The Sea of Tranquility by Katya Millay

Summary of Goodreads:

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.

This book came highly recommended by a friend. She re-read it three times in a row. She gets obsessed like that. But I had my doubts because anything romance heavy might not be for me. But her enthusiasm is just contagious and if I am too take anyone's word for it, it'll have to be her because she has read almost everything and anything romance. So I held my breath and started reading.

I usually have one or two characters that irks me. They could either be those that are already done to death, or those which seems over the top or not really genuine enough to feel that such a person, exists. But surprisingly, I liked the characters in this novel. They weren't exactly unique characters but the thing is I believed them. 

I believed in Nastya's want to keep up an image of sorts, anything to cover up who she really is or was. The barely there get-up and the social withdrawal, all for hiding and keeping anyone at arms length. I also found her fascination with names as a nice touch to her personality. I suddenly remembered this little red dictionary of a friend back in high school, that has origin of names in the last few pages and we used to pore over them. Then I was also there during the baby name picking stage of my niece and nephew. So I understand the importance and power of names and I thought it was great how the meaning of the names figured into the story. But it was Nastya's introspection that I looked forward too as I was reading the story. It feels as if it has the right combination of wit and prose. A bit angsty at times, but not too much.  

Josh is the mysterious, macho, brooding guy. But I believed he had the right to be. The Josh chapters weren't as much of a treat as the Nastya ones but I still thought that he is a solid character and has depth and did not in any way took the side lines compared to Nastya. He has his own mystery and story that is just as interesting. Drew, the best friend and the resident I-am-God's-gift-to-women-guy and the happy-go-lucky charmer. But I wasn't quite so put off by him as I thought I would because yet again he reveals that there is something behind that attitude.   

 The story is intriguing. I was encouraged to read on. I had to find out why these kids are the way they are. What happened to them exactly? The dialogues, I admired for it's hilarity in certain parts and the bluntness in other parts. They have great don't-mess-with-me-dialogues. I also give two thumbs up on the romantic development. Not too much cheese, and not too embarrassing for me. :) In fact, I loved a couple of sweet moments in the story. Like the pennies in the fountain scene and the ice cream parlor scene. 

A couple of things did bother me. One, almost all the characters happen to be good looking. Even the grown-ups. (The mothers and The aunt) I've already had my share of YA that have this, so I kind of hoped for something that did not quite call attention to how physically graced almost every one of the characters are. Second, I found that there were a couple of unnecessary drama, about 3/4 along the book. I'm not going to elaborate further to avoid any spoilers. All I can say is that it was something Nastya did and the whole situation felt like it was something just thrown in to add some lover's tension. 

Overall, I found it to be a surprisingly lovely read. It's not really the romance that defines this book but it's how the tale spoke of regret, of being alive and yet dead, and hope that is lost but then ultimately found. 


  1. This book is already available? I have to acquire a copy of this immediately. hahaha!

    Nice review, by the way. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I hope I would, too!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Civilwarland in Bad Decline by George Saunders


George Saunders and an Attempt at Reading More...Hopefully...Maybe