The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
“I think I can believe in hope and I would like to believe in the dream of second chances.”
Well Katja Millay just brought on all of the feels.
This is one of those books that has been sitting on my tbr shelf forever. I had made a 2015 resolution that I would do my best to read all of the physical books I owned that have been sitting on my bookshelves for months, some even for years. The first book in line was this one. I cannot believe I waited this long to read it. It’s such a classic New Adult novel, it’s one of those books that I feel pretty much everyone has already read. I didn’t know anything going into this book, I didn’t even read any reviews beforehand, I just new that this is a beloved book.
This is quite possibly the most well written New Adult book I’ve read in the genre. There is so much attention to plot, diction, and character development that I am fairly astounded that this author hasn’t really written anything else. The NA genre could use more authors like her.
“People like to say love is unconditional, but it’s not, and even if it was unconditional, it’s still never free. There’s always an expectation attached. They always want something in return. Like they want you to be happy or whatever and that makes you automatically responsible for their happiness because they won’t be happy unless you are … I just don’t want that responsibility.”
The Sea of Tranquility is about a girl named Nastya, who has moved in with her Aunt and is returning to her senior year of high school from a two year break after a tragic accident. Nastya uses defense mechanisms such as dressing herself up like a slut and not speaking as a way of preventing people from getting close to her. At the school Nastya notices a boy who sits by himself and has what she calls a force field around him, he might as well be invisible, which is exactly what Nastya longs for. Soon, despite not speaking to him, Nastya has started to spend time with this boy, Josh, and the two can’t seem to shake themselves of the other despite not wanting to get close to anyone.
To me, this book was very much about the resurrection and salvation of Nastya and Josh. Both had unspeakable horrors haunting their past and were doing their best emotionally to just survive, day to day. Nastya in a way chose Josh because she knew that he understood what it was like to be asked questions you didn’t want to answer or talk about, and she knew he wouldn’t do that.
Drew most surprisingly, was my favorite character in the book. He is proof that what we see is not always what it appears to be. His friendship with Nastya really pulled at my heart.
“What is she to you?” she whispers.
Drew’s muffled voice rises up from the floor before I can respond.
I admire that the author didn’t include rape in Nastya/Emilia’s attack. There are so many ways to break a person and rape while heartbreaking is not the only horrifying example.
In the next spoiler is what I didn’t care for:
I was really fucking pissed that after Nastya broke up with him, that Josh just ended up sleeping with Leigh. I know that they technically weren’t together but still.
Earlier in the book when Drew told Nastya how Tierney had broken up with him so he slept with another girl, Nastya had told him he failed the test that would prove Tierney wrong about him. I felt that this was foreshadowing to Josh sleeping with Leigh, and to me he failed Nastya’s test. And there was not enough groveling for me. I know other events came into play, but still. Josh was a total fuck-up in my book.
So I knocked off 1 star for my reasons in the spoiler above, and also for the pacing. It was VERY slow at some points and the book really didn’t hit that WOW factor for me until the final 50-75 pages or so. Those pages are what made this book special.
“‘I love you, Sunshine,’ I tell her, before I lose my nerve. ‘And I don’t give a shit whether you want me to or not.’”