Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

I’ve Found love Greater Than Life Itself

Title: The Sea of Tranquility
Author: Katja Millay
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: November 13, 2012

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.


I hate my left hand. I hate to look at it. I hate it when it stutters and trembles and reminds me that my identity is gone. But I look at it anyway; because it also reminds me that I’m going to find the boy who took everything from me. I’m going to kill the boy who killed me, and when I kill him, I’m going to do it with my left hand.

Nastya Kashinkov is a beautifully damaged seventeen year old. She dreams of a life she once had at the naive age of fifteen when she was a gifted pianist also known as the Brighton Piano Girl, however one tragic event striped her from that reality. The pain and inner turmoil of losing her true gift leaves her wrecked and feeling like her soul was being ripped from her body. She died that day. Literally. And figuratively. The death was violent, and horrific and wretched. Ninety-six seconds later she is revived, and she’s witnessed her “Sea of Tranquility.” That day she was okay, and lucky to be alive because she is spared the memory of how she died until she remembers. How she died. How he did it. His face. She keeps her secret hidden behind her silent lips. Fated to keep her secret forever until she can kill him herself……..

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.

Nastya (oh how I adored her) is on a mission to run from her past, and this decision leads her two hours away to her aunt Margot’s home where she is enrolled in her last year of high school appearing as a goth princess. Her family also suffers her tragedy as well because her father, mother and brother have lost the fun loving and easy spirited piano prodigy in exchange for this deeply wounded, silent, and provocatively dressed goth girl. While keeping her tragic secrets and her past identity to herself at her new school she stumbles into Josh Bennett‘s garage one late night after jogging. These two begin a silent but powerful connection together as well as a friendship with his best friend Drew.

“Her face is insane, even with all that shit she covers it up with. If I can do that justice, I’ll never need to draw another girl again.” He’s staring at the photograph like he’s picturing how she looks without the make-up. I want to tell him he’s right.

Josh Bennett becomes her Salvation. He has lived through too many tragic events losing each of his family members until the only one left is his grandfather also fighting a losing battle with cancer. Other than his best friend Josh is basically alone and lives a secretive and secluded lifestyle as an emancipated teen. His life consists of school, building and tinkering with wood designing in his garage nightly, daily visits to Home Depot, and spending Sunday family dinners at the Leighton‘s house (his best friend Drew’s family home). His world is turned upside down when the new undead looking and freakishly beautiful whorish looking girl from school shows up at the end of his drive away, lost and out of breath from running with no verbal skills to communicate with.

I talk until the water runs cold and my voice feels hoarse from overuse. I hope it’s enough to help me keep my mouth shut. I haven’t said a word to another living person in 452 days. I write my three and a half pages, tuck away my composition book and crawl into bed, knowing how close I came to not making it to 453.

This is where the spellbinding and breathtakingly magnificent story begins to unfold in such a precious and secretive way you won’t want to put it down. It’s as if Katja Millay has given her readers a magical gift that will be revealed slowly one incredibly charming page at a time. I was fascinated with the world Millay vividly described through the eyes of two seventeen year old far more older for their age (Josh, Nastya)

He’s never pulled out the love card and pretended to have any sort of feelings for a girl to get her to sleep with him. He doesn’t have to. They do it anyway without any emotional persuasion from him. They provide that all on their own.

Too many feelings coming off of those girls and I’m not good at deflecting them. They seem to roll right off of Drew. The tears and the name calling and the bitterness done even faze him.

Drew an outgoing unapologetic man whore is Josh’s best friend and the closest thing to family he has. What I adored about Drew was his larger than life personality, with the ego and charm that easily paints the full picture of the most valuable player on campus. Every girl wants to screw him and every guy wants to be him. Luckily Josh has no desire to seek out relationships with others whether it be short term or long lasting with his unfortunate deaths that have surrounded him, so he and Drew are prefect opposites and extraordinary friends.

“Sorry,” I apologize with an utter lack of conviction and keep walking. “I thought you were just asking me to clean up your mess. I didn’t realize you were being a friend and giving me an unresponsive drunk girl to rape. Next time, be a little clearer for me so I don’t miss such a golden opportunity.” I can’t hide the sarcasm in my tone and I don’t try.

Despite Josh‘s iron man attitude at school that gives him plenty of space to be a loner he’s actually a tender and thoughtful guy at heart to those that he’s willing to let get close to him. He enjoys being a loner, he prefers to keep it that way, and has every intention of doing just that…..That is until Nastya Kashnikov shows up and demands more. She becomes friends with Josh and Drew and their friendship is amusing at times, and even throughout the silent times its radiant like a diamond just home much these three treasure each others friendship, clearly they’re a family.

I reach to brush my hair back out of my eyes so I can look around and attempt to determine what the hell is going on. 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

A romance between Josh and Nastya begins to unfold but its not quickly, actually it’s more realistic than I’m used to reading it was refreshing. Once Nastya shows up at the end of Josh’s driveway that late night there’s no turning back for either of these two. It feels like a slow moving spell has been cast on these two causing their chemistry to sizzle and no matter how hard these two try to resist out of fear of the unknown they’re unable. Yes, it’s exactly as if Millay cast a romantic spell on a destroyed young girl and a broken young boy and I’m pretty sure a spell was projected onto me as well because I couldn’t sleep until I devoured the last page of this seductive tale of shattered dreams, broken past, and how two people can find one another and perhaps maybe become one another’s salvation or resurrection.

I never realized that grief and self-pity weren’t the same thing. I thought grieving was what I was doing all this time I had been feeling sorry for myself, but it wasn’t. So for the first time in nearly three years, I let myself grieve.

While I was devouring The Sea of Tranquility I laughed “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.” ….”That’s right,” he says. “That was a good day.” I cried, I can tell you it’s a painting of a hand, my hand, turned up and opened to the world and that it reached into my body and rips out everything that’s left. Because in the palm, right in the center, is the pearl button I never reached. and I cheered I never gave two shits about normal. I wanted to be extraordinary while reading because along the way Nastya, Josh, Drew, the Leightons, and the rest of the supporting characters I was bewitched with their personal lives.

Hate strengthened my body and shaped my resolve and what I resolved to do was to get revenge. Hate seemed pretty damn healthy to me.

I was fascinated with Katja Millay‘s ability to weave an immaculately executed story that oozes symbolism from beginning to end. The storyline was sad at times however I had hope the entire experience reading it. By the end of The Sea of Tranquility I was also believing in second chances. If you want a book without any paranormal aspects yet you feel magic unfolding while reading the story this is the book for you. If you want to discover what a life can be transformed into once you quit regretting decisions and move beyond tragedy and devastation then I recommend you read The Sea of Tranquility, but beware you’ll be swept away in this heartfelt romantic, intoxicating, refreshing, magical and incredibly beautiful story about deciding to live after loss once you’ve picked up the pieces. This will forever be a favorite of mine, and I hope it becomes a favorite of yours as well! ♥♥♥

“……But I would like to believe in the dream of second chances.”


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Miss Vain

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8 Responses to Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

  1. Great review! Now I can’t wait to read this :)

  2. Tina B says:

    Wow. This sounds like a powerful story! Wonderful review!
    I am adding it to my TBR. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Jamie@Addicted2Heroines says:

    Great review! I can’t wait toread this one!

  4. Bianca says:

    I have seen this book around but haven’t thought much about it. I definitely need to go add it to my tbr list on goodreads now though! Thanks for the great review.

  5. Debbie says:

    Glad you loved this! One of my favorite reads from last year. Such a moving story..I still think about that garage.

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