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The Sea of Tranquility

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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.

380 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 5, 2012

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About the author

Katja Millay

4 books5,147 followers
Katja Millay graduated with a degree in film and television production from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and has worked as a television producer and film studies & screenwriting teacher. Her debut novel The Sea of Tranquility was a recipient of the American Library Association’s Alex Award and was named one of the Best Books of 2013 by the School Library Journal. She currently resides in Florida with her family.

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Profile Image for Sophia..
54 reviews2,548 followers
March 5, 2019

So I ended up creating a new shelf for that book : "Everyone loved but me".
Here I am, all sheepish and disappointed because I, once again, didn’t like a praised Goodreads book as much as I thought I would (should). So many good ratings for this book. So many wonderful reviews, so many people saying they cried over the story. I didn’t. I so fucking didn't.

+ : It’s true what most of the reviewers say, there is no insta love.
- : There is what I call NEVA-LOVE. Or, 800-pages-long-and-still-nothing love. Or how-long-can-it-go-on-without-anything-happening love. Or Let-me-die-of-boredom love.

The pdf file I have for this book is 980 pages long. I don’t know why exactly it’s this long, but what I do know is that it’s a batshit insane amount of pages for a book where NOTHING happens.

So this is how it goes : you start the book, and it’s about a weird girl with a mysterious past and a guy with a tragic past. Okay.
Literally 400 pages later (really, I’m not kidding) you are STILL reading about a weird girl with a mysterious past, and a guy who’s got a tragic past. They are not together, they have talked a little, but that’s it. She still dresses like a slut for no reason (more on that later), he still makes stuff in his garage. That’s it. Like, if-you-miss-20-or-300-pages-you-don’t-miss-anything kind of repetitive. If this were a movie and you wanted to tell your friend what’s happened during the time he went to the bathroom (during a very long moment, like, 300 pages), well, you could answer : NOTHING.

So apparently, this was self published. Well, it shows. There are so many pages, so many scenes, so many description of NOTHING, it was physically painful to read sometimes. Come on, get to the fucking point already. It’s all talking and talking and talking and the plot drags on and on and on and NOTHING. FUCKING. HAPPENS.

Stuff that was cool :

- At some point he buys her a statue of a cat and she names it Voldemort.


*Stares at screen*

That’s about it.

Stuff that was so not cool :

- I am here attempting to relate with someone, somewhere on the GoodReads universe. Did anyone notice how everyone in this book is either beautiful, talented, or BOTH?
Like Nastya. Very early in the book, she says this about her looks :
"I am a carbon copy of my mother."

A couple of chapters later, she says THIS :
"My mother loves her face. It’s not out of arrogance or conceit; it’s out of respect. She’s grateful for what she was born with. She should be. It’s an awesome face, a perfect face, an ethereal face. The kind people write songs and poems and suicide notes about. It’s that exotic kind of beauty that men in romance novels obsess over, even if they have no idea who you are, because they must possess you. That kind of beauty. That’s my mom. I grew up wanting to look just like her. Some people tell me I do, and maybe it’s true, under there somewhere."

So if we sum up, we get something like this:

Nastya's mom : Beautiful and talented (photo).
Nastya : Beautiful and talented (piano).
Josh : Beautiful and talented (construction).
Drew : Beautiful and talented (debator extraordinaire).
Asher : Beautiful and talented (academics)
Drew's mom : Beautiful and talented (mom extraordinaire)
Clay : Talented (drawing).
Yearbook Michelle : Talented (photo).
Addison : Beautiful
Ethan : Beautiful.
Sarah : Beautiful.
Margot : Beautiful.
Leigh : Beautiful.
Tierney : Beautiful.

All those characters, and I do mean all of them, are explicitely described as being gorgeous. That's quite a lot, for a simple book. And as a reader, really, it's annoying. Is anyone remotely normal around here?

Then. The Sunshine thing. Oh my God. So it was cute, like, THE FIRST TIME. I swear, when he started thinking it, I just about lost it. It loses all its charm! I know, I know, he gets her like no one else and she's his sunshine and yada yada. It reminded me of the fucking PIDGE, and we all know that is not something I want to be reminded of. Come on, the girl has a name! Granted, it's not her real name, but still. I get that it was a plot thing because she doesn't really have an idendity etc. etc. but it was so annoying and cliché and unconvincing. What 18-year-old dude calls his not-even girlfriend "Sunshine" even in his mind? Like, "Sunshine grabs a glass of water. Sunshine sits on the couch." REALLY?

Talking about cliché reminds me of this scene, at the end, where they're in poetry class or whatever and they study a poem. I hate this so much. So fucking much. When the author suddenly uses a random teacher in a random class to, like, show how it can help the conflict between the couple. *rolls eyes like a maniac* Can you spell déjà vu? Like in Anna and The French Kiss. They're broken up, TOO, and the teacher talks shit about some book and MIRACLE! It perfectly suits the situation, and the MC is like, "why did I not think about that before?"
Here that happens too, Josh talks about I fucking don't know what actually because I skipped as soon I saw what was happening second chances in a poem and I just can't, people.

I'm sorry, but authors, don't do that, because it's cheap, unconvincing, cliché, unbelievable, annoying, and it basically makes me want to KICK something.

Okay so now that I got that out of the way, I feel like maybe I should talk about the plot, even though it doesn't really exist. So the whole thing about Natsya not talking was a real surprise to me, which I guess was the point. I actually went back and checked to make sure that she genuinely never talked.

But the thing is, somewhere in the book she says she basically talks to herself in the shower to "train" her voice so it won't disappear in case she ever needs it again. That's where I started having a problem with the whole silence thing. Because, see, I can relate to someone who just can't talk anymore. Someone mentioned Speechless and I actually think that the silence thing was better handled in Speechless because at least in there, Chelsea acknowledges the fact that even if she wanted to, she wouldn't be ready to talk yet. Same situation, you say? No, not really. Because here, Natsya chooses to talk with Drew, with Josh, and at some point it really feels like she's just being immature and silly. Like it's just some kind of teenage crisis. She doesn't want to talk to her Mom and stuff so she just pretends she's mute but as soon as there's Josh she's all talkative. The author was probably looking for some effect involving her feeling safe with Josh and stuff but I didn't buy that. I couldn't connect with her because, girl, either you talk or you don't. It's not a game.

And the not-talking was just badly depicted, because being with someone who refuses to talk is just so genuinely awkward and here it never really is. Somehow, I felt like it was glamorized or something. And I could not relate to the way Drew's Mom was so attached to Nastya. Can you imagine inviting a girl over to dinner and she just doesn't produce a sound? (And she dresses like a slut? And she glares at everyone? And she dates your son's best friend? And possibly your son as well? But you're not sure which? So why don't you go and ask her bluntly "Tell me darling. Which one of my boys are you dating?" Because obviously that's so totally believable and realistic.) By the way, that happens. I mean really.

Also at some point Natsya hurts her hand really badly by mishandling a hammer, and she remains perfectly silent. I don't believe that. I mean, had she been in the "I never ever talk" situation, then okay. Because you've lost the reflex of producing sounds for so long. But she's used to talking. She can't even refrain from laughing at the beginning of the book. So I can't buy the whole staying-silent-thing while she gets hurt.

[And before I forget : there is the whole believability thing going on, too. She accidentally hurts her left hand twice. You say nit-picking, I call bullshit. What are the odds? And she also gets attacked twice. And besides : Josh and Natsya are both loaded. Loaded as in, millions. Haha! Besides neither of them plans to go to college, so really. Awesome!]

One of the major problems for me is linked to the writing. You could totally see the purpose of a scene. For example, Josh cuts his hand open (it's a club!) with a freaking chainsaw. And then, Natsya takes off her shirt to stop the bleeding, and he gets a boner, blablah. Do you get it? See, now it's all about the sexual tension, and not really about the cut anymore. And you understand pretty quickly that everything that happens in this book is organized so that the characters end up doing what the author wants them to do. Here, it's not subtle at all. Like Margot who works night shifts. Do you know why? So she can be out of the fucking book most of the time! Or at some point Natsya goes running and it's past midnight and she gets lost. But, ooh, miraculously, she finds Josh's house, and he's awake! He can give her a ride! How convenient.

See what I mean? Every scene was like that. They all have a purpose and even if in theory that's fine, in practice you shouldn't be able to tell the purpose before the scene even happens.

There's another problem, which is, well, the way men are portrayed in this book. I'm not sure if I'm the only one noticing and thinking this but Ethan, Kevin Leonard, Aidan, even Drew are all portrayed like total assholes towards girls. They treat girls like shit, they're sex obsessed, to the point of violence (even Drew hits the locker when he asks Sarah for money), bullying (Ethan spreading awful rumors about Natsya) or flat out sexual harassment and assault. I don't know if American girls can relate to the way high school guys are portrayed in this book, but personally I had a hard time doing so. The only other guys who offer an alternative are gay Clay Whitaker and love interest Josh. I don't know, but I feel like the general portrayal of the male gender was too extreme.

