Sea of Tranquility ~ Katja Millay

  • Title: Sea of Tranquility
  • Author: Katja Millay
  • Genre: YA
  • Format: Kindle
  • Source: Purchased
  • Reviewed by: Mark Matthews
  • Rating: 5 out of 5

Description:  “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

Review:  GREAT BOOK!

Characters were multi-dimensional. The prose was fluid, the dialogue witty, the surprises sprinkled in perfect moments along the way. The author never mentions a gun without firing it brilliantly down the line. ( Chekhov’s Gun: “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off.”)

All the guns go off blazing in this book, down to the last word. A character who doesn’t speak, but you don’t need her too because you want to stay trapped in her thoughts. The trauma she experienced is slowly revealed to the reader, and explains her behavior in high school. Her relationships are real, and she may be the only high schooler in the world who earns the “It’s Complicated” status on her facebook page. (the story does not say this, that’s me.)  As she notes, “People who have never been through any sort of shit always assume that they know how you should react to having your life destroyed.” 

As a runner, I loved the instances of  where running provides her some relief and some insight. It is when she runs that she meets perhaps the most important person in her life, and when she runs, she can strip down all the makeup and be close to her real self. My kindle was highlighted with some running passages:

“The first night I ever ran, I ended up throwing up all over my shoes. It was one of the best nights of my life.”
“…giddy with the thought of running out the past few days, pounding my aggression into the sidewalk”
“I want to tear down the road until I can’t breathe, until there is not enough oxygen left in the world to keep me from suffocating.”
 “…I have to run. It’s the only thing that keeps the frayed edges of my sanity intact.” 
 “..the running helps. It gives me something, or maybe more accurately, it takes something away. I don’t care. I know I depend on it too much but it’s one of the only things I can depend on. Exercise, notebooks, hate. The things that do not let me down… My mind has learned what to expect from the night I run in.” 
Despite some ‘soap-opery’ moments, (perhaps common to YA, of which I am not a regular reader) there’s no way I can give this less than 5 stars and two thumbs up and a recomendation and support and tell two friends and so on and so on…
In my never developed but should have been developed list of books that made me cry, this book would be in the top three. Yeah, I cried most of the last 10% of this one. Then again, I also cry everytime I finish a marathon.
Read it and weep.

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