Title: The Sea of Tranquility
Author: Katja Millay
Publisher: Atria Books
Source: Review copy from publisher
“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.”
Nastya Kashnikov used to be a happy, fun and loving girl until an incident two years ago that changed her life. She was of the path to recovering until the day she remembered with vivid detail what happened to her on that day. Afraid of what could come out of her mouth she self-imposed a vow of silence.
Nastya was known as a piano prodigy and now she’s just notorious for being gloomy, dark, dress with too short, too tight and too dark clothes and being mute.
Needing to be far from the people that know her story she decides to move with her aunt to a city two hours away from her parents’ house.
The new school is not as bad as she was expecting thanks to the school’s playboy Drew Leighton. Drew is funny and charming and doesn’t care how Nastya dresses or behaves; her not talking humors him and makes him want to know her even more. Drew knows about broody people, his best friend Josh Bennett is the epitome of it.
In his short life Josh has experienced loss like nobody else, he lost his mother and sister when he was just a child, couple of years later he lost his father, now at seventeen, his battling-cancer grandfather is the only person he has left. Being surrounded by death has made of him a recluse with carpentry as his only outlet.
Nastya has trouble sleeping and her nights are plagued by nightmares, her way to deal with it is to run until she too exhausted to think. One of these runs takes her to an unknown neighborhood where she finds a house that brings some memories she can place, the house belongs to Josh; he is home and working on his garage.
After that night most of her runs take her to Josh’s house where she finds the peace she so much seeks and where she feels she belongs.
On the beginning Josh doesn’t know what to think of the mute girl that shows every night at his garage, but after some nights shared in silent company she becomes part of his nights and his life.
Nastya is a shell of what she used to be; now she’s just broken, with no dreams and no hope of a better future. She is not only hurting herself but those who love her too. On the beginning we know something bad happened to her but not exactly what, Mrs. Millay gives us crumbs along the way to entice us and keep us glued to the pages. When we finally learn what happened to Nastya every doubt and reservation about her is left behind.
Josh doesn’t like to get close to people, he has lost everybody he has loved and the last thing he wants is to suffer another loss. Life experiences have not only made him mature beyond his years but also have left him broken and with no expectations in life.
Josh and Nastya relationship is develops slowly, first they are companions, then friends and finally when their walls begin to crumble they become more.
Josh and Nastya lives are dark and sad but luckily for them they have Drew in their lives. Drew pretends to be the uncaring-womanizer jock, but that’s the façade he uses to hide the real caring person he is. Drew brings light and humor to balance a story that without him would have been too dark.
Katja Millay’s writing is flawless, fluid and smart; Her use of symbolisms is masterfully done. The story unravels slowly and is brilliantly executed. The Sea of Tranquility is so well written that is difficult to believe that it is Mrs. Millay’s first book.
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay is an emotional, heartbreaking story about second chances and the power of love. One I recommend you all to read.
I’m looking forward to read more books by Mrs. Millay.
My Verdict: 5 Paws
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