Fall Scavenger Hunt // The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

I had no clue what I would end up rereading for the favorite category. I was going back and forth when I just looked at my shelves one day and picked up The Sea of Tranquility, which I'd read twice before. I believe I first read this the year it came out in 2012. It was interesting to find out after I finished my reread that the author never wrote another book but this was such a captivating read for its time. It's been a while since I've read this so does it hold up all these years later?

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.


This book just takes me back to high school when I used to mainly read books destined to make me cry. Nastya changes her whole look and personality because of what happened to her in the past. There are glimpses of who she was by the kind gestures she makes by baking for others. She's obviously hurting and is looking for a way to avoid her pain but never being able to escape it. I thought her not speaking (selective mutism?) was a great way for readers to get to know her through her thoughts. When she finally does speak it's all that more impactful.

I loved how Josh opened up his heart to Nastya even though he knew she was as fragile as him. Josh and Nastya being outcasts and then just taking care of each other was so sweet. I was happy to read that even though he had only one alive person left in his family Josh still had a support system with his friend's family. The mom clearly treated him as a second son and extended her genuine kindness to Nastya.

I've got to say that the connection at the end was a stroke of genius to add in. It explained why Nastya felt so comfortable around Josh.


I didn't love how Drew (Josh's friend) treated Nastya. Who cares if she is fine with being paraded around as his girlfriend? She doesn't need the damaging words other people are saying about her. I get it that words don't hurt her anymore but his actions put her in danger. And that danger Nastya got in felt like it was brushed off when really they should have gotten to the police.

I didn't like how Josh would sometimes talk about Nastya. At one point he wonders what her deal is and thinks she dresses like a whore. There is no need for all that. I remember when I first read The Sea of Tranquility I was more into getting to know Nastya because Josh wasn't that interesting and he sometimes said things that annoyed me.

I thought the interaction at the end of the story could have been more dramatic. I wanted a little bit more because it's such a shock but there needed to be something that happened right then and there.

Overall Thoughts

This is such a bingeable, fast-paced, and emotional read. I am sure I will read it again despite its flaws. Although I would recommend Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens first before this book.


back to top