Thursday, May 9, 2013

Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

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.

How do you review something so magical, so amazing, that it took 448 pages to write. The story between Nastya and Josh was dark, sweet, painful, heartbreaking, encouraging... I just can't even begin to think of all the adjectives it would take to describe. 

“Joy, fear, frustration, longing, friendship, anger, need, despair, love, lust?”
“Yes, what?”
“All of it,” I reply, because I’m all in now whether I like it or not.

Nastya is a deeply troubled young woman. Something tragic happened to her when she was 15, and her entire world came crashing down. That's the day she died. And since that day, she's shut down. She doesn't talk to anyone. She moves away from her family and in with her aunt. In order to hide who she really is, she dresses in all black, stilletos, tight low cut shirts, super short skirts, and caked on make up. 

But there are a few who see through her 

Clay, an artist who spends his time sketching her pictures. 

“My dick doesn't have to want her. Just my pencil.”

Drew, the resident ladies man, spends a lot of time trying to persuade her to give him a chance, regardless of the fact that she doesn't speak. ever. She even attends family dinner at his house.  

Panty-Combusting Ken comes complete with Piqued Princess Barbie: unachievable measurements, designer purse and annoyed scowl included! 

And Josh, Drew's best friend, who has his own share of pain in his life. People give Josh a wide berth, not going near him or talking to him. Everyone in Josh's life and died, as if he is a curse to anyone he loves. Josh spends his time woodworking, making furniture. At school as well as at home in his garage, where Nastya spends her time watching him work, in silence. 

“I wished my mother was here tonight, which is stupid, because it’s an impossible wish.” He shrugs and turns to me, drowning the smile that cracks me every time. 
“It’s not stupid to want to see her again.” 
“It wasn't so much that I wanted to see her again,” he says, looking at me with the depth of more than seventeen years in his eyes. “I wanted her to see you.” 

Nastya begins spending all of her time in Josh's garage, the only place she's felt comfortable in the last 3 years, with Josh, the only person who doesn't expect anything from her. But pain eventually catches up to everyone, regardless of how much you try to hide, or avoid. But can Nastya and Josh survive the explosion that we know is coming?

"I think a lot about all the little things that happened the day I was attacked and how any one of them might have changed everything. I wonder how many thousands of variables played a part in him finding me that day and if there are as many at work in my finding him." 

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