The Sea Of Tranquility | Katja Millay | Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Sea Of Tranquility | Katja Millay | Book ReviewThe Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Published by Simon and Schuster on June 4, 2013
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, New Adult, Coming of Age, Contemporary Women
Pages: 428
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

A School Library Journal Best Book of 2013An ALA/YALSA Alex Award Winner

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.

Two and a half years after an unspeakable tragedy left her a shadow of the girl she once was, Nastya Kashnikov moves to a new town determined to keep her dark past hidden and hold everyone at a distance. But her plans only last so long before she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the one person as isolated as herself: Josh Bennett.

Josh’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. When your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space. Everyone except Nastya who won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But as the undeniable pull between them intensifies, 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.

You ever sit on writing a book review for months because you don’t want to use the wrong words in your review and you can’t quite find the best way to convey just how much a book means to you? I have that situation with The Sea Of Tranquility by Katja Millay, a book I read in December, but haven’t reviewed until just now, March. Y’all, I pretty much am in LOVE with The Sea Of Tranquility – so much so that I was pissed that when I finished it there would not be the possibility of getting a hard copy until June. You see, I wanted a hard copy so that I could flip through it whenever I wanted to revisit certain passages and certain pages — like most normal people, but friends, I don’t often get that MUST OWN FOR REVISIT PURPOSES feelings with a ton of books, at least not lately.

Urghhhh my heart hurts just thinking about the plot. Okay, so The Sea Of Tranquility opens on a totally mopey note. Nastya, one the of the main characters is totally angry and depressed and anxious. She’s also starting at a new school — and is living with her aunt instead of her parents. You see, something super traumatic has happened to Nastya — she used to be a piano playing tragedy, but now she can’t play piano because of what happened to her. At her new school, she dresses all in black, wears short skirts and doesn’t speak to anyone.

Concurrent with Nastya’s storyline is that of Josh Bennett, the boy she meets who is kind of like an island of calm amid the high school crazy – but there is a reason for that. ANYWAYS, as you can start to guess, the two characters really begin to connect with each other and of course a relationship happens. And y’all I do not want to go into too much detail on the plot because it’s best left discovered for yourself so you can have an emotional reaction like I did — as you can see by my goodreads updates:

Goodreads Status Update The Sea Of Tranquility | Good Books And Good Wine

So, at first Nastya is super emo and frustrating and I am all come on girl. But then you know, I realized I was being a dick about how I viewed her. You see, when people have PTSD there are going to be certain triggers and certain behavior changes. So, of course I can’t just expect Nastya to be totally normal — and that would have undermined her growth. Oh man you guys, just thinking about how far she came in The Sea Of Tranquility puts a smile on my face. I thought her pain came across as very authentic, given the circumstances. I also really found myself rooting for her, once I realized I was being an asshole about her character. Y’all, I was beyond invested in Nastya. OH and she has a penchant for making dessert which lol, I liked reading about.

Which brings me to the other point of view character, Josh Bennett. Yo, this kid is tragedy city. You see, his mom and sister died in a tragic accident while he was young. His dad died. His grandma died. And his grandpa died. So, like, you can obviously guess why he does not let people close to him except for his best friend Drew. Anyways, he feels a certain connection with Nastya, when she shows up at his house out of the blue — because she’s going for a run and gets lost. So, Josh is really into carpentry and you guys I never thought I would swoon for that but MMMM MMM girl it is good. Anyways, he does a few jerk moves, like a typical boy, BUT also grows as well.

So you would think a book where one of the main characters doesn’t speak would be bereft of dialogue, right? Wrong. Y’all, just because Nastya doesn’t speak doesn’t mean the other characters don’t. So, like the characters in this book do swear – a lot. But it’s okay because they are older teens and that’s what older teens do. I thought the dialogue seemed real. ALSO ALSO the pacing is perfect. Like, I thought The Sea Of Tranquility would take me forever to read because it’s very long. Yet, I totally could not set it down and read, legit 200 pages in one day.

The pacing is utterly perfect. AND AND the imagery was also something I liked — I could perfectly picture Josh’s garage and Nastya’s jogging route. Finally, in regards to the writing style, I have to say that I loved how it all connects in Katja Millay’s story. Everything comes together so perfectly at the end that I just wanted my own paper copy so that I could flip back to the beginning to see how each thing connects back in and to re-read some of the foreshadowing. Sigh. OMG AND HOW COULD I FORGET! There are side characters and they are done to perfection — from best friend Drew and his amazing loving family

The romance in The Sea Of Tranquility totally deserves it’s own paragraph. I think this book is considered New Adult, because there is sex and it’s actually GOOD. Anyways, THIS BOOK IS WHAT I WANT NEW ADULT TO BE. Like, there are so many swoons. There is a slow burn between the two, there is no instalove, but a gradual building of trust between Nastya and Josh. It’s perfectly paced – their romance, with a lot of give and take. And omg, I just have to mention that there is intimacy between the two that isn’t based around sex and it’s very sweet to read. But yeah, there’s parts where you might need a cold shower. Seriously, the romance in this book was my favorite and I can’t even pretend that I did not love it.

