Sunday, March 3, 2013

Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Firstly, thanks to Atria Books for this NetGalley <3

The Sea of Tranquility

Date Read: February 6 – 22 2013
Release Date: June 4th 2013
Publisher: Atria Books
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 

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.”


“I don’t want you to save me and I can’t save you.”

The opening line of the synopsis caught my eye immediately and if that wasn’t enough to convince me to read The Sea of Tranquility, the immense number of raving reviews did. TSoT was painful in the most beautiful way (yes I know I’m a masochist) and I loved the characters so much.

When we first meet Nastya she seems like one of those rebel goth teens who hates anything and everything around them. And that’s definitely how the world sees her. But what goes on inside her head is another story altogether. From the beginning we’re made to understand that something destroyed Nastya and that’s the way she is now, the way she thinks now – and she’s intent on destroying the person who did that to her. I absolutely loved her “voice” (she actually chooses not to speak to people because of reasons), she’s so cynical and sarcastic with everything she takes in of the world – and mark my words is she observant! As the story unfolded and her interactions with students from her new school increased, her past slowly came to light and there became even more grounds for her paranoid and untrusting nature.

“Dying really isn’t so bad after you’ve done it once. And I have. I’m not afraid of death anymore. I’m afraid of everything else.”

Then there’s Josh who’s had everything ripped away from him and refuses to love because hey, what’s the point when everybody he’s ever loved has been taken away? He takes solace in his carpentry and woodwork and has nearly no friends. But when Nastya steps into the picture, he can’t help but be intrigued by this speechless girl who just happens to barge in on his space. He’s nearly as cynical as Nastya and just as sarcastic. Reading from his point of view was really eye opening as it showed just how cryptic Nastya was and how the outside world saw her – unreadable, confusing and stoic.

“I believe in God, Sunshine. I’ve always believe that God exists… I just know that he hates me.”

I absolutely loved the dynamics between Josh and Nastya. And I’m not even talking about the romance. It was the way they practically crashed into each other’s lives and through their light-hearted banter (or lack thereof), managed to bare their souls to one another. There were so many questions, so much that was demanding to be understood but they were both so damaged they didn’t know how to go about resolving this. Now the romance? Woah there was so much sexual tension between the two! I’m so glad there was no insta-love! Their relationship developed slowly, gradually and the best part? Hesitantly. Neither wanted to progress and I think that made it all the more realistic. It may not have been the best romance, but hey it was raw and I felt it. People got hurt but in Nastya’s words, “things suck” and that is life. Also, for all those people who think destructive couples and think of a particular book, don’t worry, there is no co-dependence!

“’You are the only good reason’. I may not be allowed to love her, but that doesn’t mean I’ll let anyone hurt her.”

I love love LOVED the secondary characters. Tierney, Clay, but especially the Leightons! Each of them had their own drama, their own problems that was at times reminiscent of Josh/Nastya’s but it was the way THEY presented themselves to the world to deal, that was so loveable. Millay gave each of them their own unique voice that I sympathised and fell in love with. And sweet Mrs. Leighton who saw so much! Her wisdom was so eye opening but she never interfered – I think she’s like the perfect mum. My favourite supporting character was definitely Drew though. It’s no secret he’s a man-whore and he doesn’t deny it. He always knew when to draw the line and I loved how he didn’t judge. I think I loved him as much as Josh (maybe more?). His character was so real and ohmyGOODNESS so bloody hilarious. His sense of humour and wit added just the right touch to balance out the more depressing issues of the novel. *Hugs this lump of affection*

“‘I’m not sure exactly. Something centering on the importance of the conservation of fabric.’ He looks in my direction, focusing on my clothes, or lack thereof, while he bullshits them.”

“I know what her hair smells like, but I can’t get close enough to her to press my face into it. I know how soft her skin is on every part of her body, but I can’t touch it. I know what she tastes like, but I can’t kiss her.”

My only qualms with TSoT was the pace. The first 75% was progressing a tad too slowly for my liking but then the ending just sort of all rushed at me and everything was happening at once and I was like WOAH what slow down, holy crap my feels *crying*.

I really enjoyed this: the writing was amazing, the characters so IMPERFECT but lovable and overall a great take on two ruined people trying to save each other.

“There’s got to be a better story. Because we deserve one. You deserve one. Even it doesn’t end with you coming back to me.”

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this, Jaz! I've heard nothing but good things about it and I can't wait to get started on it myself. It's coming up for me soon! The romance and character interactions is what I think I'd like the most. I love slow, steady build-ups of deeper feelings. It sounds perfect. :)

    Brilliant review!