About the ending : it bothered me like hell that Aidan (the guy who attacked her) was given an excuse. I would have liked it better if the motives behind the actions had been left unsaid. Because, let's face it, sometimes there's just no reason. That's what's terrible.
But in the book, there were way too many reasons. So his brother committed suicide, because of a Russian girl, and he mistook her for that girl, and he was so super upset and after all, WHY DON'T WE FORGIVE HIM, HUH? She actually writes a letter to the fucking court to tell them that everyone deserves a second chance.

That sounds suspiciously like victim blaming bullshit to me. What, next thing we know, she'll say that she was at the wrong place at the wrong moment? Oh, I'm sorry. Next time you'll just have to check if you're not in the way, you silly thing.

Which leads me to Nastya's story. First off, I think the author took too much time to finally spill it. Especially when it's not THAT incredible. Okay, it's sick and everything, but really during the book you try to guess and you start to imagine really twisted stuff and then when you finally learn what it is, it kinda falls flat. It didn't live up to what I had imagined. Because, err.. Really? Is that it? There is no huge revelation, nothing you couldn't guess, anyway. And once that you do know, well, it's almost the end of the book!

I couldn't relate to her story and the way she dealt with it. It didn't feel real to me. Why did she dress like a slut again? As an "undead whore"? So she was randomly beaten by a stranger who called her a Russian whore. Okay, that's horrible. Three years later, she dresses like a Russian whore. Excuse me, what? Why? She says it's so people will leave her alone. Or something like "They're gonna look at me anyway, they might as well look at my ass." I'm sorry? Am I supposed to feel for her? And how is dressing like a total slut protecting you from unwanted attention?

I genuinely had a hard time relating to Natsya. I know she suffered and stuff but most of the time it came off as shallow to me. Like her parents are trying to help her, her mom calls her to invite her to a Thanksgiving holiday, and she says this :
"And I’m not going. I’ll be miserable and then everyone will be miserable and it’ll be my fault. Again. I’m tired of being responsible for other people’s misery. I can’t even put up with my own."

*Sigh* So much teen angst. I'm sorry, this is just so emo.

Inconsistencies :

* WHAT family would leave the troubled daughter like this? She is completely unprotected, she sees no doctor, everyone acts like the no-talking is normal, no one ever checks how she's doing in school or if she plans to go to college. Why was she staying at Margot's again? Who ever thought that this was a good idea? Margot is the worst parental supervision you could ever imagine. She's never here, she's shallow and has no authority or emotional proximity with Natsya whatsoever. And Nastya's all alone all the time.

* And what kind of dad would stop talking to their own daughter like that? She's been assaulted, and she doesn't talk anymore. Obviously the girl's been traumatized. She doesn't want to be called Milly (family nickname) anymore but come on, if you're a good parent you don't stop calling her that because she asked you. Obviously she feels like she doesn't deserved to be loved anymore or something like that, but you don't just leave her alone! You don't just stop talking to her or start avoiding looking at her. That's ridiculous. Your daughter's in pain, jackass! (And you don't leave her without any kind of medical supervision either, but that's another problem.) Shittiest parents ever, I swear.

* The name changing thing was clumsy and, well, made no sense. Why did the adults go with it? How come the SCHOOL agreed?

* Ah, the high school. Yes. Okay, so let me get something straight. Nastya is new + she's weird + she dresses like a slut + she wears tons of make up + she doesn't talk + she glares at everyone + she acts condescending and never makes an effort to socialize + there are countless rumors about her = FREAK and NO friend. It might be harsh but that's how high school works. And there is NO high school, NONE, that would make her part of the popular crowd immediately after her arrival (nor after, for that matter.) No way.

* In the middle of the book Nastya says she's afraid to go out in daylight. So... we're just supposed to ignore the first part of the book where it's basically set in daylight, right? 'Kay, we'll just ignore it. And she goes running every night. Most of the time she doesn't bother with her cell phone. Come on, no girls in their right minds would do that. Especially when you've already been assaulted. I know, she wants to self destruct or whatever, but... still. I don't buy it.

* Kevin Leonard. You know, the guy who basically tried to RAPE her at a party? So he faced no consequence whatsoever for his actions? And we're supposed to be okay with that?

* Also. Okay so now we're in Extreme Nit-Picking territory. Plus, it's gruesome.

Just to conclude on a positive note (ha!), I did love one aspect of the book. The "garage thing". You know. *Wink wink* But that's pretty much it.

Honestly, I'm not trying to discourage people from reading this book. Go and see by yourself. This review is more aimed at people who have read the book rather than those who haven't and who are wondering if they should or not. Go ahead, who knows, maybe you'll love it! But I'm just dumbfounded to see all these glowing praises because for me, this book doesn't deserve them. It's okay, I guess, but certainly not incredible. I personally think it's just barely average. The fact that it's so overrated is really what made me write a review in the first place.

Anyway. The book was too long, the romance was predictable and cliché, and there are so many plot holes. This book left me exhausted, and very unimpressed. 2 stars.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,809 reviews32.4k followers
February 22, 2023
An infinite amount of stars!

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Beautiful, emotional, powerful, and unforgettable. There is a reason why I love this book so much. It gets better and better with every read. This is easily my favorite book. Period. A story of strength, love, forgiveness, healing, moving on, letting go, and second chances. Both main characters are amazing. They are damaged, broken and perfectly imperfect. There are so many other secondary characters you will fall in love with (Drew ♥). After re-reading this again, I was going to give it a proper review, but I don’t really think it needs it. The quotes speak for the book. And the fact that it’s my favorite book says a lot. The very ending.... gives me goosebumps and makes me cry happy tears. It doesn’t matter what type of books you like, I recommend this book all the time, to everyone I know. So if you haven’t read it, it’s one you aren’t going to want to pass up!
“I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants of 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 and walk.”

“What? Sunshine fits you. It's bright and warm and happy. Just. Like. You.”

 photo 6bcabe33-8bdc-4f74-9ef2-65b55ea88503_zps7f0e2855.jpg
“Good Morning, Sunshine!" Josh Fucking Bennett. By now, I'm pretty sure that if I were to find his birth certificate that is exactly what it would say.

“People like to say love is unconditional, but it's not, and even if it was unconditional, it's still never free. There's always an expectation attached. They always want something in return. Like they want you to be happy or whatever and that makes you automatically responsible for their happiness because they won't be happy unless you are ... I just don't want that responsibility.”

 photo 76827380-cdd1-4c9a-a8d8-4e8a920876e2_zps51198c16.jpg
“When you look at her what do you feel?... Joy, fear, frustration, longing, friendship, anger, need, despair, love, lust?"
"Yes, what?"
"All of it.”

 photo 326ee205-c88b-499b-94be-f184b518eb4a_zps52820476.jpg
And maybe I'm a liar and I do need it, because being kissed by Josh Bennet is kind of like being saved. It's a promise and a memory of the future and a book of better stories.

 photo ab1013d0-0e83-4f91-a175-101da3b397bb_zps4393749d.jpg
“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.”

"Every day you save me.”

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Profile Image for jessica.
2,533 reviews32.3k followers
March 4, 2022
love this even more the second time around.

if you are wanting a YA book that isn��t actually YA - read this.

even though the main character are teenagers, i kept forgetting that little fact. everything is just so… mature? complex? well-developed? i dunno. but its definitely more NA.

and i have such a soft spot for characters who come from broken backgrounds and seeing them develop the strength to rise above them. and for that reason, it feels like nastya and josh were written just for me. <3

5 stars
Profile Image for Tough Critic Book Reviews.
308 reviews2,156 followers
November 4, 2012
Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=...

This book amazed the funny right out of me, but replaced it with something more. So much more that I can't even curse properly! It was so well written it hurt. By the end I was bled completely dry of all thought...all emotion!

I was so incredibly close to just repeating, "OH MY GOD, WOW! OH MY GOD, WOW! GET ME A DRINK! OH MY GOD, WOW!", over and over again for this review, but it's important for me to let you know exactly how this book made me feel. How it affected me. How it became part of me.

At first I thought it started off slow, but I'm convinced now that this was for my own good. I needed to put my baby toe in the water first. I don't think I could have survived being thrown in. I needed that time. Please...PLEASE don't give up on this book. You have to trust me that it's all part of the journey, part of the experience.

There were times where I felt physically ill. I wanted to throw up. Maybe I did. In my mouth. Just a little bit. There was even a point where I wondered why my kindle kept moving. I realized that it was my shaking hands, my pounding heart and my heaving chest that kept causing my kindle to have a seizure!

You're probably asking yourself how could someone possibly get so emotional about a book. Easy. At some point between the soulful dialogue and raw emotion...this book became real. The words defined romance and the characters touched my heart.

There was something about the emotion of this book that was almost cleansing. I felt, I broke, but I healed! The Sea of Tranquility reminded me that books aren't just entertaining; they're more than that. This was more than that. It caused me to feel, invaded my thoughts, my heart...it became a part of me. READ ON!

Profile Image for Aestas Book Blog.
1,059 reviews74.8k followers
May 20, 2013

Beautiful. Powerful. Deep. Heart-wrenching. Believable. Uplifting. Unforgettable. A must-read!!

WOW. 5+ stars. One of my favorite reads of the year!

