March 5, 2015

Thursday Oldie: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Source: Bought paperback
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Original Post: Nov 20, 2013
Age Genre: Young Adult
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.
The Sea of Tranquility is a powerful, heartbreaking, painful story about two broken individuals who find solace in one another. It was definitely one of the more unique and emotional books I've read last year... but I don't regret it for a second.
"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 away 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."
The Sea of Tranquility took me by surprise. It had a completely different and unique feel than anything I've read so far. Love is not treated in it like in most books, with vows of undying emotion and grand gestures. It's understated, it grows over time, it sneaks up on both participants, it moves slowly but surely. It's told through actions, between the lines, rather than outright confessions.

It's the best kind of romance, in my opinion.

I don't think there could ever be any doubt in your heart that Josh and Sunshine (or Nastya, whatever) belong together.
“We're like mysteries to one another. Maybe if I can solve him and he can solve me, we can explain each other. Maybe that's what I need. Someone to explain me.”
They are both irreversibly damaged. Josh has lost everybody he ever lover, and Nastya lost herself. Though you don't actually know what happened to either of them for a long while. In fact, the journey to figuring out both these individuals is piled on shock upon shock. I didn't see all that was coming.

Just like Josh is trying to piece what happened to Nastya, she's trying to figure out why people treat him the way they do. And we're right there together with them, which is what makes the book so incredible.
"Bad things happen all the time; they don't wait until after dinner"
And both of these characters, despite being so inherently broken--or maybe because of it--are captivating. They make you love them. They make you swoon. They make you pray everything will be okay--good, even. Great. They make you love their friends, too, like Drew and Clay.
“I can be your other hand when you need it.”
The only reason this book is not a solid five star is because of how I felt confused and thrown all over the place at the beginning of the book, with all the time jumps back and forth. I had a hard time figuring what came before what, and understanding all that was going on. Wasn't she just walking into the English building? How is it the end of the day--wait, now we're back at shop?
It took time for the book to find a rhythm I could follow. After that, it was damn near perfect.
"Your garage."
The "punchline", so to speak, the very last line of this book, is utter perfection. I didn't see it coming before it was asked, but when he did, the answer was suddenly obvious and I wanted to hug the author for creating such an absolutely right ending for these two.


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