Saturday, April 13, 2013

Review: The Sea of Tranquility - Katja Millay

Title: The Sea of Tranquility
AuthorKatja Millay
Published: Nov 13 2102-Atria Books
Format: ebook
Source: Received a copy from the author/publisher in exchange for a honest review

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.
Nuzaifa: Hi everyone! Welcome to our first chat review *fingers crossed*
Okay characters-What did you think of Josh and Nastya?
Rachel: Hmm can I say that I think for me, Josh's situation is very different from Nastya?
Nuzaifa: How so?
Rachel: Every single person in his family was taken away from him at a very young age while for Nastya; we can see that her family was always there for her, never leaving her side.
Nuzaifa: True, although she didn't really appreciate the fact that they were there for her.
Rachel: Yes, that's right. She kept on shutting them down and she didn't even want to talk to them.
Nuzaifa: But Nastya was also super strong 'cause a lesser person would have fallen apart if they had to go through everything that she went through.
Rachel: Speaking of Nastya, what did you think of her when reading the first few pages of the book? 
Nuzaifa: Rude, funny and kinda closed off? She was really snarky and this helped lighten the tone of the book. 
Rachel: Yes, I also thought that about her too, but she was really witty.
She had me at 
"He’s the kind of good-looking that transforms once self-respecting females into useless puddles of dumbass."

Nuzaifa: LOL yes definitely had a kick ass sense of humor! This humor was like her defense mechanism.
Even at the beginning I realized that she was going to be one hell of a complex character! Nastya was flawed and complicated. That didn’t stop me from sympathizing with her. Her pain was deep and raw so reading her thoughts was heart-breaking.
Rachel: Uh huh there is no doubt about that. But going back to the beginning of the story, for me, the pacing of it was kind of slow, and you know, I decided not to read reviews about it, but I had been hearing that it's a really good story.
Nuzaifa: Yes the story DID a take a long time to unravel. I see this as a positive thing because it kept me on the edge. Until the very end I wasn't sure about what exactly haunted her so much!
Rachel: That is so true, I was almost about to give up, but it's good that I decided not to. Because in the end, I knew that there was a purpose as to why Katja Millay decided to unravel things little by little. 
Nuzaifa: And boy Katja's writing is otherworldly for sure. It was so beautiful!
How did you feel about the story being told from both POVs?? 
Rachel: Oh my gosh I am such a big fan of dual POVs! Because in that way, you will know what is going on between the minds of Nastya and Josh, and how similarly they felt towards each other right? 
Nuzaifa: Yes, you begin to understand how much they were able to relate to each other. We got both sides of the story so you aren't left wondering what the other person was thinking/feeling. Both of them were dealing with very different kinds of pain yet they were able to find solace in each other and this was just amazing.
The transition from one POV to the other was smooth. And Josh and Sunshine had two very distinct voices so it was pleasure to read their thoughts. 
Rachel: And that's what made me love their story more! 
Nuzaifa: It helped that Josh was super swoony too I guess! ;) 
Rachel: Josh was the mysterious guy, yet he was so charming in his own ways.
Nuzaifa: Ah yes, despite his 'stay away from me' attitude he opened up to Nastya. And vice versa. 
Rachel: Yup, you can really tell which of the characters were talking even if there were no labels on them. That's because Josh and Nastya are very different from each other, but the thing that is keeping them together, I think, is that they are both broken.
It's the kind of story where you will not see a girl trying to straighten up the guy or vice versa. They both helped each other get up after falling down.
Nuzaifa: Ditto! They didn't try to 'fix' each other instead they made each other stronger by helping each other to come to terms with their own respective situation. Now about Josh's situation-What do you think?
Rachel: I don't know how he managed to survive after going through all of that. He lost his loved ones, and at school, he was like an outcast because they thought he was always mad. They always give him their sympathetic looks but I don't really think their sorry. I mean, yes, it's fine to feel that for someone who lost their loved ones, but really, what can that do to make Josh feel better? 
Nuzaifa: And Josh definitely didn't want their sympathy. 
Rachel: Definitely! He didn't need that. He needed someone to love him, and to make him feel cherished again.
Nuzaifa: .....someone who wouldn't leave him like all the others did.
Rachel: And I guess we all know who that someone is!
Nuzaifa: None other than Josh Bennett’s very own, Sunshine. Such an apt endearment! What did you think of the supporting characters?
Sweet, Sweet Drew *sign* He was the perfect best friend! 
Rachel: Yeees I love his term of endearment!! I wish I can also be someone's Sunshine someday.
Oh Drew! At first, I thought that he was just one typical douchebag out there, but Drew is the living proof that there's more than what meets the eye in each person.
Nuzaifa: Yes at first glance Drew does seem like a typical jock!
Oooh one more thing about Katja's writing was that every time she revealed something about each of the characters she did it in a way that made the reader gasp and wait for the next little revelation.
So your favourite moments?
Rachel: That 'chair moment' – Classic.
"I know at that moment what he's given me and it's not a chair. It's an invitation, a welcome, the knowledge that I am accepted here. He hasn't given me a place to sit. He's given me a place to belong."
What about you?
Nuzaifa: Awww yes the chair! Ladies and Gentlemen here is the proof that Josh Bennett is made of nothing but poor awesome-ness! 
I loved this one-
“When you look at her what do you feel?... Joy, fear, frustration, longing, friendship, anger, need, despair, love, lust?""Yes.""Yes, what?""All of it.”
I feel that that it’s exactly what love should feel like.
Rachel: *leaves to find her own Josh Bennett*
Haha I really want my own Josh right now!
Yes, I feel that too. It should not be all about the happiness. It must also be about the pain and anger.
Nuzaifa: LOL, yes don't we all want a Josh Bennett?
Here's another favourite-
“I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants of 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 and walk.
But Nastya's wrong.
Rachel: Why is she wrong?
Nuzaifa: Neither a shapeshifter nor an angel saved her. But there is magic. Because Josh saved her didn't he?
So final verdict? 
Rachel: I really don't know the exact words to say just to give this story the justice that it deserves but for me, THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY is a very heartbreakingly beautiful story that you shouldn't miss. 
Nuzaifa: The Sea of Tranquility is an intense, hilarious and unforgettable read that leaves you emotionally wrecked yet wanting more. 
Trust me, you'll love this book.