The Sea of Tranquility is a beautifully written, deep and heart-wrenching drama about two damaged teens surviving unchangeable tragedies, and devastating grief, hurt, and pain; learning to cope with them, accept them, and somehow finding healing, safety and finally happiness and love in each other along the way.

Its quiet and very, very slow building but it just felt SO real and believable. Without my even realizing it, this quiet book had me worked up to the point where my heart was pounding and felt like it was being being ripped out. The emotional punch took a while to build, but when it hit, it was huge and powerful and took my breath away.

This is not your typical romance where boy meets girl and they live happily ever after. I'd call it more of a character-driven drama with a bit of a YA romance in it. It highlights the realities, horrors and imperfections of life (and, yes, love) while still having a powerfully uplifting ending,

"My name is Nastya Kashnikov.
I was a piano-playing prodigy...
I was murdered two and a half years ago.

Nastya is a beautiful, bright seventeen year old girl struggling with having her dreams and life as she knew it shattered two years ago by a random act of violence. At her new school, she meets Josh, a guy who just wants to build things and be left alone, who everyone avoids and yet no one messes with. Surrounded by worlds of pain, death and self-imposed isolation, both of them have survived hurts no one their age should ever have been through and are both struggling with having survived and living with that pain every day.

One night, out on a run, Nastya ends up at Josh's house. He's there, in his garage that's filled with tools and wood and he's making something. For the first time in a long time, Nastya feels a connection of sorts with him and just sits down, quietly and watches him work. She keeps coming back every day and so begins their strange, yet beautiful relationship.

"When you look at her what do you feel? ... Joy, fear, frustration, longing, friendship, anger, need, despair, love, lust."
"Yes, what?"
"All of it."

Its not romantic for a long time, but rather what built between them is a sort of companionship or friendship based on mutual understanding, empathy, and trust as they slowly open up and confide their secrets in each other.

"I know at that moment what he's given me...the knowledge that I am accepted here... He's given me a place to belong."

The thing I loved about Nastya was that she was fragile in some ways, but absolutely tough as nails in others. She wasn't helpless or frail, despite a part of her soul being broken. She was strong, intelligent, witty, perceptive and although she made choices that people around her didn't understand, they were her choices to make. She was sad and angry, dealing with a tragic act of random cruelty that took away her dreams. So she copes with it in the best way she knows how, by doing what feels right to her, not what anyone else wanted her to do. I loved that about her.

"Eventually, my body healed as much as it was going to. My mind started getting put back together, too. I think it's just that the pieces got put back a little out of order. It seems like the more my body healed, the more fractured my mind became, and there aren't enough wires and screws to fix the breaks in it."

"With any other girl I could probably pull the classic guy fail-safe of walking over and wrapping my arms around her and letting her put her head on my shoulder. It's cheap, but it works. Drew swear by it. But I'm afraid that in this particular instance it would result in one of two things: a string of innovative new expletives or her knee in my balls. My money's on the knee."

Josh was a beautiful character. Quiet, a bit of a loner, but deeply understanding, caring and protective. What I loved most about him was how strongly he respected her boundaries - giving her a safe zone to her be herself. The real her. The one she feels she has to hide from the world. Giving her the space and security of being able to share exactly as much or as little of herself as she wanted. No judgments. No questions. No obligations. He knew that she areas of her that were locked up in her hurt and he never pushed her outside her comfort zone, no matter how badly he wanted to know what happened to her.

"He needs to be able to fix things and make it all better; to believe that you’re okay so that he can believe he’s okay.”

The book starts out quiet and somber. It is slow building in every possibly way. Nothing is rushed. And although I loved it, a part of me wished something major would happen because of how slowly the story built and the romance-story lover in me wanted them to become a couple sooner (their first date is at about 65%) but having finished it and looking back on the pacing of the story, I can understand why it was the way it was. In the end, the slowness contributed to how powerfully the ending hit. And the ending was really, really beautiful.

And by really, really beautiful, I mean that I read the last two words over and over again with tears in my eyes and my hand over my mouth. I literally just sat there crying, rereading the page, letting the powerful emotional punch hit me every time. (And don't go flipping to the back of the book to see what those words are! Seriously, you'll ruin the whole book if you do and there's no getting it back...)

The author is an amazingly gifted, brilliant storyteller. The book is worth reading for the writing alone. Her style is beautiful, evocative, poetic, and deeply meaningful. I'm very much looking forward to more of her work.

If you are looking for a hard-core romance, maybe wait before you pick this one up, but everyone should read this book at some point in their lives. It was GORGEOUS and unforgettable. A must-read!!

**EDIT: little added note here - I've been asked by some people about this. This is not a story of tragedy. Parts of it are sad, but the tragedies happen before the book begins and it's about the characters dealing with it. So don't worry, all your favs characters will still be there in the end!! Fear not!

Here's how I'd cast Josh and Nastya:

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Profile Image for Kristin (KC).
251 reviews25.1k followers
August 20, 2018
*5+++ Stars!*

Beautifully tragic and powerfully uplifting!

The Sea Of Tranquility is quite possibly one of the most beautifully written books I've read in its genre. The five stars allotted for rating just don't seem to suffice. Everything about this book pulled me in: from the ample rave reviews decorating Goodreads, to its calming title and enchanting cover--yet all of this was rendered insignificant when I became captured by the artistry within. 

The story opens with a powerful prologue, igniting instant intrigue. We are introduced to the horrific aftermath of Nastya's tragedy, but won't learn of its details until later on as these layers quietly unfold. 

Nastya is a girl who’s lost her identity, and with it, her will to live a life consisting of anything more than barely existing. She has survived a heart-wrenching trauma that has left her a broken shell of the hopeful person she once was. When the pressures of pretending to be 'okay' around her parents become too great, she moves in with her aunt and reluctantly attends high school again. Nastya transforms her look in hopes to deflect all attention to her provocative appearance--rather than the turmoil festering within. 

Contrary to the weaknesses Natsya carried, she had a vigorous inner strength that surprised me. Her witty narrative was captivating and her inner dialogue flowed as gracefully as the music she once played. 

When Nastya meets the entrancing Josh Bennett, the safe and twisted world she'd created begins to shift. Josh is equally broken and lost, and concealed entirely from the world around him. He has suffered great loss and has been wrapped in a social bandaid of denial by the terrified people around him who ignorantly believe that what they ignore cannot exist...

I'm utterly floored by this author's ability to move me so dramatically with words. The writing was flawless, and the symbolism that drenched each page was extraordinary. I find it fascinating when a story can create conflicting emotions simultaneously; I was incredibly somber, yet so hopeful and even happy. But my favorite message this story presented was the ability to appreciate and live the life you have, instead of regretting the one you don't...and, of course, the dream of second chances.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Book Stats:
▪ Genre/Category: New Adult
▪ Romance: A gradual connection. Angsty, but beautiful.
▪ Characters: Damaged but redeemable. Broken yet strong. Excellent portrayals.
▪ Plot: Highly emotional and heartbreaking. Mystery with a slow reveal.
▪ Writing: Gorgeous. Symbolic and insightful.
▪ POV: First person: Alternating, dual perspectives.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
February 6, 2013

Oh my god, I just don't know what to say about this book. I seriously considered leaving the rating blank because The Sea of Tranquility isn't something that can easily be summed up in stars, my feelings for it are much more complex than that. I do realise that I'm pretty much the only person in the universe who gave this less than 4 stars (and most gave it 5) and there are a number of reasons, but I'll get to those in a minute. But it's important to know that 3 stars isn't really accurate at all. On goodreads, 3 stars means "I liked it" and I think I can say that there were no parts of this book that fit that description: I either loved it or was annoyed by it. There were 5-star bits and there were 1-star bits and somehow my rating has fallen somewhere in the middle.

Let me tell you what I loved.

This book is brimming with emotion. It's an intense, painful read about two complicated individuals who are both haunted by their pasts and find some level of solace in each other. There were parts that were so equally beautiful and painful that I was hanging on every word, propelled along by Millay's gorgeous writing and often hilarious dialogue. Nastya is easy to love, from her original snarkiness that should have you laughing to the darker sides of her character that will draw you in and make you need to know her secrets. And, boy, does she have secrets. I also quite liked reading about her obsession with names and their meanings, even though it was incredibly cheesy that the love interest's name - Josh - means salvation. Cue eye roll.

I think one of the best bits of this novel, though, was Drew. He was the only character who surprised me, the one who was introduced as a typical lecherous jerk and developed into something much more real and entirely lovable. I really love it when characters turn out to be more interesting than I expected them to be and Drew definitely delivered on that front. Plus, he is the source of some much-needed comic relief in this rather dark story, providing many laughs and memorable moments.


This is a standard contemporary YA romance. With standard contemporary YA romance characters who have standard contemporary YA romance angst-filled issues. Which I guess is absolutely fine if you find yourself returning to this genre again and again in search of the same goods you got last time. In fact, this novel is perfect for fans of Pushing the Limits (another book I felt conflicted about), they offer me some basic entertainment but they follow the same pattern and are completely predictable. They use stereotypes for characters (except, like I said, Drew), they always feature issue-ridden protagonists who need saving, the relationships always evolve through the same cycle of doubt, jealousy and general angst. Oh, and now attempted rape scenes seem to be a requirement as well.

