Saturday, May 10, 2014

Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay - Empress DJ

The Sea of Tranquility

Title:  The Sea of Tranquility

Author: Katja Millay

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, 


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.

My Rating:   

5 Less than Tranquil Stars

Favorite Quotes:

 "He's the kind of good-looking that transforms once self-respecting females into useless puddles of dumbass."

"A matching set, I think.  Panty-Combusting Ken comes complete with Piqued Princess Barbie: unachievable measurements, designer purse and annoyed scowl included!"

"He smiles, and I can't deny that he knows he's good-looking.  If self-adoration were cologne, he would be the boy you couldn't stand next to without choking." 

"I doubt taking in a sullen, bitter, teenage girl with more issues than National Geographic is at the center of the vision board for a single woman in her early thirties."

My Review:

 While I loved it - this book nearly wrecked me!  All the while I was reading it, I had no clue what was coming next or how it would end.  Our main characters are both damaged goods, and though young and in high school - old beyond their years from trauma or grief.  We learn Nastya's story slowly in dribs and drabs, as she is the most damaged, full of secrets, and not talking.  I mean, really, she is not talking, as she is selectively mute.  We learn Josh's story early on and know that he is shut down and alone at the age of 17, as his family is dead.  He started losing them at the tender age of eight, one at a time, by accident or illness.  He is now the only one left and living on his own.  Our Nastya and Josh don't want to be connected to anyone or anything, and although they want to resist their connection and say they don't want a relationship - they do find each other comfortable and each silently conclude that what they have is better than being alone. 

All the characters in the book were interesting, well fleshed out, and full of quirks, emotional depth, unique talents, personal pain, and smart mouths.  I loved and delighted in each and every one of them!  Yet I found I was anxious while reading the story.  I had a hard time putting my trusty tablet down and suffered several book hangovers with the accompanying sluggish and irritable days.  Near midnight while merely 15 pages from the end - I took a ragged breath and had to stop - I actually had to force myself to quickly shut down my tablet for the night while the story was still incomplete.  I was near despair, as it seemed too far from wrapping up into a happy ending for that to be possible, and I was afraid to finish it for fear of being totally devastated.  No spoilers here, but I will say I was relieved by the ending, although I still wanted more… but then I always do when reading a good book.  I was stunned to learn that this is the author's first novel - as it was perfection, flawless, and had me in knots.  I hope she is working on something new, I want more… I am greedy like that ;)

Empress DJ

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