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow to enter the giveaway to win a galley bound copy of The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay!


  1. Love the chat review! Gives a really rounded critique of the book. Already on my to-read list and I'm very excited about it. Delighted you both loved it so much.

    BookishTrish @ Between the Lines

    1. Thanks, Trish! Hope you'd enjoy it. :)

  2. I agree with Trish, the chat review is great! Ooh and it's a book that leaves you emotionally wrecked at the end - sounds like my type of book! I might have to check this out.

    (And can I just say, I just now realized that that's a spilled cup up there and the white is the contents? For some reason whenever I looked at the cover before I just thought it was two faces over a white background. Didn't realize it was created by the puddle. Whooaaa... lol)

    1. The cover's so cool, right? :) You'd really get it once you read the story! Tell me what you thought of it okay? :)

  3. I have this to read, got to get round to it soon! Glad you both enjoyed it!

  4. It sounds like an awesome read. Adding it to my Goodreads, thank you! :D

  5. Another five star review for The Sea of Tranquility! Great chat review, you guys! I'm so glad both of you enjoyed this - especially Nastya. She sounds like someone I'd LOVE. And Josh too, of course. :) It's also impressive that the author had wonderful writing. So far the only book I've read that had really beautiful writing was Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me. So definitely itching to get my hands on this one!

    Awesome review, ladies!

    1. Oh Megan I am sure you will love Nastya too. She is a very unique character, and I'm sure you'll love her too. I suggest you put it on your TBR list because it's something you shouldn't miss! :)

  6. I LOVE that quote at the end, about reality pressing down. This chat review was super interesting - it really brought out what you both enjoyed about the story, while highlighting the few things that made you hesitate.

    1. We loved that too! :) I'm glad you enjoyed our review. The pacing of the story was slow for our taste but it just got better and better :)

  7. Great review! One of my favorite books ever!

  8. This is a great discussion on an AWESOME book. I read it months ago and I have had a hard time finding a book better. Such a beautiful story.

    1. A beautiful story, indeed. :) Hope Katja makes more novels in the future! <3

  9. I love the chat format of this review! It's really fun to read.

    I read TSoT a few months back and it was one of the NA books that really moved me. As a musician, I was able to really emphasize with Nastya.

    Thanks for the review!

  10. Incredible review of a flawless book. I read this a few months ago and fell in love with it. You chose some of my favorite quotes! Totally got the chills. UGH, I need to do a re-read of this soon. <3

    1. It is definitely one of those books that you will HAVE to re-read!! :) And the quotes... And Josh... :)

  11. Great review! It really makes me want to read the book. Thanks!

  12. Great review I'm going to read this book soon!

  13. I have loved this cover since I first saw the book on other blogs. I haven't read any reviews about it until now. What a fun review format! I love snarky characters and the fact that things stay mysterious until the end. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Really like the chat review format! I've been wanting to do something similar with one of my blogger friends.

    Anyway, LOVE this book. Just so, so good. <3

  15. Great review for a great book!

  16. I kind of hate that I read TSoT in early February because I knew at the time I finished it that it was probably my favorite read of 2013. As of today, that sentiment still holds true.

  17. I've been anxious to read this one and your review has me moving it up higher on my TBR!

    Rowena Hailey (Alaska Ptarmigan Hunting)


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