The Sea Of Tranquility by Katja Millay

I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shape shifters, 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.

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.


Nastya is a broken shell of a young woman, but to what extent, no one really knows. Nastya is a mute, a self imposed decision not to speak. Occurring after an incident which turned the once happy child prodigy, into an angry young woman. She self loathes and dresses provocatively, so when it comes time to start her senior year at a new school, she wants nothing more to blend into the shadows, keep her peers at a distance, and never speak a word.

Labelled the new freak by giggling girls and fending off sexual suggestions by drooling guys, Nastya settles into school easily. Her feelings aren't hurt by the name calling, she doesn't seem to feel much these days. So when Drew walks into her life, with his panty dropping grin, it's the most entertainment she's seen in years. They communicate through raised eyebrows and varying facial expressions.

Then there's him. Josh Bennett is a force of nature, everyone seems to leave him be. No one questions him, no one stares for too long, he commands authority, and strangely, everyone respects or without question. He's attractive, with broad shoulders and calloused work hands, Nastya finds herself steeling glances at Josh. Josh waits until she looks away to do the same.

As the two strike up a silent friendship, Nastya finds her voice. She talks with Josh, visiting his garage workshop everynight. Josh lives alone, with no family to speak of, and the two settle into a blissful domestic partnership of sorts. Nastya keeps him at arms length, she can't tell him why she has scars over her body, or why she can't use her hand. Why she runs until she's physically ill, or bakes herself into a sugar coma. Most importantly, she can't tell him why that day haunts her or about the boy who stole her life from her.

Or that her real name is not Nastya.

The Sea of Tranquility is slow to begin, Nastya comes across as an aggressive, self destructive girl who has allowed herself to become a victim through a horrible random attack. She doesn't want to be noticed, but her attire alone screams that she needs help and wants attention. The only friends she seems to be able to make are with males, which seems slightly strange, considering what she had been through.

Overall, it was well written, and not one of the normal light, fluffy teen reads. My only issue was that I couldn't connect with any of the characters. They came across as cliches, the brooding boy, the broken girl, the man whore and the token gay friend. Josh's character should be the one who is disgruntled and angry, he can't change his circumstances, but allows himself to slowly heal. Nastya, although traumatic and horrific, is self destructive and buries herself within this facade. We see glimpses of the girl she once was, but it's frustrating and I couldn't connect to her character at all.

Another book that really needed an epilogue to feel complete.

The Sea Of Tranquility
Written By Katja Millay
Published: 13 / 11 / 2012
448 Pages

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