Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

The Sea of Tranquility
Katja Millay
Genre: NA Contemporary
Publication date: November 13th 2012
by Atria Books

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.
*A copy was provided by Artia Books for review*
Wow I did not expect this! To be completely honest the cover did not initially attract me to this novel so I never looked into it before I started getting all these recommendations. This is not always a good sign, however, since it raises my expectations, but I am happy to say that it was absolutely amazing. Not only does it involve a gritty, unapologetic story, we have characters who will tear your heart out with their grief and self destruction, leaving you feeling bruised and battered. It is not an easy story to read, I had my heart in my throat the whole way through, but it's ultimately a story of love and forgiveness, of acceptance and learning to live again. I came out of this feeling wrecked, yet completely satisfied.

Nastya is tough as nails, with an unconcerned attitude and a provocative wardrobe. Thick black eyeliner, barely there skirts, and black over black is her style. She is not what you would call a likeable character. She does everything possible to be an outcast, keeping people at arm's length, but you will be surprised how compelling a character she becomes. It's obvious that she harbors secrets, she has scars--some you can see and others you can't--and these will eat at your curiosity. Katja plays in the mystery of Nastya's past incredibly well, building it up from the beginning, and giving us fragments of it as the book progresses. Her emotional impact to this story is surreal. Her broken hopes and broken heart over her loss runs as deep as the ocean. I felt my own heart break for her on more than one occasion. I just wanted to go into the book and give her a big hug--but she'd probably punch me. Plus she scares me.

Nastya shares a narration with Josh, who is just as broken as she is. Between both of them, believe me, I was completely torn apart! Josh has lost more people in his lifetime than anyone ever should, especially at his age. Ever since I had a kid of my own I become extremely emotional when it comes to stories about parents and children being separated by death, and just thinking about a poor little 8 year old boy having his family torn apart like that broke a piece of me. When we learn about his past there is so much sorrow coming off of these pages; the way it's delivered to us through his perspective is so poignant that I could not help but developed a connection to him immediately. What he had to go through is not even something I could allow myself to emotionally grasp without having a break down.

It should not be a surprise to learn that these two find each other. They become each other's salvation throughout the story, in the very beginning of a love that is true and raw and shameless. Their relationship is as perfect as it perfectly flawed. It's also real in every way. It begins as a friendship that, yea, is a little unusual, but it's this unusualness that makes it all so irresistible. You want them to be together with every fiber of your being, and the chemistry this emits is unbelievable!

While it always comes back to the romance, friendship and family both play a large part in the story. We develop friendships that you will cherish as much as the romance. We also see the importance of family, and that a family is not only decided by blood.

Aside from characters developed to excellence, this book is filled with so much emotions ranging from heartbreak to laugh out loud funny that I turned the last page with a feeling of absolute fulfillment. This is what every books should be; bringing you in one hundred percent, mind and soul. Is there any question as to if I'd recommend this book?

5 Hot Espressos

*Note that this books is currently only available as an ebook. The paperback will be released in June, 2013.