett. Nastya and Josh are some of the most sympathetic characters I've read about. I adored them both dearly. I wanted to comfort them and make everything right for them. I wanted them to find happiness. Their journey wasn't an easy one though. I remember getting so frustrated with how things were playing out and then so sadden with some of the things that were revealed. But experiencing all those emotions was worth it. And I completely loved how the relationship between Nastya and Josh transformed throughout the novel. There was no insta-love. In fact, they pretty much disliked each other when they first met. For some reason, though, they couldn't stay away. They found solace with each other, and it was such a beautiful thing to witness.

Sometimes when a book becomes a favorite of mine, I usually find it really hard to express how I feel about it because I don't even know where to start. I just want to talk about everything! Basically, The Sea of Tranquility was an amazing and emotional read for me. It was a powerful debut by the author Katja Millay, and I will definitely be reading her next novels. The story continued to get better and better as the story progressed, the development of the characters and relationships was never rushed, and the ending gave me a sense of hope. It was perfect, and I can't recommend it enough.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


  1. Great review! I had trouble with my review as well because I just wanted to be like, EVERYTHING WAS AMAAAAAAAZING. You know, like that. I just wish I could make everyone read this, and I am so glad that you loved it too!

    1. lol I had to stop myself from saying amazing and awesome too many times. XD I wish everyone who read it loved it as well.

  2. This book is every bit as perfect in my opinion. I pretty much had the same reaction as you: gobsmacked by how awesome and perfect it was. Great review, Alexa.

    1. Thanks, Joy! I really need to read this again, take my time and savor it. :')

  3. Now you've made me super curious just what that last line is!
    I accidentally requested this one from NetGalley (meaning I clicked it..then immediately scrambled to find a cancel button to no avail. >_<) I am scared of contemporaries lately...save me!

    I am glad to hear you liked it, maybe I will actually read it! (and have ALL THE FEELS!) and get over my fear of contemporaries.

    Thanks for the review, Alexa!
    Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

    1. Oh no! Don't be scared of contemps. Some are really amazing! Like this book. :D
      Thanks for the comment! Hope you enjoy this book, if you ever decide to read it. :)

  4. I agree. This book left me nearly speechless. I loved it. I hope to one day be able to express with my written words what Ms. Millay has done with The Sea of Tranquility!