Review – The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Posted March 28, 2014 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in All-Time Favorites, Reviews / 9 Comments

Author: Katja Millay
Release Date: 2012
Pages: 448
Goodreads Rating: 4.48 Stars
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
My Content Rating: Mature YA (Sex shown, but not explicit; Violence described, but again, not explicitly)
Summary from 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.


I won a copy of this book not too long ago and was eager to read it because I’d heard so many good things.  Well, it definitely lived up to my expectations!

The Sea of Tranquility is going to be hard to review because I just don’t want to say too much about anything and give any of the amazingness away.  Suffice it to say, that this was a SPECTACULAR read – heartbreaking and poignant and also incredibly sweet and hopeful.  Really, you want to read this book.  Now.
The negatives:
  • Minor details.  Honestly, the only things I can even think of to list as negatives for this book are really minor details.  There is one point where I was a bit frustrated with a decision that Nastya made and a couple of points where I thought a secret had been kept unfairly by switching perspectives before we saw a certain person’s POV, but these are tiny, minor details and I really almost don’t even want to mention them!
What I loved:
  • The writing.  Just read the first part of the synopsis above and you’ll see the beauty of Millay’s writing.  She just expresses things in such a real and yet poetic way.  All of Nastya’s emotions are bared for us (and Josh’s too!), and their thoughts and feelings are often beautiful and poignant, without ever seeming overblown.
  • The mysteries.  Almost from the very beginning of this book, there are surprises.  I was immediately intrigued – pulled into the story.  When the first mystery was revealed, I was floored – I had to go back and re-read a few things because I was just so surprised – and yet, I shouldn’t have been.  It was there, but cleverly disguised.  Now, don’t get me wrong – the mystery wasn’t there for shock value or anything like that.  In fact, Millay did an amazing job of weaving together an intensely intriguing book without resorting to gimmicks or plot devices.  The mysteries that were revealed throughout the book were highly emotionally impactful – which brings me to my next point …
  • The emotional impact.  This book touched me in so many ways.  I felt an incredible array of emotions while reading this – I was in swept off my feet, sometimes amused, sometimes heartbroken, intrigued, concerned, in love, hopeful, frustrated or amazed, occasionally even angry or confused.  I love it when a book can make me feel so many amazingly disparate emotions.  This story kept me awake thinking about it long after I put the book down – the sign of a truly amazing book!
  • The characters.  Millay has written a complex story about broken people who connect in a way that is truly special and unique.  These characters are messy and real and absolutely perfect for each other (all of them – not even just Nastya and Josh).  Nastya and Josh are amazing together – I couldn’t get enough of them long before they had even developed any feelings for each other.  And the other characters in the book aren’t left as two-dimensional scenery.  Drew and his family are perfect in their imperfections (LOVE the family dinners) and the scenes with Nastya’s family are painful and yet real and sometimes hopeful.  You can’t help but feel drawn to these people – to feel like you want to know them.  While this book was definitely a standalone, I can’t help but wish I could visit these characters again – I miss them!
I don’t know what else to say about this book except that you should read it.  I was surprised to see that it was released at the end of 2012 – I had no idea what I was missing out on for the past year!  5/5 stars.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
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9 responses to “Review – The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

  1. I loved this book too. It was just . . . GAH amazing. And the characters were my favorite part. I love how Millay was able to capture their quirks, like Nastya cutting out names for her wall, etc. It was incredible to me how such a heartbreaking book could still manage to be so darn funny. Everytime Drew called Nastya “nasty pants” and all of her snarky little thoughts–LOVED it. Glad you did too 😉 Great review!

  2. I was approved for an Arc through Netgalley. For a few months, I kept looking at the cover on my list, and thinking… I need to get to that one. When I finally did, I thought to myself… why did I wait SO LONG to read this??? Glad you loved it. It was an easy 5 star for me too. An amazing story with fantastic characters. The last line of that book gave me shivers…


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