Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

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The Sea of Tranquility
Katja Millay
Genre: NA Contemporary
Publication date: November 13th 2012
by Atria Books

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.

*A copy was provided by Artia Books for review*


Wow I did not expect this! To be completely honest the cover did not initially attract me to this novel so I never looked into it before I started getting all these recommendations. This is not always a good sign, however, since it raises my expectations, but I am happy to say that it was absolutely amazing. Not only does it involve a gritty, unapologetic story, we have characters who will tear your heart out with their grief and self destruction, leaving you feeling bruised and battered. It is not an easy story to read, I had my heart in my throat the whole way through, but it’s ultimately a story of love and forgiveness, of acceptance and learning to live again. I came out of this feeling wrecked, yet completely satisfied.

Nastya is tough as nails, with an unconcerned attitude and a provocative wardrobe. Thick black eyeliner, barely there skirts, and black over black is her style. She is not what you would call a likeable character. She does everything possible to be an outcast, keeping people at arm’s length, but you will be surprised how compelling a character she becomes. It’s obvious that she harbors secrets, she has scars–some you can see and others you can’t–and these will eat at your curiosity. Katja plays in the mystery of Nastya’s past incredibly well, building it up from the beginning, and giving us fragments of it as the book progresses. Her emotional impact to this story is surreal. Her broken hopes and broken heart over her loss runs as deep as the ocean. I felt my own heart break for her on more than one occasion. I just wanted to go into the book and give her a big hug–but she’d probably punch me. Plus she scares me.

Nastya shares a narration with Josh, who is just as broken as she is. Between both of them, believe me, I was completely torn apart! Josh has lost more people in his lifetime than anyone ever should, especially at his age. Ever since I had a kid of my own I become extremely emotional when it comes to stories about parents and children being separated by death, and just thinking about a poor little 8 year old boy having his family torn apart like that broke a piece of me. When we learn about his past there is so much sorrow coming off of these pages; the way it’s delivered to us through his perspective is so poignant that I could not help but developed a connection to him immediately. What he had to go through is not even something I could allow myself to emotionally grasp without having a break down.

It should not be a surprise to learn that these two find each other. They become each other’s salvation throughout the story, in the very beginning of a love that is true and raw and shameless. Their relationship is as perfect as it perfectly flawed. It’s also real in every way. It begins as a friendship that, yea, is a little unusual, but it’s this unusualness that makes it all so irresistible. You want them to be together with every fiber of your being, and the chemistry this emits is unbelievable!

While it always comes back to the romance, friendship and family both play a large part in the story. We develop friendships that you will cherish as much as the romance. We also see the importance of family, and that a family is not only decided by blood.

Aside from characters developed to excellence, this book is filled with so much emotions ranging from heartbreak to laugh out loud funny that I turned the last page with a feeling of absolute fulfillment. This is what every books should be; bringing you in one hundred percent, mind and soul. Is there any question as to if I’d recommend this book?

5 Hot Espressos
*Note that this books is currently only available as an ebook. The paperback will be released in June, 2013.

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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32 Responses to “Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay”

  1. tigerlilyrachel

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this! I had put off reading it for a while because I didn’t really believe it was as good as what everyone was saying, but was I wrong! This book completely blew me away. It was heart wrenching, but oh so beautiful.

  2. Silverlight

    I have this from NG and it’s been on my list since last year. I’m so excited that you approved, now I just need to hurry up and read it, already! Great job, cupcake!

  3. Amy

    Fabulous review!! I initially wasn’t that interested in this book either. When I started hearing some of my favorite bloggers talking about how amazing it is I had to get it. I am really looking forward to reading it. And OMG it’s got to be amazing if you gave it 5 hot espressos. I am waiting a little bit to read it, but will most likely have my review up in March, a little closer to it’s paperback release date.

  4. Sirtsu

    EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YES *punches her fist in the air* This book is abso-freaking-lutely fantastic and I loved it with every cell in my body. I agree with the salvation part, I thought so, too in my review. I’m so beyond happy you loved it, too 🙂 I hope Katja Millay’s next book will come out soon, I can’t wait.

  5. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    5 stars? I have to get on reading this one soon! I love how Nastya doesn’t sound like your typical heroine, though her name is kinda nasty bahahahahah hahahahah hahahahh I made a funny.

    I love a book that is super emotional and I think that this one will fit that bill. Fabulous review!

  6. Mary @ BookSwarm

    Nastya sounds both awesome and scary. You’d probably better not give her a hug…she doesn’t sound like a hugger. The cover really doesn’t do it for me but the story inside sounds fabulous.

  7. javalotta

    I loved this book so much! It was a complete surprise how much this affected me. I’m so glad you love it too. I always recommend it when people ask me what my favorite books are.:)

  8. Shane

    ooh nice review girly. You make me want to get this one since you enjoyed it so much and we both seem to have similar tastes in books.

  9. Alaiel Kreuz

    Amazing review! I just read the book too and I loved it so much I can’t wait to have it in my hands 😀

    But just like you the cover didn’t say anything to me… Which is a shame because I think the previous cover, when it was only an ebook, is beyond beautiful 🙂

  10. Katie @ BlookGirl

    I just downloaded this to my Nook and am so glad to see that you loved it as much as I hope I will. What a great review, Giselle! You’ve made me even more excited to read it now 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, muffin!

  11. Danny

    Ahh Giselle!! This book was made of win and awesome right?!?!? I loved these flawed characters and this book went deep and didn’t spare us any emotions. I love when that happens!

  12. Millie

    Wow! Fantastic review! I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about this book, but I’ve been on the fence about it until now. Wow, just wow. It sounds like such an emotional book! I’m so curious about it now.

    Millie @ Millie D’s Words

  13. Aman

    I’m probably the only person in the world who couldn’t finish this book, but I’m glad you enjoyed it. I liked Josh, I wanted to know more about him, but I couldn’t connect with Natsya for some reason, and had to drop it.

  14. Alexa Y.

    Oh wow! I’m so excited because you gave this a top rating. It sounds like the kind of book I would enjoy regardless, but I’m loving that a lot of bloggers I trust gave it very high marks and great reviews. Can’t wait to read it!

  15. Amanda

    So many people are loving this book. It just did not sound like something I’d be interested in when I read the blurb, but I keep seeing positive reviews. I may eventually have to give this book a chance after all! I do love the idea of two broken people using each other to help heal. Wonderful review, Giselle, and I’m glad you were able to get past your reservations and really enjoy the book. 🙂

  16. Paranormal Book Fan

    I want to read this again now after reading your review. It was so fantastic. And I agree, the friendships and familial relationships in this book are just as compelling as the romance. Brilliant!!

  17. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    Yay! It makes me insanely happy that you liked this one so much! Is this your first NA book? I strongly disagree with NA books are YA books with sex. For me it’s more about the emotions and feelings and subject matter. I still have to read this one and plan to as soon as I finish my tour books.
    Now you gotta go read Hopeless by Colleen Hoover!

  18. Rachelia G

    Wow, great review. I keep hearing a lot of great things about this one! I like books that pack a hard emotional punch — although, sometimes it takes a lot to work yourself up to reading them if you know that, LOL.

  19. Renae M.

    You didn’t like the cover either? I can’t help laughing every time I see it—the melted ice cream is too much for me to take seriously. I almost regretted requesting my galley, to be honest.

    Buuuut. Everyone likes this. Seriously everyone. That’s craziness. The last time this happened was Webber’s Easy, which I enjoyed, too. So hearing that you REALLY liked this has proven that I need to read this. Pronto!