Publishing Info: November 13, 2012 by Simon & Schuster
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: November 30, 2012
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.
Wow. Just wow. I don’t even know how to start a review for this book because it totally blew me away. Before I first started, I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into and I was a little unsure about the book. Yeah, that was totally wrong. I started reading and was immediately intrigued by Nastya’s story. She’s starting a new school in a new city with her aunt after what we know has been a tragic incident for her, but it takes Natsya a while to reveal to reader exactly what that was. I liked that we weren’t given the whole story right away because I was so curious to see what had happened to her, what had caused her to shut down, what had taken all the joy out of her life.
The character development is amazing. If I didn’t know this was a work of fiction, I would have believed that these were real stories of real people. The amount of emotion that you feel from them is incredible and everything about the book just felt so real. As their hearts were breaking, my heart broke too. When they felt joy, I was excited for them! It was so great to see these characters evolve over the length of the novel and to really see how their interactions affected the course of their decisions and at the same time, how they struggled to prevent those feelings from affecting their decisions.
The relationship that develops between Nastya and Josh just felt like it flowed so naturally. I guess normally you wouldn’t expect two people so affected by tragedy to be the ideal people to fall in love, but then again, it makes perfect sense. They have an understanding right off the bat and when Nastya needs someone who won’t ask questions, Josh is the perfect person to spend her time with because he’s tired of questions himself. I loved that you could see the trust building between them, the relationship slowly developing instead of jumping into things all at once. It made me fall in love with the characters as they were falling in love with each other.
Really, I could go on and on about what I loved about this book, but I don’t feel like talking about it will do it justice, in all honesty. It’s an experience that each reader needs to go through, to feel all the emotions as they figure out the book for themselves. I’d honestly recommend it to anyone (and I’ve already tried to force a few of my friends to stop reading what they’re in the middle of to get a copy of this book and read it). It’s quite the emotional roller coaster and there are some really painfully realistic scenes that the reader witnesses, but it’s such an amazing journey. THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY is something that you need to feel your way through, and you will do just that. So go read it!
Nastya/Sunshine/Emilia: Wow. I absolutely loved her character. She’s been incredibly wronged for no logical reason, stripped of her talent — what’s made her the person that she was — and that one incident really look away her whole life. There’s a storm raging inside her at all times yet she chooses to keep in all in, refusing to talk to anyone, only releasing those emotions into notebooks. Her strengths are her biggest weaknesses and my heart broke for her over and over again throughout the book. She felt like such an incredibly real person that sometimes it was so hard to pull myself out of the book. I absolutely loved how she grew throughout the novel (and I can’t really say much about the end because it’s something you have to figure out as you read) and finally starts to allow people to help her. Not like I’ve experienced a tragedy like that, but Katja Millay does a fantastic job of intensifying so many emotions that I’ve felt at my lowest lows and I just felt them all.
Josh: Oh, Josh. Poor Josh. I can’t imagine what it would be like to slowly lose your family, everyone leaving around you. I was actually quite impressed with how much he maintained a level head (I mean, as best you can when you’re 17 and all of your family has died), but at the same time, he still has a giant hole in his heart that makes him the perfect person to relate to Nastya. He’s quite flawed as well, but in a way that any of us can relate to. I’d say if I was in his position, I might react the exact same way to these situations. My heart went out to him as he went through quite a few hard times himself, dealing with it the best a teenager can.
Drew: I think Drew was one of my favorite characters and it was totally unexpected. I wouldn’t necessarily say that Drew changed a lot, but what did change was the light I saw him in. Up front, he’s a ladies’ man. He has a reputation of “lady slayer” to protect and we come to find out that that’s all it is — a reputation. Now, of course it’s based on the way he once was, but Drew has a lot more substance than a stupid womanizer (and THANK YOU for not making him a football player!!! You have no idea how sick I am of that stereotype). I loved Drew and how much he was a part of the story and not just some supporting character.
Ohhh my gosh, I loved this book. It was so moving, so emotional, so deep. I was just totally hooked from start to finish!