Jun 19, 2017

Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

TitleThe Sea of Tranquility
Author: Katja Millay
Publisher: Atria Books
Publishing Date: June 4, 2013
Pages/Format: 434, Paperback
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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.


The Sea of Tranquility is one of those books I'd been hearing about for years, and what I was hearing was love, love, love. Before my reading turned moody and I became such a damn black sheep, I really wanted to read The Sea of Tranquility. But like so many books, it sat on my shelf collecting dust until I finally cracked it open. And when I did, to say I had expectations would be an understatement. I wouldn't say I expected to love it; I've learned by now to try to be wary of hype. But when just about everyone loves a book and act like it's something precious, I'm hoping to get something out of that book. As far as The Sea of Tranquility goes, I guess I did get something...just not what I had expected.

I think my biggest thing with The Sea of Tranquility is that I just don't get it. Why is this so loved? This wasn't just one of those books that didn't quite work for me. It's one of those books where I have a really hard time understanding the appeal. What does everyone see in this book that I didn't? I mean, that's not to say I didn't like it. Once I got into it and was able to somewhat get over my qualms, I did like it. But love? Nooo.

The overall love and hype for The Sea of Tranquility wasn't the only thing I failed to comprehend--I also didn't get several aspects of the book itself. I wasn't a fan of the writing (that was a struggle in the beginning), the big reveal behind what happened to Nastya took too long, I wasn't a huge fan of Nastya herself, and while the person/part I probably liked most was Josh, things were weird there too. I just...gah! There was a lot of potential here, and some elements were really strong. (Like the relationship--whatever it was--between Nastya and Josh. Sometimes. I also was, for the most part, a fan of Drew. But there were some oddities there, too.) I just expected The Sea of Tranquility to be so much more than it was, to be of a different quality, and it wasn't. (Why was I also thinking it was new adult?)

Do you ever notice how it's easier to talk about the negatives rather than the positives? That's me with this review. And I don't think I even really delved into any details. The thing is that I didn't dislike The Sea of Tranquility. There were parts of it that I did like and that did work for me, and parts that I didn't like and parts that didn't work. I didn't hate it! I just failed to see what so many others see in this book--and I also fail to understand why they hype exists. (Which sounds horribly mean, I know.) I clashed with the prose and the protagonist, was frustrated with a major plot point, and didn't quite...agree (bad word choice) with how some scenes were acted out. Again: I didn't hate it! But if I'm drowning in this book, it's not in tranquility and the sea's a bit rough.

Did I like it? Yes...
Did I love it? No.
Would I reread it? Maybe--to see what a second try would do--but I don't know...
Would I purchase it? I already own it, but if I didn't I wouldn't be in much of a rush to get it.
Who would I recommend it to? People who like their books full of angst and harshness, slow-burn-esque romance, interesting friendships, horrible pasts, protagonists that have to grow on you, and hints of mystery.


  1. OMG this is one of those books that EVERYONE has told me I would love and I even made it goal to read it in 2016 (haha, which I didn't do bc I suck at goals)-- but wow. I was hoping this would be one of my forever ever favorites when I do read it. Maybe it's the time. Like everyone who loved this read it back in 2013 and books were SO different then. I bet if Hush, Hush came out right now it would get slammed. I'll let you know if I have the same reaction when I get around to reading this...

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