Even though I did grow to like Josh more towards the end, I had a lot of trouble with his character to start with and I never fully recovered from it. In some ways, he reminded me of Ethan from Beautiful Creatures in that he saw himself (and eventually Nastya too) as being morally above everyone else. He is more critical of himself as the novel progresses but I found myself really annoyed at him for turning his nose up at the "vapid, cute and popular" girls who flirt with guys. The usual stereotypes are employed here, using the blonde, pretty and popular girl as an unnecessarily mean airhead. She's even called "pretty in an obvious way"... what does that even mean? And that's such a horrible, bitchy comment. Josh even comments on how morally superior he is to Drew by saying "I don't think I'd be desperate enough to sink to Drew's level". This is why I found it really hard to care about the guy. Nastya, of course, doesn't try to hook up with all the hot guys so she is also a morally superior being in Josh's eyes. For a further example, see my status update: http://www.goodreads.com/user_status/...

On top of that, it's all just a little too cheesy for me at times - an odd thing to say for a book that is simultaneously so dark - but one thing I really can't stand in romance novels is pet names. I find it gross, actually. And in this Josh always calls Nastya "sunshine" and I just do not think it's cute. I know some readers will and that's great, but I just... ugh *vomits* And back to the whole saving thing, Josh even gets in this line that I don't think I could physically make my vocal cords say out loud: "every day you save me". This is obviously a matter of taste and perhaps your eyes are filling up right now when you read that. If so, this is the book for you, but it doesn't do it for me. I think it even takes something away from the very real emotion when they say something that's straight out of your standard romcom. But, to end on one last positive, Millay writes sex scenes that are handled expertly, honestly and gave me a few tugs on the old heartstrings. This book ticks the boxes at both ends of the scale for me, but it will definitely be your new favourite if you love contemporary romance.
Profile Image for TheCrazyWorldOfABookLover.
362 reviews862 followers
September 2, 2022
**STILL ON SALE!!!! | http://amzn.to/2vG2VU1 **

*The Most Amount of Stars I Can Give*

“I love you, Sunshine,” I tell her, before I lose my nerve. “And I don’t give a shit whether you want me to or not.”


This…This right here…This is the kind of story that makes you appreciate words. Makes you appreciate when nouns and verbs and adjectives are strung together to form these magical little sentences that touch your heart and you don't even know they're doing it until you're so sucked into the story you can't put it down and 4 hours have gone by and you haven't eaten or moved or even blinked because you couldn't possibly stop.

And then he kisses me. Tentatively at first, waiting for something, but there isn’t any need. I would kiss him forever. I will kiss him forever. I know it like I know my own name.

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That's what this book did. It makes you feel it all. Every word. Every character. Every scene. Every heartbreak. Every SINGLE THING.

“When you look at her what do you feel?... 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.


It was captivating, heartbreaking, haunting, romantic, hypnotizing, ballsy, antsy, broken, and an all-time favorite of mine. The characters were probably the most realistic I have ever come across and broke my heart and put it back together again.

“maybe I’m a liar and I do need it, because being kissed by Josh Bennett is kind of like being saved. It’s a promise and a memory of the future and a book of better stories.”

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I was swept away by its power and there was not one rushed moment, not one wasted scene. The slow build of the story just contributed to such a powerful, amazing ending.
And it had quite possibly THE MOST AMAZING ENDING TO A STORY I HAVE EVER READ. The two words it ended on? The epitome of brilliance. Perfection.

“It’s not a good enough reason.”
“You are the only good reason.”

I wouldn’t have changed a single thing. ANYONE AND EVERYONE needs to pick up this book. I cannot stress enough how much I LOVED IT and what a beautiful tale about forgiveness, love, and second chances it was.

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Profile Image for Alexis *Reality Bites*.
757 reviews3,659 followers
September 8, 2014
Spoiler Free Review -READ THIS BOOK NOW! IT'S A MUST READ!!!
5 STARS out of 5
Genre: YA Romance-Mature Content


'Dying isn't so bad after you've done it once.
And I have.
I'm not afraid of death anymore.
I'm afraid of everything else.'

Nastya Kashinkov is a self inflicted mute at age seventeen. She was once an accomplished pianist but then something happens. She dies. She dies a horrific brutal violent death. Yes, death touches her for ninety six seconds before she is brought back to life. Only to come back ruined with no memory of how she got that way. And then one day she remembers. She remembers him. And what he did. Unwilling to tell a soul...

She decides to run.

She runs from everything and everyone she knows. Her Father can't save her, her mother can't save her and her brother can't save her. Hell she is convinced that she can't be saved. So she moves two hours away to live with her aunt Margot. Now in a new town and a new school where no one knows her or the horrific thing that happened to her. With hopes to graduate without anyone finding out who she really is so she can move on with her life.
Then a late night run changes everything when it leads her to Josh Bennett's garage.

Josh Bennett's life has been a perfect storm called DEATH that has left him a soul survivor at seventeen years old. He has lost everyone his mother, sister, father and both grandparents. When he is not in school he is in his garage building something. If he is not in his garage building then he is at Home Depot getting materials so that he can build something. See the pattern/passion?! This of course makes sense when you learn his favorite class at school is shop. His love for building developed young when he was taught by his dad, it was something they enjoyed to do together.
Josh may not be a mute but he is definitely a loner. A loner that just so happens to have a best-friend that is his exact opposite. Drew. At school Josh is given clear space. What I'm saying is nobody F's with this kid. Period. And that's just the way he like's it.

Nastya is drawn to Josh. She practically pushes her way in to his life whether he wants her in it or not. Love eventually blooms.
She starts to feel safe. Finally.
And he starts to feel terrified. Because he has lost everyone he loves.


This book was filled with unforgettable moments and lines. It easily rates in my TOP TWENTY of the best books I have read in 2012. And it's in the top five percentile no doubt. It has a perfect balance of
mystery, humor, romance, and intensity.
The use of symbolism comes at you in so many ways that your brain races to catch up to it. It was used with hands, notebooks, clothes, and names. For instance hands. Nastya obsessed over other peoples ability to use their natural talents with just their hands. Her jealousy was potent at times because of the loss she herself experienced with her hands.

One of the many things that makes this book awesome is the character development. The author does a very good job with allowing you to get to know each main character and what makes them tick. You feel their actions said and unsaid. You understand why they choose to do certain things for example why they hold back or why they give you just enough. Another awesome thing was the secondary love story with Drew and Tierney. I loved these two! I would love to see Drew have his own book I adored his character. Just thought I would throw that in to the universe to see what happens. **wink,wink**

Fave Phrase

"Distractingly Pretty"

Fave Thing Unsaid
'I know at the moment what he has given me and it's not a chair. It's an invitation, a welcome, the knowledge that I am accepted here. He hasn't given me a place to sit. He's given me a place to belong.'

Fave Lines
"Because she's mine and I don't want you touching her."

Unforgettable Lines
"You weren't suppose to kill me."

"Why Resurrection?" Drew Asks.
"Because she died,"
her mother says, looking so much like sunshine that it unnerves me. "And she came back."

Other fave moments include wishing on pennies, a garage, antique shopping and some non-verbal communication!

This book is a MUST READ!! And I look forward to reading more from this author.

My Ratings
Characters- Lovable
Writing Style- Excellent, very solid and forth right
Plot/Storyline- Raw, Intense, Honest and Compelling
Steam Factor- Moderately Steamy
Overall- First Rate. I LOVED IT! A MUST READ!

Now go forth and read. Then come tell us about it on Goodreads!
Profile Image for Bibi.
1,282 reviews3,268 followers
June 20, 2017
So many glowing reviews for The Sea of Tranquility, yet, I DNFed at 50%.

Why? Because:

1. Nastya is a twit.

2. Josh is a caricature

3. Both sound virtually identical. At a point, I couldn't distinguish whose POV I just read. Josh and Nastya were the same character, IMO.

4. Why should I care about their class schedules or which teacher was an idiot or the high school angst? I mean, who cares?

5. Nastya is a twat and I felt zero empathy (sympathy) for her ordeal.

6. Not enough plot. I respect all the 5-star reviews but, I simply don't get it.
Profile Image for Maria✦❋Steamy Reads Blog❋✦.
662 reviews2,414 followers
October 20, 2016

“Some things you just have to learn to live with.”

Nastya doesn't talk. Not because she can't but because she chooses not to. She tries to go through life unnoticed, while never forgetting that day when her life got taken away from her.

➦In an attempt to restart her life, Nastya attends a new high school where nobody knows her. She meets a boy named Josh , who is not without problems of his own. They become friends and end up helping each other heal.

➦I know I'm 4 years too late to the party here but I'm glad I finally ended up reading this book. Better late than never! I really liked the message this book sends. This is definitely a type of book young adults should be reading.

➦This story reminds us all that sometimes bad shit happens and it's nobody's fault. Sometimes you are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's a story about dealing with pain, accepting your fate and moving on with your life. It's a story about letting others in on your suffering and helping you heal. No matter how hard that might be.

❤This book is wonderfully written, well paced and has really good character development. The two main characters made slow progress going from strangers skeptical of each other to friends... and eventually to lovers. There is slow burn romance here but if you are looking for steam this is not that type of book. The emphasis of the story is on forgiving, letting go and moving on.

