Book Review: The Sea of Tranquility

The Sea of Tranquility
By:  Katja Millay
Published By:  Atria Books
Publication Date:  September 5th, 2012 (ebook/Kindle)
June 4th, 2013 (paperback)
Page Count:  448 pages
Source:  Book Purchased by Reviewer
Audience:  Mature Young Adult/New Adult Contemporary Fiction

The Sea of Tranquility has been on my radar for awhile.  However, my timing for reading it couldn’t have been worse.  Moving house definitely got in the way and stole from my precious reading time from an equally precious book.  Regardless, this story had me anxiously coming back to it as often as I could manage – it was just too bad it was only a few pages here and there during this really busy time.

However, the fact that I STILL enjoyed it so much is a testament to Katja Millay’s writing and the story itself.  Her writing was purposeful and clever, and seemed effortless to get into.  With some books, I have to recap the previous page or two when I pick it back up again...not so with this one.

Told in alternating points of view, a theme in which I tend to enjoy when it is complimentary to each character, this formula gave us a great, well-rounded story that only released enough information along the journey as needed.   Ms. Millay so eloquently shared both Nastya’s and Josh’s stories through clips of their past merged into the happenings of their present in a seamlessly executed stand-alone novel.

I will admit that Nastya was a hard character to like in the beginning, but also from the beginning, I knew there was more to her than the front she put on.  Her harsh exterior hid a broken girl that my heart broke for as her story unfolded.   By the end of the book, I wanted to give her a hug…even if she had a hard time accepting affection of any kind.

Likewise with Josh, although he hid nothing.  Everyone knew his story and mostly gave him a wide berth…resulting in a very lonely young man.  He was initially hard to get behind too, but his story turned out to also be very sad and I soon had huge empathy for him as well.  Perhaps the unluckiest boy you’d ever know, he really deserved some breaks.

I loved Nastya and Josh together though, despite the messes and mistakes they made along the way…I knew they were each other’s *home*.  His nickname for her spoke volumes!  I thoroughly believed at first that it was not a term of endearment but a sardonic euphemism, but it turned out to be more of a self-fulfilling prophecy because she WAS his Sunshine...and vice-versa. Without even realizing it until it was happening, they were healing each other…and it was beautiful to see.

While both these characters were still kids in many respects, they were also mature by the same token.  This added to their complexities and grounded them along with their mistakes and triumphs.

I really loved the side characters too…especially Drew and Clay…and eventually Tierney.  And with the *bad guys*…they were not black and white either.  The author has a real talent in character development without doubt.

Millay also has a strong talent for tugging at your heart-strings.  Hers was a beautifully written story layered over a heart-breaking one…that was gorgeous and gritty all at the same time.

With The Sea of Tranquility being a stand-alone, I wasn’t sure how the author was going to wrap up the story with so few pages left, but I was very happy with how she did end it…it was realistic and satisfying and made me smile.  And it sat with me for a while afterwards.

So this is definitely worthy of 5 birdies and I only put it down because I HAD to...not because I wanted to!

If you’ve had this stewing on your TBR pile like I did…you might want to move it up.  I think I also want to reread it at a later date when life isn’t so busy!  I bet I would enjoy it even more, if that is possible!

Summary from Goodreads:

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.

Please Note: This book contains mature content including profanity, drug/alcohol use, and sexual situations/language.


  1. I's read this book when it was first published and completely LOVED it. So glad you liked it too!!

    1. Absolutely! My only two regrets are that I waited so long and that I read it while moving.

  2. Oh boy! Were there a lot of messes and mistakes! lol I loved this book even though it hurt to read at times.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

    1. Right?! It was painful at times, but not because it was difficult or I couldn't get into it...I just hated that these characters had to go through what they did. Thanks!


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