Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chantelle's Review: Sea of Tranquility By Katja Millay

Title: The Sea of Tranquility
Author: Katja Millay
Genre: Young Adult

Goodreads rating: 4.68 out of 5.00 (4, 000+ ratings)
Goodreads link | Book Depository

Full of rage and without a purpose, former pianist Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone discovering her past and to make the boy who took everything from her pay. 

All 17 year-old Josh Bennett wants is to build furniture and be left alone, and everyone allows it because it’s easier to pretend he doesn’t exist. When your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, a hot mess of a girl who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. The more he gets to know her, the more of a mystery she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he may ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding or if he even wants to.
The Sea of Tranquility is a slow-building, character-driven romance about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

Review by Chantelle


        “It’s about the dream of second chances,”

I read this gem back in 2012, and after pondering it for some time now, I still believe that it is one of, if not the most, convincing young adult love story to emerge from 2012.

The Sea of Tranquility was a complete surprise. It was nothing like I expected. From the blurb, I predicted it to be an intense, sobering and depressive story about a young girl's struggle to overcome her past horrors. It's why it stayed on my to-read shelf for so long. And sure, Katja Millay created a scarred character, Nastya Kashnikov, with a regrettable and haunting past; but it doesn't define the story, and that's where I believe, this novel triumphs.

Nastya Kashnikov was a former prodigal child pianist until everything went wrong and she was left with nothing. She had met a boy, and that boy had taken everything. All she was left with, was the thought of revenge.

I hate my left hand. I hate to look at it. I hate it when it stutters and trembles and reminds me that my identity is gone. But I look at it anyway; because it also reminds me that I’m going to find the boy who took everything from me. I’m going to kill the boy who killed me, and when I kill him, I’m going to do it with my left hand.
This isn't a revenge story though. She doesn't train for years in seclusion and become some martial arts assassin. No. This is a story about love.
Haha, you could almost cue Hugh Grant's voiceover, 
"If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around." 

Gosh, I love that movie! But back on track...

Years later at 17 years of age, Nastya is completely different both in appearance and personality; and by that I mean black stilettos, too tight top, caked on makeup, the instantaneous label of 'slut' at her new school, along with the quiet attention of Josh Bennett, and the not-so-quiet attention of Drew Leighton.

“If self-adoration were cologne, he would be the boy you couldn't stand next to without choking.”
Millay's plot is very well placed and insightful. It's angsty, it's powerful, it deals with grief - but the humour (yes there's humour), and the slow-building romance between Nastya and Josh is absolutely perfect, and a little cheesy in all the right places. 

      “Josh isn’t in love with me and I’m not in love with him.”
      “Sell it to someone who’s buying, Sunshine. Have you seen the way he looks at you?” I’ve seen the way he looks at me but I don’t know what it means. “Like you’re a seventeenth-century, hand-carved table in mint condition.”

Oh, Josh has a thing for carpentry. He also has a POV! In fact, Millay regularly alternates between his and Nastya's narratives. And let me tell you, Millay wins a gold medal in writing a realistic, male narrative. It's sweet, but not overly romanticized - he doesn't wax poetic. HALLELUJAH I can take him seriously!

But even though the romance is slow, it doesn't feel drawn out because these are flawed characters, it's only logical. It is certainly a refreshing break from all these New Adult novels where all the heroines are absolutely perfect, and everything is supposedly solved by sex. Yeah, real! Well so long instalove!

So if you've been putting off reading this novel, or simply haven't heard of it, read it ASAP, you won't regret it. This is a must read!

Overall: 9/10
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 4/5


  1. I adore this book. There are not enough stars in the sky for me to rate this one.

    1. Me too! So much love for every character in this book