❤I recommend you read this book if you've had it on your TBR for the longest time. (like me!) Fans of Amy Harmon (think Making Faces by Amy Harmon ) would probably enjoy this type of story. If you like second chance stories and slow burn romance I suggest you pick this book up and give it a chance! (Dual POV)

This was a buddy read with Maida»-(¯`v´¯)-»
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Profile Image for Debra .
2,280 reviews35k followers
August 23, 2020
I loved this book! The Sea of Tranquility is beautifully written. The words are beautiful and often flowed like water. Katja Millay really knocked it out of the ball park with her debut novel. I loved that it wasn't a typical YA romance book - it is so much more than that. It is heart breaking, it is sad, it is tragic, it is uplifting, it is a journey of sorts,it is about hope, it is about second chances, it's about survival, it's about starting over, it's about finding your way home. This book is full of characters that feel real, they are flawed, they make mistakes, they are beautiful and they are likable. I really enjoyed the character development. I also liked how the story unfolded and the reader learns more and more about what happened to Sunshine/Nastya. I don't really want to say what happens in this book because I don't want to give any of the story away. I love books that make me think and feel and this book did that. I may have also shed a tear or two (or three). I highly recommend The Sea of Tranquility!

Profile Image for Annie Brewer.
Author 15 books761 followers
October 25, 2012
*SOB* God dammit. I've been crying for like the last hour. Fucking shit...my heart hurts, my nose is running and my eyes are puffy. To say this book broke me would be an understatement. I can't write a proper review at the moment because I'm an emotional wreck...devastation. But I will say...well hell now I'm at a loss for words choked up...nothing is coming to me. Once I can get my emotions in order, I will attempt at a good review. Bravo Katja, this book topped my list. I love you....seriously. I love you, not like that...but you're definitely one of my top favorite authors. Oh and I WANT JOSH FUCKING BENNETT!!!!!!!!!!!

Review to come.

Updated Review:


These are the things that come to mind when I think of this book. I didn't want to finish it...ever. I wish I could experience it again but I am not sure my heart could take it just yet. But soon, I will read it again, because I need to. And I want to. I can't get this book or the characters out of my head. I took a small nap and the last thing I thought about as tears were still coming down my face was....Josh and all his gloriousness. *sigh*

My Review:

There's a girl.

And there's a boy.

Both lost and broken from their pasts. They are just trying to move through the motions and figure out where they fit in with the fucked up world that they're forced to live in. Neither of them want it, so they stay away from others as much as possible. Everyone ignores them at school, like they're some kind of freaks-and in a way they are. But they don't care being ignored because it's better than facing their reality. And the reality is this:

Nastya had a traumatic event in her life and she moved away from her home and family to live with her Aunt Margot to escape to gain a new identity at a new school and to be alone where no one will acknowledge her existence. And she likes it that way.

Josh Bennett is a lost and lonely boy who lost everything. He lost his family and became alone. He has one best friend Drew who is at his side no matter what. And he's the kind of friend that he needs to keep him in line but also that will give Josh his space. He also has Drew's amazing parents and sister(which you kind of hate for a bit of the book) but eventually she turns out okay. Josh sits in the courtyard at school everyday like a ghost, where no one fucks with him. No one acknowledges his existence either...except Nastya.

Once she enters his world, there's no going back. Their chemistry sizzles and it's utterly captivating and beautiful. But she doesn't open up to him right away and he doesn't either. It's a prolonging process but it's amazing. She's intrigued by the fact that not a single person(other than Drew Leighton) will go near him so she sticks around to solve the mystery that is Josh Fucking Bennett. In which case, they eventually solve each other.

My Thoughts:

Okay, I'm still in tears when I think about this book because I didn't know what to expect coming into it when I bought it. I saw the amazing amount of raving reviews and my interest was piqued. So I bought it and even put a couple of other (really awesome and amazing I might add) books I was reading beforehand on hold because once I opened this book I couldn't stop. Though it took me 2 days to read it, and I could have read it in one day, I took my time because every page was enthralling and mesmerizing. I didn't want to stop yet I didn't want to be finished just yet either. My heart broke, my lungs burned, my eyes stung, my nose ran like a faucet. I smiled, I laughed, I cried like a baby that I am and most of all, I LOVED. I loved everything about this book. I loved the characters. I loved the story(eventhough it was really heartbreaking), I loved the banters between the characters. I loved the writing-so compelling and smooth and perfect. I was frustrated with both Nastya and Josh at times, but my love for them never faltered because I understood why they made the choices they did.

The characters....let me say, these characters will FOREVER hold a place in my heart. Each one carried something amazing and awesome to the story. Drew was funny and he was a great friend to both Nastya and Josh. I loved his sexual innuendos. Damn, he was a sarcastic ass, but the best kind. Mr and Mrs Leghton were great too. They really showed their caring side for Josh and really looked out for him and they were welcoming to Nastya the first time they met her. Sunday dinner at the Leighton's house was nothing short of amusing and entertaining. I felt like I was there with them. Sarah(Drew's sister), again she pissed me off but I learned to be okay with her. Tierny, I would have liked to see more of her in it but from what I did get of her was great. I could tell she cared for Drew. I wished they would get their shit together though and admit their feelings(wishful thinking, I know since they are both stubborn as Hell). Nastya's parents weren't in it too much but enough to know I loved them. They went through hell at the events that took place a couple years ago with their daughter. I can't imagine the pain they suffered. My heart broke for them. I liked Asher too. He was a protective brother to her and it made me smile, but also made me sad the reason he had to be so protective. *wipes tears*

Nastya...oh I loved her. She was such a broken soul, you didn't know if she'd ever be put back together. I cried for her. So many tears. I cringed and sobbed and wished I could reach out and hug the ever loving shit out of her because she needed it. But she was a strong and brave girl too. Also, I loved that she didn't put up with anyone's bull shit. It showed she had some respect left for herself, even if she didn't think so. Her wit was awesome! She had me laughing alot because the things that came out of her mouth was not what you were expecting. But it was awesome! She was such an amazing and memorable character and I'll never forget her.

And now, I save the best for last. *moment of silence* Josh. Josh Bennett. The man who makes wood and buidling things the most sexiest thing in the whole damn world. Josh fucking Bennett. God's most amazing creature. *sighs* I love him in the world's worst way. I have no idea how to put into words what I felt, feel for him. I still see him in my head and I drool, or smile or cry. All I know is if you've read this book, you understand. And when you do read this book, you'll understand and feel the same way. He will forever have a place in my top book boyfriend list. I was mad at him at times but I always loved him because he was so broken I wished I could have pieced his soul back together and hug him and tell him it would be alright. And then I wanted to see what else he could do with his hands beside building shit. Because Hoooooooly shit, I got a good idea what he could do. He will forever live in my heart and I will always love this boy who turned my world upside down. With just his words, he had my insides turned out and every part of me screaming OH HELL YES JOSH, I'LL DO WHATEVER YOU WANT...JUST KEEP TALKING LIKE THAT. I WILL MOVE HEAVEN AND EARTH FOR YOU. I LOVED that we get his POV. It made me love him even more, as if that would be possible!! But it also made my heart break so much worse for him. The pain he suffered, I suffered. The love he felt, I felt. It felt so real and so raw and so ridiculously unbearable. Gah, I can go on and on about Josh. Everything that came out of his mouth was pure torture and pain mixed with regret and loss and love. I LOVE YOU JOSH. I DO. *sigh*

Just FYI, it's not your typical insta-love kind of story, the development takes some building at first. It's a little slow in the beginning, which to me it didn't seem that way. But it needed to be slow paced to set the plot and once it gets moving...IT DOES NOT STOP! You don't want to put it down but then you don't want to finish it right away either. It was everything I need in a contemporary romance-with characters that will steal your heart and a plot that will have you turning every page, while cursing the one minute, swooning for Josh the next minute, panting the another minute, crying, begging, pleading, laughing, crying and loving! It brought out EVERY emotion I had to the surface and never let up until the last page. I lost ALOT of sleep while reading The Sea of Tranquility but I regret nothing whatsoever. For Josh, I'd do it again and again and again. Because seriously, where was a Josh Bennett when I was in high school?? They didn't exist.

I can't believe this is Katja's first novel. It feels like she's been writing forever. Sure it wasn't perfect but it was perfect enough for me not to care about perfect grammar or any of that. This is a book I will be reading again and again just to have my Joshy fix. And also I need the paperback copy when it's available because this baby is going on my shelf of favorites. And anyone who is wondering.....yes it's that good. Yes, you need to read it. And yes, you need to read it NOW. I'm telling you, have tissues at the ready because I guarentee you will be shedding quite a few. Okay well I leave you with my favorite quotes that touched my heart. I am so lost now, I want my friends back. I miss them already. *cries*

“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.”

“Wonderful. Last night's dinner, the charred remains of my dignity, and apparently, now, my undergarments, too. What else did I leave on Josh Bennett's bathroom floor?”

“Emilia," he says, and when he does, it warms me to my soul. "Every day you save me.”

“We're like mysteries to one another. Maybe if I can solve him and he can solve me, we can explain each other. Maybe that's what I need. Someone to explain me.”

