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Review: The Sea of Tranquility

August 15, 2013

Title: The Sea of Tranquility
Author: Katja Millay
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Format: eGalley

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.—via Goodreads

This is one of those books that shocks your system a little.

It’s a slow-build in both story pacing and character relationships, but at no point is the book boring or does if feel like it’s going nowhere. Though much of it is fueled by the minutiae of a high schooler’s day, the repetition builds a secure, safe space where you can predict the routine and are rarely surprised.

That’s exactly the kind of life that Nastya needs.

Now, I know you’re thinking, “I need a book that’s entertaining! Exciting! To take me away from the minutiae of my routine!”

I know. I get it. Stay with me.

What’s riveting about this book is the relationship that is built between Nastya, Josh, and Drew. Though Nastya is a girl who is incredibly good at building walls around her true self and keeping people away with a glare, Drew is the only one who refuses to play by her rules, which is something that Nastya comes to respect. But it’s Josh—the boy everyone treats with respect, but whom they also ignore—who catches her attention and who she feels compelled to spend time with. The three strike up a bizarre, but loyal friendship that becomes the cornerstone of Nastya’s life. But it’s not just Nastya who needs Josh and Drew—they need her too.

In the end, The Sea of Tranquility is about redemption, second chances, and learning the meaning of family and how many definitions fit into that six-letter word.

It’s a book that will keep you engaged, and when you’re finished, will creep up in your mind again and again. It’s masterfully plotted and when you read the last sentence your jaw will drop.

In the best possible way.

The Sea of Tranquility

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