About the book
The Sea of Tranquillity is a Young Adult/ New Adult novel by Katja Millay. It has a release date of 4th June and is published by Atria Books. The Sea of Tranquillity is 448 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy through Netgalley.
Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
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.
What I thought
I think I’m going to find it quite hard to really do this book justice in a review because I loved it completely. However, here goes…
The Sea of Tranquillity is told through a dual narrative of Nastya and Josh, the two main characters of this story. At the beginning of the story, Nastya is just registering for high school, with her aunt explaining to the principle about her special condition. This, however, does not become apparent until she actually starts school. Nastya does not talk. At all. To scare people away from asking questions, she turns up to school in the shortest skirt, highest heels and lowest cut top she can find. Her eyes are rimmed with black eyeliner and even without talking, Nastya has an attitude. Nastya had such a strong narrative voice and I absolutely loved her. At times, she kind of explains little bits about her past and why she is the way she is but never everything, never in detail.
Even though Nastya doesn’t talk, it doesn’t stop her from gaining the attention of Drew, one of the really popular guys at school. He doesn’t ever take no for an answer and when they go to a party together and she gets wasted, Drew drops her off at his friend Josh’s house. Previous to this, Josh and Nastya had a moment in the courtyard, just looking at each other, but they don’t know each other. After Josh looks after her, the pair end up with a very strange kind of relationship. Josh loves to build things and is often found in his garage, making something or other out of wood. Seemingly fascinated, Nastya turns up nearly every night, sitting on the side and watching him work, without a word.
I absolutely loved both Drew and Josh. As the second narrator, we get to know Josh very well. Unlike Nastya, whose problems are kept under wraps, Josh’s life is not such a mystery. Josh is emancipated due to his whole family being dead. He lives on his own and has problems with letting people get too close to him. However, Josh was an absolute sweetheart and he made my heart melt a little bit. Even though he is lovely, Josh still speaks out about certain things and isn’t afraid to call people out on their BS, especially Nastya. It was also interesting to see both the relationship he and Nastya had with Drew and also how they were so different.
I would never have guessed that this was a debut novel. Katja Millay’s writing, and her story, is absolutely stunning. I can’t remember the last time I read such an amazingly beautiful book that I just couldn’t put down. Not only are Millay’s characters so interesting and deep, but the story is addictive. I wanted to know the story behind Nastya and her problems. I loved watching Nastya and Josh trust each other more and more with every passing day. I couldn’t help but love the secondary characters, who are such a big part of this book. There are so many things that I want to say about this book but also don’t want to give away the surprises. Because there are some. A lot actually.
The Sea of Tranquillity has a wonderful pace to it. At 448 pages long, Millay gives us plenty of time to get to know and love her characters. While a large chunk of the book is spent getting to know Josh and Nastya, weaved into these parts are little snippets of information about each of their pasts. At first glances, this book appears to be a story about finding love but it is quite a lot darker than that. The secrets bubbling inside Nastya are absolutely shocking and heart breaking at the same time. When some things were revealed, I cried my eyes out. I couldn’t help it and I could barely stop once I had started.
The Sea of Tranquillity is going to be on my list of favourite books this year and probably for years to come. I read an e-book version of this but I will be buying the paperback to read over and over again!