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.
Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Atria Books
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Five stars: An emotionally gripping book that will keep you in its clutches long after the final page.
Nastya bores her eyes straight ahead, determined to make it across the lunch courtyard without being bothered. She wishes to remain invisible, despite her slutty attire that screams notice me. She pauses, before her is a handsome boy alone, on a bench with no one around him. How does he manage to get everyone to leave him alone? No matter, she just wants to remain unnoticed. Nastya is trying to make it through her final year of school. She is broken and refuses to speak after a horrific incident three years ago that robbed her of almost everything. Little does she know that the boy in front of her understands a thing or two about heartbreak, and just perhaps they can learn to heal each other.....
What I Liked:
- I admit, I grabbed this book on an impulse for review, but I am certainly glad that I did. I am not the biggest fan of the New Adult genre because far too many of the story lines incorporate the same recipe, boy and girl with a great deal of emotional baggage fall in love and find good in the world again. Yes, this book follows that same formula, but it is one that is special and will stand out amongst the field because it has great characters, tragic history, tremendous and moving writing and just a fabulous story line. This is one of those books that I dare you to read and come back and tell me that it didn’t touch you somehow. This book will work its way into your head and your heart and manage to hang on long after the story is through. This is the type of novel that once you finish, you will want to pick it up and start reading it all over again.
- This story is much like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. You have a boy and a girl who used to have wonderful lives, then something happens and that happiness is shattered into hundreds of pieces. Slowly and painstakingly, you read through the book picking and gleaning to find the answers to your burning questions. Each piece snaps into place and finally at the end you have the whole story and the entire picture. What you find is a heart wrenching story of two young adults who survived incredible heart ache and pain. Through an unexpected friendship, the boy and girl come together and slowly reveal their painful scars. It isn’t easy, just like tearing off a bandaid. The old wounds sting and hurt as if they were fresh. There are many, many stumbles along the way and you wonder if happiness is indeed in the cards for our damaged pair. What I can tell you is that you must read it and find out for yourself. This is one of those incredible journeys you have to experience. It is moving and poignant and it will touch you, and at the end you have a literary masterpiece.
- I loved the characters in this one. Josh and Nastya with their scars and secrets, and then there is Drew. The adorable, spoiled guy who is used to getting everything. He is the big man on campus, the one every girl wants to catch. I thought at first, that I would hate him, but as his layers peel away I found that I actually adored him. I also loved Clay, the shy, gay boy who relies on his art as his outlet to the world. I also liked Drew’s family, especially his mother the way she took Nastya into her home and loved her for who she was despite her appearance and flaws. The characters are terrific!
- This book explores the dark side of man, when you learn the terrifying truth about what happened to Nastya, and then when you find out the motives it is a slap in the face. It is a case of shades of gray, where yes you understand how horrific and monstrous the assault was, but then you see that not everything falls into the good and bad. Yes, the young man’s actions were horrible, but my heart broke just a little for him as well. Again and again throughout the book there are some remarkable revelations that remind you that not everything can be taken at face value.
- I was completely blown away by the writing in this one. It is at times raw and in your face and Ms. Millay makes no apologies for her characters. Nastya is especially snarky and up front with her feelings. She, in a sense, has nothing to live for, and she is bitter and extremely angry. There is plenty of cursing and all of that, but you no what? It works, the extreme mood swings, and all the angst and heartache intermingle with the some amazingly beautiful thoughts on life, love and dying. I can attest that Ms. Millay absolutely astounded me with her talent and I hope she has a long career, I cannot wait to read her next book! If you are fan of gorgeous writing, definitely get this one!
And The Not So Much:
- I have a few minor complaints. As I mentioned, this book takes the well worn formula of two badly broken people coming together and falling in love and healing each other. There is nothing particularly original about the story line, and it is predictable as far as the final outcome, but the beauty in it is that you are left wondering almost the entire read as to what happened to the characters that broke them. Wanting to know, kept me eagerly turning the pages.
- I thought that Josh’s history wasn’t quite as detailed as Nastya. There were so many things glossed over such as the loss of his father and grandfather. I thought that his past could have used just a bit more depth and expansion. I wished for a better understanding on how he became emancipated. Was there not other family left?
- In the beginning, Nastya starts school and leaves her family to live with her aunt. I wanted to know why after three years did she decide to go back to school, especially when it was her senior year? Why would she want to subject herself to the pain of a new school? I wished there had been an explanation as to the how and why she came to live with her aunt.
- Nastya’s aunt becomes her guardian, but she ends up being the absent parental figure that we all complain about so much in the YA and NA genre. Her presence is minimal and for the most part Nastya is on her own. Not a big deal, just an observation.
“He told me a lot of things that night and I remember them all. There was talk of women and unforgivable things, porch sings and redbrick houses and memories that didn’t exist yet.”
“So I didn’t so the normal stuff I was supposed to be doing at fifteen and sixteen. At the age when most kids are trying to figure out who they are, I was busy trying to figure out why I was. I didn’t belong in this world anymore. It’s not that I wanted to be dead, I just felt like I should be.”
“She pulls back and I see the expression in her eyes; the one I have gotten used so used to; the one I have seen a thousand times in the last three years. THe look of a person staring out a window, waiting for someone they know is never coming home.”
“That nothing you do matters. It doesn’t matter if you do everything right, if you dress the right way and act the right way and follow all the rules, because evil will find you anyway. Evil’s resourceful that way.”
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.”