Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Full of rage and without a purpose, former pianist Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone discovering her past and to make the boy who took everything from her pay.
All 17 year-old Josh Bennett wants is to build furniture and be left alone, and everyone allows it because it’s easier to pretend he doesn’t exist. When your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.
Everyone except Nastya, a hot mess of a girl who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. The more he gets to know her, the more of a mystery she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he may ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding or if he even wants to.
The Sea of Tranquility is a slow-building, character-driven romance about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.
Please Note: This book contains mature content including profanity, drug/alcohol use, and sexual situations/language.
I was recommended this book by Magan from Rather Be Reading when I mentioned how I wanted more from Pushing the Limits. And I have to say this is just what the doctor ordered!
As I was reading it, I called this book a ‘slow burn’ book. 100 pages in and the 2 POVs had barely any interaction. I didn’t mind this, others might mind this, I didn’t. Instead you get more focus on the deeply wounded characters. Nastya, who doesn’t talk. To anyone. Ever. And Josh who has had everyone around him, die over the years since he was 8. Which seems like some kind of horrible systematic torture to me.
However, because of the ‘slow burn’ quality it takes a long time to see the relationship grow. For those first 100 pages you not only see the wounded-ness, but the deep isolation that both Nastya and Josh have buried themselves in. I’m usually anti-spoiler, but this is important enough to mention this. These two messed up individuals’ worlds collide when Nastya starts showing up to Josh’s garage where he does his carpentry. She watches him and he lets her. And it’s that subtle, strange moment where they connect and I, for one, loved it. It’s only after this (and still a while after this) that you begin to not only see more of the new and strange relationship, but more facets of Nastya and Josh.
I did have a small issue with the book. It was the ending, or, I guess I should say the ‘climax’ of the book. And I swear I have never complained about this particular thing with a book before, but I felt like the climax written wasn’t quite the right one. I mean, I got it. It achieved what it needed to to get us into the denouement, etc but I felt like the climax itself started off strong then, wandered into the land of, ‘what? Oh. Oh, okay. If you insist.’ It’s very hard spelling it out without doing that spoiling thing. Still, this didn’t ‘ding’ much off as far as the rating went. On Goodreads, I still rated a solid 4.
Similar recommendations: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder.