Published: June 4th, 2013
Publisher: Atria Books
Copy: Publisher via Netgalley
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.
The Sea of Tranquility blew me away. It was so unexpected I just sat in my seat when I finished it and thought Wow! I wanted to go back to the beginning and start reading it all over again. I had actually decided a few weeks ago that I wasn't going to read it. You know what it's like - we have so many arcs to read that some of them have to go and I had decided this was one of them. Then I hit the wrong title on my Ipad and started reading without realising which book it was and I Could. Not. Stop.
There is an intensity in the way Ms Millay writes that just captured my attention immediately and I was completely hooked. Part of the appeal I think was that not all of my questions were answered straight away. We know that something dreadful has happened to Nastya, but we are handed only tidbits of information at a time. This allows the reader to really get inside the character and to feel her pain without ever really understanding it. She is crippled by it and struggles to get through every day with only thoughts of revenge to keep her going.
'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.' (P36 - from arc)
Josh's pain is more easy to relate to because we find out the reasons for it more quickly. We can sympathise with his emotions and feel for him. I found myself feeling protective of him - a little like the way he feels about Nastya. Their attraction is of course inevitable, but never feels forced or contrived. They are two tortured souls who have to find each other.
'....she's back to wandering around my garage again. Studying. I feel like grabbing my crotch and checking to see if my balls are still there, because I think they may be in her pocket and I need to get them back.' (p135 from arc)
The story is not just about Nastya and Josh - a lot of what I liked was the emotional growth of Drew. We realise very early on that there is much more to him than his playboy image and I enjoyed following his arc in the story. Clay is another character that I felt I connected with on several levels, but to be honest every one of them felt real. I would seriously love to go to Sunday dinner at the Leighton's house.
The Sea of Tranquility was an emotional powerhouse of a novel that sucked me in from start to finish and left me feeling wrung out, yet satisfied with the conclusion. A wonderful, wonderful book that offers up the beauty of second chances and convinces you they should be taken. Read it and love it.
Foot note: Mark this one as an ISU possibility. There is more than enough in it to fit the bill.. I do realise that the quotes are from the arc and may change.