I don’t know what else I can do to convince you that you need to read The Sea Of Tranquility by Katja Millay without getting all spoilery on you. Look there’s kissing. There’s emotions all over the place — in a good way. Also, there’s well developed side characters. There’s so much I can say about the book months after reading it. I am passionate about The Sea Of Tranquility — I believe in this book and how invested I was in it – like I might as well have been breathing this book. So, seriously, if you want a new adult romance that’s quite serious, don’t let this book pass you up, I beseech you LOL (who says beseech). But seriously, just change your life for the better and check out Katja Millay’s book.

Disclosure: Received for review via Netgalley

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I agree with everything in this review! I never expected to swoon over carpentry but here we are. I need the physical copy of this one YESTERDAY. Fantastic review!

  2. Molly @ wrapped up in books says

    Why haven’t I heard more about this book? It’s been languishing in my I-read pile. Now I’m like “must read now!” This sounds perfect for me.

    I love the conversational tone of your reviews.

  3. Yes! Yes! Yes! I LOVED this book something fierce. I think my favorite aspect was the superb characterization. If you want to learn how to develop characters then this is a fantastic example. I was in a depressed funk for like a week after I finished reading. I just didn’t want to leave!

    • The characterization definitely blew me away. I was so impressed by how well rounded and authentic each of the characters were.

      That’s interesting — I think when I read this I read another really good book right after, which helps.

  4. I have been dying to read this and you just made it worse, lol. I can’t wait to get my hands on it, great review!

  5. Congrats on your 800th review on GBaGW!!!

    I’ve had this since it was up on Netgalley but have not read it – my bad! All I have heard is good, good things and now your review, ag! The slow romance really, really appeals to me because I am so sick of insta-love and I agree, I want NA to be like this, not all about drama and insta-love, it needs more depth.

    Will try to read this asap!

    • Thank you so much! It’s not actually my 800th alone, because Allison’s reviews are included in there but it’s still super exciting hahaha, I can’t wait for us to hit 1000!

      This book is super, especially if you are bored of insta-love. There’s so much depth to be had with this book.

      Hope you fall in love with The Sea of Tranquility!

  6. Fabulous review! You tell us all the things we need to know, but not so much we know it all!

  7. There’s definitely been a lot of reviews for this book around the blogging community, and it’s definitely making me want to read it as soon as I can. I like that you pointed out that the romance is good and that sex is pretty much present and handled well in this one.

    • Yeah the reason that there are so many reviews is because this book is hella good. 🙂

      YES! The romance is handled so well, same with the sexual activity. I was very impressed by it.

  8. Oh my gosh, yes yes and one more yes! This book is absolute perfection! I JUST binge read it last week and stayed up until way past my bedtime when I had to work the next day at 530 am…oops. I completely and totally fell IN LOVE with this book. The emtions, the feels, the characters, I just wanted more of them. The characters are just brilliant and beautiful and wounded and I love your entire review!

    • Hehehehe I love it when a book keeps me up past my bedtime — although getting up early the next day totally sucks.

      I KNOW EXACTLY what you mean — I wanted so much more too, in a good way, not that the book was missing anything.

      Thank you so much – I agree the characterization was AMAZING. <3

  9. Wow, it’s been a bit since I read this, but your review is making me remember lots of The Sea of Tranquility I definitely liked it, although I can’t say it is a favorite book of mine. I did love that all the characters were really fleshed out. Pretty much everyone had good characteristics and not-so-good characteristics. I was surprised but how much I ended up liking Drew.

    And Josh – yeah – I love me some handymen! 🙂

  10. Honestly, any review I’ve read for this book has either been a positive review or a negative one yet none have convinced me to give it a try. Until this review. I might need to get this ASAP so awesome review! I’m glad that sex is done right in this book because well, sex is very prevalent in teens lives but is often portrayed as something bad!

  11. I’m glad you liked it! though I found it too depressing for my tastes there were parts of it that were written with pure awesomeness.

  12. ITA! I was VERY happily surprised by this book.

  13. I’ve seen so many great reviews for this one! It’s already on my wishlist, but I might bite the bullet and buy it since I’m pretty sure it’ll be awesome.

    Great review!

  14. I can’t wait to read this! It’s coming up on my TBR pile soon!!

  15. I didn’t really read this whole review but ONLY because I don’t want to know too much about this book before diving in. However, I totally bought this book like two or three months ago when you included it on some TTT list or something and basically sang its praises.

    So look at you… selling books all day long 🙂

  16. Great review and you did the book justice…however, I DO think you meant ‘piano playing prodigy’ instead of tragedy, right? I LOVED the book as well and encourage you to read it a second time. Even though you KNOW what’s going to happen, that somehow enhances the second reading because you find nuances in Ms Millay’s writing that may have been initially obscured because you were SO CAUGHT UP in the story and people. My husband, who’s pretty much a hard ass, read it after I wouldn’t shut up about how GOOD it was…and he wept. He, too, has read it again and felt the same…it was better the second time. It is indeed one of the best books I have EVER read and at 67, I’ve read a lot of them. I am eager for it to come out not only in print but also in audio…I want to gift it to my non-e-reader friends for sure. Thanks for your review…even though the book has so many 5 stars (and up!), yours shines.