“And as much as I'm telling her to stay here, I still want her to choose to come with me. To say fuck sanity and healing and closure. To say that I am the only thing she needs to be well and whole and alive. But we both know that's not true.”

“He's kissing me. And when he does, part of me is lost. But it's the part that's twisted and mangled and wrong, and for just that moment, with his hands in my hair and his lips on my mouth, I can pretend that it never existed.”

"Good Morning, Sunshine!" Josh F**king Bennett. By now, I'm pretty sure that if I were to find his birth certificate that is exactly what it would say.”

I STILL MISS THESE CHARACTERS.....GAH! I need to slap myself upside the head.
Profile Image for Amy | Foxy Blogs.
1,407 reviews970 followers
March 6, 2022
4th Re-read
Listening Length: 13 hours 10 minutes.
I really wish we could get another book with Drew's story.

3rd time reading it.
Still loved it!
2nd time reading it.
I reread this one via an audio book.
After 3 years I decided to listen to this one and I have three words for the second time-> I LOVED IT!


You know it's good when you can't put it down and you stay up reading until you fall asleep with the book in your hands. Then you wake up extra early so you can finish the last couple of pages you couldn't keep your eyes open any longer before you zonked out.

After I finished I had to go back and read the section . Until the last sentence of the book pulled it all together.

I spent a lot of the book noticing when she wow.

The writing is so superb and witty. The author captures your heart in her hands and holds it though out the whole story. I got to a point where I was like Josh

I just finished but I want to reread it all ready to capture the stuff I'm sure I missed the first time. It's that good!!!
Profile Image for MischaS_.
785 reviews1,340 followers
June 4, 2019
This book is awesome! I didn't know what to expect and it was a great surprise. I like Nastya or whatever-is-her-name... I like Josh, even more, Drew and Asher are sooo cute! These three guys were amazing!

I started this book in Czech but then something inside me started to scream that I have to switch to English!

Nejdřív jsem Moře klidu začala číst v češtině, ale po prvních pár stránkách jsem dostala blok a věděla jsem, že to musím dočít v angličtině... Asi už magořím.
Profile Image for Duchess Nicole.
1,258 reviews1,527 followers
November 13, 2012
5 ++++++ stars!! A must read for any of my reader friends, and I don’t say that lightly!

This is one of those books that make me want to re-evaluate all of my five star ratings. This is NOT just for readers of the YA genre. It’s for everyone. It’s not a feel good book, though I did put it down for the last time feeling good. Throughout most of it, though, my emotions were in such a turmoil that I didn’t know WHAT I was feeling. I had sad tears in my eyes, and then angry tears. By angry, I mean I was cussing and clenching my fists…chest heaving, ANGRY tears. Then I read some more and was crying devastated tears. Then happy tears. So happy that I felt floaty and high. Point is, this book made me FEEL so many emotions that I just gave up trying to understand them at some point.

Colorblind by Counting Crows https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0s7y... is the song that played in my head over and over again, starting at about 20% in. It’s fitting, I think. I think my mind has replayed it a hundred times since it popped into my head and every time I hear it, I’ll think of Josh and Sunshine.

I found myself unable to stop thinking about Nastya and Josh and even Drew. My mind was unable to focus on anything else. I would walk around my house, trying to convince myself to go back to life. The events that lead up to the book are hidden for nearly the entire book. I spent the first fifty percent hanging on every new scene, hoping that each new chapter would reveal Nastya’s secrets. And I finally just stopped caring what happened before and just started enjoying the ride. I was, and am still, completely taken in by these characters.

One thing that I love about this book is how each character has a poignant place in the story. Every person matters. It’s a testimony of how relationships between people are all about what goes on inside their heads, how they react to each other. Nastya’s aunt, her parents, Josh, Drew, Drew’s entire family and his girl…they all play big role in Nastya’s life, even if she wants them all to stay at a safe distance. Some people play bigger roles, but that doesn’t negate the effect of the minor players. Most people are so concerned about how other people perceive them that surface level is as far as they let people in. Nastya tries so hard to stay separate. But there’s a light there that Josh sees and puts a name to. He calls her Sunshine, at first as a way to keep her at a distance as well. His life mirrors hers in it’s loneliness, and that…aloneness…is what draws them to each other.

Nastya is dealing with a tragedy that is literally beyond words. It’s been over two years and not only can she not speak of it to anyone, she won’t. She moves away from the scene of her torment to live with her aunt in a town two hours away. And she meets Josh and Drew. This is NOT a love triangle book. Though I came to love them both. This doesn’t make teenage boys out to be the typical horny bastard. And I think I love Ms. Millay for bringing such beauty and understanding to both of these boys.

I suppose I’m just going on and on about my feelings for the book and not giving any real details but I think that saying almost anything is almost cheating the reader of the experience. The blurb that right now states that Nastya is seeking revenge was confusing to me, because that’s not AT ALL the feeling that I got while reading this. The feeling that I got from being inside of her head was confusion and misery and strangely, a sort of hope. I never got suicidal feelings…thank you again, Katja Millay…I just felt that Nastya was lost and not even trying to find her way. It took meeting a couple of special people to make her want to even try to find herself again. She and Josh mesh so well together because neither of them try too hard...they let everything happen naturally, until they are simply an integral part of each other.

Though I can't say a lot without giving things away, the last twenty percent of the book is just magic. It takes all of those previous emotions and throws them at you all at once. The way the book ends is perfect. These two broken people get a very realistic ending. It's not all wrapped up with a pretty bow with glitter and gold, but it IS satisfying. I put the book down feeling foggy headed with feeling but content.

This is one of my favorite books this year. It’s unforgettable. I wish I could convey emotions and inflection through words, but I’ll leave it up to this author, because she is a master at making the reader feel.

Profile Image for • Lisa •.
555 reviews1,525 followers
August 26, 2016


I am moved beyond words. What an incredibly moving, beautifully tragic novel. Poignant, heartrending, moving, touching, emotional, captivating, intense, tragic, wistful, tender, dreamy, hopeful, enthralling, impassioned, sentimental, stirring, inspiring, monumental, unforgettable. These are Just some of but not all of my descriptions of this book. Whatever I write in my review it will not give this book justice, I know that this story has buried itself in my heart and it's there to stay. Every moment of this book was pure undiluted writing genius and I've added myself to the long line of readers that fell in complete book love with this story. Here are my starry-eyed albeit insufficient 'The sea of Tranquility' book thoughts ...


What's it all about?
Nastya Kashnikov is living a second life of heartache, pain and intolerable memories, one tragic incident, one moment of time robbed her of the bright, happy girl she once was. This broken girl just wants to live her life and attempt to hide her secrets from those around her. Josh Bennett has had more than his fair share of loss and heartbreak, left all alone at the young age of seventeen this young man wants nothing more than to be left to move forward. When Josh and Nastya's lives collide so begins the journey of redemption, healing, friendship, and love and ultimately the story of one tragically beautiful girl and one solitary boy who find each other amongst the pain of their own difficulties.


What did I love?
There are not enough stars or descriptive comments than can sum up this novel and it's tragic perfection. I felt so immersed in this story everything about it grabbed all of my emotions. Every single character had their place and purpose, the writing was flawless and the dialogue was enchanting. The whole entire book was highlight-worthy and addictive, when I wasn't reading the story I was thinking about it and when I was reading I could not think about anything else. This story has crawled into my soul and has decided to take up permanent residency there, the characters were outlandishly good and the plot was extraordinary. I don't think I can put into words the talent that this author has poured into her work. Everything about this book made me respond with heartbreaking emotions, the author wrote in such a way that demanded that I felt every conceivable emotion during the story that she was creating. Josh and Sunshine are the ultimate in young adult characters, I felt like I had ring side tickets to their journey towards redemption. Everything about them and their lives had me glued to the pages, I fell in love with the both of them as the story progressed. I can't go without mentioning Drew his friendship and loyalty stood out for me as a winning combination in this story, I loved that the author created characters that all fitted so perfectly together and I know that future books will have a difficult time topping the admiration that I have for them all. Ultimately if you are an admirer of this genre and have not read this story then I urge you to do so. I can guarantee that this novel will break you to pieces and then fix you up better than you were before.


Final thoughts ...
It's been days since I have finished this book and I'm still not able to shake the thoughts and emotions from finishing a novel of such amazing depths. This has to be crowned as a favourite, there is nothing that I enjoy more than being swept away by the work of an author and I know with a certainty that these characters will stay in my heart forever. I urge those that have not read this book to go grab it, it has my heart I want it to gain yours too. Enjoy, kisses.


*A special thank you to my girls who endured, my never ending texts, sobbing voice messages and endless hand holding ... Love you Christy, Anna 'Philly poppet' Champion and MrsH*
Profile Image for L A i N E Y (will be back).
394 reviews675 followers
January 31, 2019
People who have never been through any sort of shit always assume that they know how you should react to having your life destroyed... As if there's a playbook for surviving hell.

The resignation and grief, the guilt and self-hatred. Especially the 'getting away from your loved ones' thing? Bull's eye.

**If you want to learn a bit about how people, in the real world, actually deal with guilt and loss and profound disappointment, this book would be illuminating to you.** And I can't say that emphatically enough because plently of times it hit just so close to home.

