Published by: Atria Books on November 13, 2012
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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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.
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.
All Josh Bennett wants is to be left alone, and everyone allows it because they all know his story: each person he loved was taken from his life until at seventeen years old there was no one left. When your name is synonymous with death, people tend to give you your space.
Everyone except Nastya, a new girl in town who 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 a mystery 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.
This book left me in a complete daze. I almost don’t know how to start this review, because how do you possibly put something like this into words? The Sea of Tranquility has so much emotion, devastation, power, helplessness, and an odd sense of hope.
The first half of this book was absolutely hilarious. Maybe that’s wrong of me to say, given the nature of this story, but I can’t help it. The characters are AMAZING! Their inner dialogue had me totally cracking up. They’re both witty, sarcastic, and absolutely hilarious—but without trying to be. This book totally lifted my spirits! ..which is almost odd because it’s about a somewhat depressed girl with a horrible, traumatizing past that changed her future. The second half of the book will completely rip your heart out, but at first I was pleasantly surprised by how funny it was!
The only three things that I know for certain took place last night are that one, small elves climbed up my body and tied my hair into a mass of tiny knots; two, I must have slept with my mouth open because something crawled into it and died; and three, I was sucked through a vortex into some animated world where an anvil was dropped on my head. The Sea of Tranquility
To be honest, not much actually happens in the first half in terms of intense events. It’s really slow building. We watch Nastya and Josh go about their daily lives, sometimes encountering each other, and sometimes not. It’s very much an introduction into their psyches. That being said, it wasn’t boring. I was devouring every word. Their lives are different enough from “normal” that they’re interesting to read about.
“How come you call her honey and never use terms of endearment on me?” he fake whines.
“I do,” Mrs. Leighton says, patting him on the cheek as she walks by. “Just last week I called you the bane of my existence.” The Sea of Tranquility
And on top of that, we have a mystery element. At first we don’t know exactly what happened to Nastya or what happened to Josh. They struggle to learn about each other, and we struggle to learn about them. The slow, and almost taunting way in which this information is presented will have you desperately clawing for more!
I’m going to kill the boy who killed me. The Sea of Tranquility
Nastya and Josh are both trying (or not trying) to overcome the horrors in their pasts, and that’s what slowly draws them together. Both their relationship, and the inevitable romance, slowly (and sweetly) build as the story progresses! The romance was about two people who complete each other—but not in that cheesy “we’re soul mates” and “love at first sight” kind of way. Nastya and Josh struggle, grow, and attempt to cope, but they help each other do it (sometimes without even realizing). It almost starts off not as a romance at all, but as some sort of quirky friendship where two people seek shelter with the other. But the sweetness and loveable moments grew and grew until soon enough, I was in love with the characters as much as they were in love with each other!
He’s given me a place to belong. Nastya, The Sea of Tranquility
The second half of the book was less hilarious and more about the characters finally acknowledging that problems exist. The first half, Nastya was running away from her problems and Josh was hiding from his. But slowly those problems find their way to the surface and explode. There’s no more running, no more hiding. They have to face them. It’s totally and completely heart wrenching! I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed, like a lost little girl.
Sometimes I just forget how to breathe. Nastya, The Sea of Tranquility
I feel like I’m an emotional mess. It’s been a long time since I was this invested in characters in a book. I want to cry and scream and laugh all at the same time. And for the first time, I felt like I actually completely understood Nastya. In most books when someone has emotional problems, I sympathize with them on some shallow level. But when they act out or run or hide, I want to scream at them and bash their head against the wall and tell them to grow up. Not in The Sea of Tranquility. Katja did such an amazing job of pulling me into Nastya’s life, that I wanted to run right along side her. I wanted to hide and scream and ignore the outside world.
I expect her in my life. And it’s terrifying. Josh, The Sea of Tranquility
Words can barely do this book justice. It’s so intense and powerful that you really need to read it for yourself to even begin to understand! I almost feel numb from reading it. Did I really survive that intense reading experience? Staying up late to devour every word, then waking up to pick up where I left off and clinging onto my pillow as I sobbed uncontrollably? That’s what this book will do to you.