The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Standalone. Atria Books (Nov. 2012) Library
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.

Nastya walks into her new school wearing everything black, stiletto shoes, black eye shadow, and a tight dress. She gets away with it because there is something about her that all the teachers know. She doesn't speak. Not a single word. Josh has a force field around him. No one messes with him and he gets to do what he wants in shop class. A momentary glance has both of these two lives intertwining. Their walls start to break down, but is it enough to repair their damaged hearts?

Apparently I wanted a book to rip me open and tear me apart. I knew The Sea of Tranquility was going to be sad but I read it anyway because I like to torture myself. Nastya is a mystery for sure. She dresses a certain way so people will stay away from her. Something happened to her that broke her. She no longer lives with her parents and brother. She would no longer speak so she moved in with her aunt Margot. She's pretty much alone all the time just like Josh. Josh doesn't have anyone either. He does have his Sunday dinners with his friend and their family but it isn't the same. Drew, his friend, is actually the one who really got the ball rolling for Nastya and Drew's relationship together which is so comfortable even if Nastya won't ever tell Josh her secrets. Drew is a charmer and a player but Nastya sees through all of this. She's simply amused by him while she doesn't know what to feel for Josh other than curiosity.

My favorite times were when Josh and Nastya were in Josh's garage. Josh is an excellent carpenter. I always like when stories showcase a character's passion and skills. Josh felt at ease in his garage and Nastya picked up on that. Josh is the brooding, don't mess with me type. Nastya is the tough, don't mess with me type. They are so similar that they get along with each other so well. This was one of my favorite relationships and favorite books this year. When I read what happened to Nastya, I wasn't prepared. There were some really nice moments in this story but it was all encompassed with an underling sorrowful feeling. I felt all of it and enjoyed each and every page.

The Sea of Tranquility shows how evil the world can be but also how wonderful if you let the right people in.


  1. I absolutely loved this book! I am not normally a fan of sad books, but Sea of Tranquility was too beautiful to ignore. All of my feelings were going at once, and I loved it. Also, I really enjoyed watching Nastya and Josh transform throughout the novel. Their relationship was so slow-burning and deep.
    Your review reminded me how much I loved this story. A re-read might be in order soon.


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