Josh, bless him but for all his brooding and adorableness and astronomically shitty luck, I can't fully gasp him. While I still sincerely liked his character, he didn't take a full shape for me if that makes any sense.

Nastya on the other hand, I couldn't avoid her if I'd tried. She smacked right in my face.

A lot of what Nastya thinks of, I have thought about more than once. A lot of shit she tries to avoid, I have been trying to avoid them. Both successfuly and some not so successful but still. You get the picture. At times it was like looking in a mirror - it was freakish I tell you.

I should have been horrified to read this book but I simply wasn't, I was too hooked for that. I should have taken breaks but I didn't even think about doing that, to be honest. And there I was - sprawled on my bed, exhausted at 7:30 in the morning. With wet spots on my pillows, my eyes ached and swollen, wondering how Katya Millay did it.

I'm tired of being responsible for other people's misery. I can't even put up with my own.

Profile Image for Karen.
805 reviews1,011 followers
May 17, 2013
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"I hate my left hand. I hate to look at it. I hate it when it stutters and trembles and reminds me that my identity is gone. But I look at it anyway, because it also reminds me that I'm going to find the boy who took everything away from me. I'm going to kill the boy who killed me, and when I kill him, I'm going to do it with my left hand."

WOW.... AMAZING..... I've been thinking about this book all day... wondering where to start with this review. I just don't know where to start. I've read many other reviews that were all amazing, but for some reason I am just speechless. Other than, I really really LOVED this book. I mean no, REALLY, REALLY LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!! I can't seem to get these characters out of my head. And the story was just compelling..sad...thought provoking...touching...romantic...anger-inducing...inspiring...exasperating...and I could go on and on.

To sum it up, it was and incredibly EMOTIONAL book. I think there wasn't an emotion the body is capable of that I didn't feel while reading this book. And there were as many good emotions as were bad. Okay, well maybe there were a few more negative than positive... but the positive emotions were so incredibly intense that they completely overshadowed the bad in the end.

Nastya Kashnikov..."I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shape shifters, 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.

Nastya is a 17 year old girl struggling to survive after a random act of violence has changed her life forever. A life that was full of promise, success, love, and music. And out of the blue.... it is all gone. She has been killed...but yet she survives. Unable to function in her current environment due to her unwanted notoriety... Nastya leaves home to live with a distant aunt so she can finish high school in peace. She sets out with a hope for achieving a sense of anonymity and a bit of normalcy in her life. This she learns is really an unattainable goal. On the first day back to school she meets Drew Leighton. And Drew is all kinds of charm, and he knows it... and uses it daily to work his way into the panties of every available beautiful girl in his vicinity.

He's the kind of good looking that transforms once self-respecting females into useless puddles of dumbass."

And he is sucked into the vortex that is Nastya right from the beginning. Oh, and she doesn't speak. That's right, NOT AT ALL. Just a bonus as far as Drew is concerned. But Nastya is not falling for it, or anyone else. She does the best she can to stay off the radar. But Drew is persistent. And he does break in to her world, but only as a friend... and a very valuable friend as much as she hates to admit it. But what Drew doesn't realize is that 'Nastypants,' as he so lovingly calls her, is going to change his world forever as well.

Then there is Josh Fucking Bennett. The boy with a 10 foot forcefield around him that no one seems to penetrate. And Josh comes with his own set of charms... the quiet, tragic type... and she finds herself drawn to him like a dead star to a black hole.

"...he's the only person I know who can appear seriously put out with no expression at all on his face. Does everyone irritate him so much, or is it just a special gift I have? He seems immensely disturbed by the fact that I even exist, much less occupy the same space in his precious shop class."

The impending relationship that ensues... the healing and pain that follow are just heart wrenching and beautiful to witness. Nastya, still silent, has an incredible journey to make, and unfortunately she wants no part of it. Its so incredibly sad and tragic for one so young to feel she has no more happiness to look forward to in the future.

"They're laughing and attempting to knot their hair together. It's the height of immature teenage girlishness. I want to mock them for it, but I'm appalled by the fact that it makes me sad. For a moment I feel like a survivor in some post apocalyptic world, looking through a window, imagining a part of my life that's gone now."

And the sadness and tragedy are not one-sided. Josh comes complete with his own set of tragic events. And his own sense of solitude. A solitude so profound that Nastya finds herself wanting to share it with him. So she forces her way in... into his bubble of death, so they can wallow in it together.

"I know at the moment what he's given me and it's not a chair. It's and invitation, a welcome, the knowledge that I am accepted here. He hasn't given me a place to sit. He's given me a place to belong."

I just love this couple and all of the flaws that make them perfect together. I loved every second of this story. The good and the bad. It was all laid out so perfectly that it couldn't have happened any other way. I find myself wanting to start reading it again. It was just that good.

I could go on for days.. but I won't so I'm just going to give it to you to read instead. You will NOT be disappointed!!!

******6 STARS******

My character pics...

Nastya Kashnikov
Mila Kunis photo MilaKunis.png

Josh Bennett
Stephen Walker photo StephenWalker.jpg

Drew Leighton
Kris Kranz photo KrisKranz.jpg

Emilia Ward
Mila Kunis photo n50366c2c31eb3.jpg
Profile Image for Dana Ilie.
404 reviews347 followers
July 31, 2018
The love story between Josh and Nastya is so very romantic because of how difficult it is for these characters to allow themselves to love. Their romance is not a stereotypical love story, nothing is easy about it but they are both unable to fight it. The pace with which the intimacy between them slowly grows will undo you, every look they share, every touch, every gesture will melt your heart. This for me was the perfect love story because of how imperfect it is. We are not force-fed a fluffy little happy ending, we are given a GRAND FINALE. There are not enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe this book. It raises the bar for the entire genre and it leaves you speechless for days, unable to get a grasp of all the ways this story affected you.

When I finished this book, I had to fight the urge to get up and give it a standing ovation. Frantic hand-clapping and all. If you are going to read one book this year, let it be this one.
Profile Image for Beth Hudspeth.
528 reviews263 followers
May 5, 2017
Review here: Hello Beautiful Book Blog
So you see the title The Sea of Tranquility
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I'm doing a short review since there are so many to choose from and also because I am late to the party!

My favorite part was really just the smaller details woven in.
Her love of name meanings
The chair ♥
Ice cream
I could go on and on

^^^ I guess I really like to cling to the good things and the lighthearted moments, but there was a lot of pain and depression. Nastya hasn't spoken a word in over a year. She is broken. There is loss and sadness. I'm not going into detail because it's better to go in blind to everything so you can really feel it.

The ending felt a little rushed, but a lot of endings do when you love the characters so much. You just don't want to let them go even though you know you have to!

And finally some of my favorite quotes:

--“I know at that moment what he's given me and it isn't a chair. It's an invitation, a welcome, the knowledge that I am accepted here. He hasn't given me a place to sit. He's given me a place to belong.” ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

--"I’m going to walk over to you,” I say, taking one step at a time in her direction like I’m talking down a jumper. “I’m going to put my arms around you and I’m going to hold you,” I pause before taking the last step, “and you’re going to let me."

--“He's kissing me. And when he does, part of me is lost. But it's the part that's twisted and mangled and wrong, and for just that moment, with his hands in my hair and his lips on my mouth, I can pretend that it never existed.”

--“People like to say love is unconditional, but it's not, and even if it was unconditional, it's still never free. There's always an expectation attached. They always want something in return. Like they want you to be happy or whatever and that makes you automatically responsible for their happiness because they won't be happy unless you are ... I just don't want that responsibility.”

--"You're not what I expected you to be like." I catch her eye and she actually looks a little surprised and a lot curious, which I think she tries to hide.
"How did you expect me to be?"

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Profile Image for Ariana.
938 reviews1,302 followers
January 21, 2019
When two worlds full of tragedy collide, prepare yourself for some heartbreak...

Sometimes there are books that take my breath away, sometimes my emotions flood my soul, sometimes words cut deep into my heart, sometimes stories don't want me to let go, sometimes I fall in love... with a character, with a paragraph, with an author... sometimes I just feel like falling.

Deep and raw, that's how this story is.
It breaks your heart and even makes you enjoy that feeling, it plays with your mind, it makes you want to savour every word, to drown in every emotion...

Sad and troubled, this is how the characters are.
They have suffered enough to last for a lifetime, they have lost everything including their life, their hope, their identity, their faith, the ones they loved...

Beautiful and emotional, this is how the writing is.
Katja Millay will make you love her characters, her words, the whole story. She will make you read and re-read paragraph after paragraph, she will make you happy, she will make you sad, she will make you love her style...
“There are so many things that can break you
if there's nothing to hold you together.”


Nastya has lost her identity, her old life, her dreams, everything. One moment had marked her life, turning it upside down and she doesn't know how to "be" anymore.

She is troubled, she speaks to no one and all she wants is to find the person that changed her life and to make him pay for all her loss. Her story is told step by step, surrounded by mystery and filled with emotion. She tries to be someone else, to make people think she is totally different, to keep them away.. But deep inside all she wants is someone to share her burden with, someone to hold her, someone to take the pain away.
"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."

