Published by Atria on June 4th, 2013
Genres: contemporary, new adult
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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.
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.
You know, I really, really loved The Sea of Tranquility. But…it was far from perfect. I get why it has such a huge fanbase though, as it was absolutely one of the most compelling and character rich storylines I have read in a long time. I think Nastya/Emilia was an engaging, heartbreaking, and infuriating character all rolled into one. I loved her. I felt for her. My heart broke for her. I wanted her to choose to live and be happy. But she needed to deal with her past and come to terms with losing everything first.
And Josh. OMG. I loved that boy. He was flawed, surely, and a bit judgmental, but the best characters grow in the narrative and his evolution absolutely blew me away. I loved him and Nastya together. I loved his attitude and dialogue and the way he was all fierce teddy bear and not wanting to love her but loving her anyway. I loved how they both had so many different elements to their characters to make them stand out and be developed and jump off the page. Katja Millay knows what she’s doing and she can write characters like CRAZY. I fell for the both of them and their lives and I wanted happiness and I was afraid this book was going to break me but it didn’t, and that was a little disappointing to be honest. I expected to sob and all I did was drop a few tears.
Now I have a little complaining to do. There were about 5-6 instances of slut-shaming (although I have seen much worse–that still doesn’t make it okay). It really rubs me the wrong way and I find it incredibly unnecessary and I feel that authors really need to educate themselves about rape culture. Katja Millay is one of many authors who don’t seem to care about the connotations of the words, skank, slut, and whore and it really pisses me off and it’s NOT okay. Stop putting it in your freaking books when it adds NOTHING to the story and makes your characters look like assholes.
Technically, this book was incredibly long winded. You could have knocked a hundred pages (or more) off this and it would have still had the same story. There were SO many meaningless scenes and repetition and it took forever to get going. It really messed with the tension and pacing. Due to that, I almost DNFed early on because I was so utterly bored and kept putting it down. It isn’t until about EXACTLY 33% in that the book finally gets going. I am glad I didn’t DNF it after all, but this story needed major tightening.
I wanted to say that I loved it completely and that it won over my heart. And it was close, but ultimately it let me down a bit. I expected more from the ending. I wanted more emotion. I wanted more story! There wasn’t actually a whole lot of plot here. It was a romance and it wasn’t. There was more than just that, and because of that, I expected more of a story arc. But you know, when you love characters, you just do. And Nastya, Josh, and Drew were just amazingly lovable and real. I will definitely read this author’s next book. I think she has a truly bright future. But lay off the slut shaming, please!