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.
I am simply speechless. One of the best books I’ve ever read. Where did Katja Millay go? She needs to write another book! A moving story about second chances and the power of unconditional love. TSoT should be read by everyone.
True story: Several years ago I was planning my attendance at my very first book signing ever. A lovely reader from SLOVENIA (yes, you read that correctly) messaged me and asked if I could please try and get a copy of TSoT signed for her by Katja Millay. Of course, I said, I would certainly try. I thought to myself. wow, this book must really be something special! And so I bought the book and there it sat on my Kindle since 2013. Yes, I met the author, she was absolutely lovely but I did not fangirl over her because I had not yet read this treasure of a book!!! And now she seems to have disappeared!! GAAHHHHHH!! I need a do-0ver!!
If you are like me, you probably have tons of books sitting on your e-reader (and maybe even on your bookshelf) unread for whatever reason. I made a resolution that this year, I would slow down on taking ARC’s and get through all of the wonderful books that I have been meaning to get to for years. Well, TSoT is now one of my all-time favorite books. I can’t stop thinking about it. The author has a special gift with the written word and I just want to shout from the rooftops about this treasure!
“My name is Nastya Kashnikov. I was a piano-playing prodigy who doesn’t belong anywhere near an Intro to Music class. I was murdered two and a half years ago. Discuss.”
Nastya is starting high school at a new school, where she looks and feels and acts like the outsider that she is. She pushes everyone away with her special brand of toughness AND she also refuses to speak. At all. What happened to this girl that has made her so withdrawn from her family and everyone around her?
“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.”
Besides getting the feel and all the angst of high school EXACTLY right, the author slowly reveals what has made Nastya into the girl she is today. But if Nastya thinks she has the self-pity market cornered, she’s got nothing on Josh Bennett, another loner who has had the most terrible tragedies happen to him. Josh is also unapproachable but he becomes fascinated by this girl who wears all-black every single day and acts angry all the time.
“She does look like a badass. I’ve seen her arms, and she’s ripped, which is kind of weird and scary all at once because it just seems all wrong on her. She’s really small and fragile-looking, and at the same time, it’s like she’s some exotic teenage mercenary, all rock solid, dressed in black, ready to take somebody down. None of it makes any sense. It’s kind of disconcerting. She’s like an optical illusion. You look at it from one angle and you see the picture and you think you’ve got a lock on it and then it shifts and the image changes to something entirely different and you can’t even find the original picture anymore. It’s a serious mindfuck.”
Nastya is an enigma. Her story gradually begins to unfold and it is extremely unsettling and almost unbearable. For all of her toughness, she is extremely fragile and vulnerable but eventually begins to let others in. Just a little.
“I haven’t said a word to another living person in 452 days. I write my three and a half pages, tuck away my composition book, and crawl into bed, knowing how close I came to not making it to 453.”
Let me just say two words about this book: Josh Bennett. He is sensitive, intelligent and loyal. He realizes how fragile Nastya is. I adore him! He doesn’t know why she is so closed off to the world but he very carefully begins to crack her shell, little by little.
“But the more she gives me, the more abstract she gets. It’s like pieces to three different puzzles. You try to put them together but they never fit, and when you force them, the picture comes out all wrong.
Despite her resolution never to let someone love her, Nastya begins to get close to Josh and his very small circle of old friends. Their relationship unfolds very slowly but they just seem to understand each other. She still keeps secrets from him but she begins to trust him absolutely.
“Josh Bennett laughs, and for one minute, everything is right in the world.”
Josh is Nastya’s lifeline. As her carefully constructed world begins to fall apart, Josh is there for her. Until she pushes him away. I honestly did not know whether or not the author was going to give these two the happy ending they both so desperately deserved, but the ending was PERFECT. I almost stopped breathing during the last 15% of this book. Nastya is so pessimistic about her future that nothing about this book would have surprised me.
“People like Josh Bennett and I don’t get perfect. Most of the time, we don’t even get remotely tolerable. And that’s why it scares me. Because, even if there was such a thing to begin with, perfect never lasts.”
This book actually has some light moments and very funny scenes mixed in with all the angst. They were a welcome relief from the heaviness and were done just right. All of the supporting characters were absolutely perfect and I pray for another book soon from Katya Millay. If you haven’t read this book yet, don’t wait. It is truly a treasure.
“Every day you save me.”