Saturday, June 29, 2013

Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

The Sea of Tranquility
by Katja Millay
Release Date:  06/04/13 (Original Edition 11/13/12)
Publisher:  Atria Books
Source:  Publisher/NetGalley

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.

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My Thoughts:  Every good thing you have heard or read about this book is 100% true.  It left me emotionally spent, in a good way.  No one really understands what Nastya has been through.  They think they do, but they really don't.  I don't think she even understands herself.  You don't really know what happened to her when the book begins, and don't find out the details until sometime later.   She is no longer the person she used to be.  That girl is gone, dead, and she has replaced her with what she hates the most, or is it what she fears the most?  Irregardless, who she pretends to be, the reason she acts  and does the things she does, are all her her coping mechanisms...the only way she knows how to deal...the only way she knows how to survive.   

Josh Bennett's life has been anything but a bed of roses.  He understands grief, loss, and pain, and is in fact, well acquainted with it.  He keeps to himself and people know better than to bother him, everyone that is except his best friend Drew.  When Nastya shows up at school, it seems as if she and Josh are kindred spirits in a way, even if they don't realize it.  Fate draws them together, and two of the most broken and wounded teens ever, begin their journey through grief to solace.  There are many bumps and boulders in the road, but there is also love, acceptance, and sometimes even joy.  

I completely fell in love with Josh and Nastya.  Katja Millay has written this book in such a way that I felt like a crawled right up in it with my own Harry Potter cloak of invisibility and experienced everything that was going on right along with the characters, totally engrossed and captivated by their world.  They are so broken, so messed up, and their story couldn't have been told any more perfectly.  I was completely sucked in from beginning to end, and the ending caused me to feel like I had an epiphany...a mind blowing one.  It was that amazing, that shocking, that beautiful.  I've had this book for quite a while, and I don't know what took me so long to read it.  It has taken me even longer to process my thoughts and try to put them into words, and I apologize if I sound vague, but I truly believe The Sea of Tranquility is something that you really just have to experience for yourself.  That being said, if you haven't read it yet, your really should. It is so worth it.  It is so very, very good.  If and/or when you do, it is my sincere hope that it touches you as much as it did me.  


“I know at that moment what he's given me and it isn't a chair. It's an invitation, a welcome, the knowledge that I am accepted here. He hasn't given me a place to sit. He's given me a place to belong.” 

“I wished my mother was here tonight, which is stupid, because it’s an impossible wish.” He shrugs and turns to me, drowning the smile that cracks me every time. 
“It’s not stupid to want to see her again.” 
“It wasn’t so much that I wanted to see her again,” he says, looking at me with the depth of more than seventeen years in his eyes. “I wanted her to see you.” 

“Emilia," he says, and when he does, it warms me to my soul. "Every day you save me.” 

“And maybe I'm a liar and I do need it, because being kissed by Josh Bennet is kind of like being saved. It's a promise and a memory of the future and a book of better stories.” 

“What? Sunshine fits you. It's bright and warm and happy. Just. Like. You.” 

“Call me Sunshine again, and I will murder you, cocksucker.” 

“I’m going to walk over to you,” I say, taking one step at a time in her direction like I’m talking down a jumper. “I’m going to put my arms around you and I’m going to hold you,” I pause before taking the last step, “and you’re going to let me.” 

“I don't know how to say it - after all this time, I'm not even sure that I can - but I have to break her last rule, because if she knows nothing else, I need her to know this one thing.  'I love you, Sunshine,' I tell her, before I lose my nerve. 'And I don't give a shit whether you want me to or not.” 

About the Author:  Katja Millay grew up in Florida and graduated with a degree in film & television production from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She has worked as a television producer, and a film studies and screenwriting teacher. Currently she resides in Florida with her family. The Sea of Tranquility is her first book.


  1. This book has been on my TBR for awhile now. I busted my butt to try to win a copy of it but unfortunately did not prevail. I'm HOPING to be able to buy this one soon.

    1. I hope you get to read it soon to. It is so good and I hope you love it as much as I did.

  2. I am so excited that this one lived up to its hype for you!
    Great review!

  3. I am so glad you finally read TSoT, Ellen! Just thinking about that book makes me get teary eyed. Great review!

    1. I know. It is one of those books you won't forget.

  4. I love this " Katja Millay has written this book in such a way that I felt like a crawled right up in it with my own Harry Potter cloak of invisibility and experienced everything that was going on right along with the characters, totally engrossed and captivated by their world." and totally agree and couldn't you just pull quotes from this book all day long..i loved her lyrical style. Awesome review Ellen and agree totally!

    1. Thanks. It's true, there are so many great quotes it is hard to choose. I loved her style to.

  5. This book is not something that would usually draw my attention, but I keep hearing so many good things about it that it makes me want to read it! This is yet another beautifully written, eloquent review that makes me so very curious about this book that has everyone so excited.

  6. This is the best contemporary I have read in a long while! I loved it and agree with everything you mentioned, the quotes you shared are wonderful.

    A fabulous review Ellen! :-)

  7. I adored this one and am glad it has such a huge fan following, but it isn't perfect. It was slow and the slut shaming was definitely an issue, but the overall message of this book and the emotional journey it took me through was remarkable. Lovely review.

    Rowena Hailey (Ptarmigan Hunting Alaska)

  8. OMG, this book! I can’t even think about doing a review for it yet. I just loved everything about it especially how it sneaked up on me. And that was the most perfect book ending ever!


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