When she meets Josh, two worlds full of tragedy collide and as different as they seem to be they share the same need to belong.
They both crave for second chances, for things to change: she wants to be whole again, to have her life back; he wants someone permanent in his life, someone to stay forever.
As much as they want to keep for themselves, to be left alone, they find out that solitude can be shared and they start to enjoy spending time together. Soon they also open their hearts one for the other and something changes drastically: Nastya starts talking again.. with Josh. But words don't come out easily, and some secrets are not to be shared.

"I’m not strong enough, not brave enough, not comforting enough. I’m not enough. I’m no one’s salvation. Not even my own."

And then there was Drew - he was the funny one, the caring one, the naive one even though he wouldn't think of himself that way. He was truly confident and such a cute friend. I was glad to see that there was more to him that meets the eye, that he has his own tiny 'demons' eating his soul, and I was glad because he was there when we needed him (lips sealed, won't spoil a thing).

The Sea of Tranquility is a story about new beginnings, about letting go, about family and friends and finding yourself and your path. It's an emotional story about broken souls that need nourishing and it will get straight to your heart.
The writing is beautiful, that characters strong and fleshed-out, the storyline will make you keep the book close, needing to see how things will turn out, how these characters will find the inner peace they need so badly.

There were 3 things that botthered me - not that much of a spoiler, but will still mark as one:

If you are looking for an emotional ride, with some great characters that will make you smile and cry, this book might be just right for you. A great contemporary romance that will break your heart a bit, but it will be well worth it.

Happy midnight reading!

* For a better visual effect, see the review at: ReadingAfterMidnight.com

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Profile Image for Fred.
274 reviews302 followers
September 25, 2014
I loved this beautiful and emotional contemporary romantic drama. I felt caught up in, and utterly swept away by its power, like a small boat being slowly but inexorably driven by the wind into a storm, an emotional storm that left me washed up and wrung out, but somehow richer as a person for having experienced it. It's beautifully and poetically crafted - every element, every character, all combine and contribute to the artful and emotionally intense world author Millay creates.

So what's up with that "Sea of Tranquility," referenced in the title? "It sounded like this beautiful, peaceful place," MC Nastya (it's a Russian name, "NAH-stee-ya") reflects. "Like where you'd want to go when you die. Quiet and water everywhere. A place that would swallow you up and accept you no matter what." But like so many things in this book, the Sea of Tranquility isn't what it seems. It's only an illusion, concealing the truth that "[i]t's not a sea at all. It's just a big dark shadow on the moon. The whole name is a lie." Sadly, Nastya is as bitter, sullen and sometimes snarky as her analysis of the lunar landscape might suggest. Her caked on makeup, her four-and-a-half-inches-of-insanity stilettos, her so smexy its barely there black attire? Maybe all that is an illusion too, concealing that Nastya's got more issues than the National Geographic, as she so succintly summarizes it. When we meet her, it's just three days before she's to start her senior year at a new school, and her Aunt Margot, with whom she's now living, is explaining Nastya's "unique circumstances" to the principal. It's not clear what those "circumstances" are at this point (read the blurb for clues), and since figuring them out is an enormous part of the emotionally satisfying process of reading The Sea of Tranquility, I won't take that away from you. But what is clear is that Nastya's painstakingly contructed facade of unsubtle "stay away" intimidation is covering a fractured and fragile host of emotional detritus, fear foremost, with deep, deep anger running a close second. Maybe that's why she's willing to let Drew Leighton, a Ken doll clone who's "the kind of good-looking that transforms once self-respecting females into puddles of dumbass," attach himself to her, for social cover. And it's definitely why, she tells herself, she's drawn to Josh Bennett, a boy who is so alone on his regular lunch-time courtyard bench that she wonders if he's a ghost, and that no one goes near him because the bench is haunted. She'd love to be rocking a bubble like he's got, to keep everyone away from her, too. (Kinda weird though that she keep ending up in his space, if she's so damn intent on being alone?)

And so our dramatis personae take the stage. It is hard to share too much of their story, of what happened to Nastya to make her who she has been or will become, because that is the story, and in some ways it is a mystery story, even a crime story, so "le spoilerisme," as we french people call it, would be even worse than usual. But I can share that Nastya is an amazing, complex and real feeling character, with a unique voice of broken bravado. Yes, maybe her persona and her carefully constructed facade are illusions. But unlike the titular celestial sea, she is possessed of depths where silent storms continually rage beneath the surface.

And I can also share that the world Nastya inhabits is a vividly imagined and poetically described one. Yes, it's familiar high school terrain to we YA-ficianados, but it's more nuanced, more chiaroscuro than is typically the case. Those mean girls? Maybe they were nice once, and maybe they can be again, if somebody calls them on it. Those douchey bros? Maybe one will have the grace to regret some of the crap he's pulled. Those throbbing crazy alcohol fueled parties where bad things can happen fast? Uh oh, yep, bad things can still happen fast.

I also loved how this book has major themes, one of which is the power and fragility of the creative impulse and process - how vital and irrepressible it is, and how devastating its loss can be. It's expressed in many contexts, images and examples, and it makes Nastya's loss and devastation all the more poignant for being so continually up in her face. Another major theme is the idea of salvation, of rescue - but it's subtle, never cheesy or obvious, and it's never really clear who is being saved and who is doing the saving. I also want to mention that for me one hallmark of a good book is that you fall in love with at least one of the characters. Here, you can't help but fall in love with so many of them that you feel like Jude Law at a nanny convention. Each of them, obviously Nastya and Josh (I'm gonna be disappointed if I don't see some swoonworthy casting boards about this guy), but also Drew and Tierney, various parents, grandparents, aunts, brothers, sisters, holy crap there are a lot of them! And they are all richly dimensional and again, real feeling.

This is a compelling and satisfying read that will draw you into its world fast, and make you want to stay there for a long time (and fortunately it's substantial enough that you can!) I not only couldn't put it down, towards the end something happened that was so intense that it made me stand up, and I realized when I finished, as the tears began to flow, that I was still on my feet, in a kind of weird unconcious standing ovation for this superb bravura performance by an author so polished and artistically skillful that I really can't believe this is her first book. Thankfully I also really can't believe it will be her last, so there's that to look forward to. Speaking of which, yes, this is a standalone, and I appreciate that. But like I said, there are some awesome side characters (and couples) whose stories are worth imagining. Just in case you don't have anything else to think about, dear Katja!
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,826 reviews2,186 followers
January 4, 2015
4 stars!

"I think I can believe in hope and I would like to believe in the dream of second chances."

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Well Katja Millay just brought on all of the feels.

This is one of those books that has been sitting on my tbr shelf forever. I had made a 2015 resolution that I would do my best to read all of the physical books I owned that have been sitting on my bookshelves for months, some even for years. The first book in line was this one. I cannot believe I waited this long to read it. It's such a classic New Adult novel, it's one of those books that I feel pretty much everyone has already read. I didn't know anything going into this book, I didn't even read any reviews beforehand, I just new that this is a beloved book.

This is quite possibly the most well written New Adult book I've read in the genre. There is so much attention to plot, diction, and character development that I am fairly astounded that this author hasn't really written anything else. The NA genre could use more authors like her.

“People like to say love is unconditional, but it's not, and even if it was unconditional, it's still never free. There's always an expectation attached. They always want something in return. Like they want you to be happy or whatever and that makes you automatically responsible for their happiness because they won't be happy unless you are ... I just don't want that responsibility.”

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The Sea of Tranquility is about a girl named Nastya, who has moved in with her Aunt and is returning to her senior year of high school from a two year break after a tragic accident. Nastya uses defense mechanisms such as dressing herself up like a slut and not speaking as a way of preventing people from getting close to her. At the school Nastya notices a boy who sits by himself and has what she calls a force field around him, he might as well be invisible, which is exactly what Nastya longs for. Soon, despite not speaking to him, Nastya has started to spend time with this boy, Josh, and the two can't seem to shake themselves of the other despite not wanting to get close to anyone.

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To me, this book was very much about the resurrection and salvation of Nastya and Josh. Both had unspeakable horrors haunting their past and were doing their best emotionally to just survive, day to day. Nastya in a way chose Josh because she knew that he understood what it was like to be asked questions you didn't want to answer or talk about, and she knew he wouldn't do that.

Drew most surprisingly, was my favorite character in the book. He is proof that what we see is not always what it appears to be. His friendship with Nastya really pulled at my heart.

"What is she to you?" she whispers.
Drew's muffled voice rises up from the floor before I can respond.

I admire that the author .

In the next spoiler is what I didn't care for:

So I knocked off 1 star for my reasons in the spoiler above, and also for the pacing. It was VERY slow at some points and the book really didn't hit that WOW factor for me until the final 50-75 pages or so. Those pages are what made this book special.

"'I love you, Sunshine,' I tell her, before I lose my nerve. 'And I don't give a shit whether you want me to or not.'”
Profile Image for Dilek VT.
1,543 reviews1,397 followers
January 16, 2017
Awesome book... More than 5 stars...
Such good story. So touching...
Burst into tears a few times... Laughed many times.
It really warmed my heart...
It is a hidden gem not everyone seems to be aware of...
Do read it!

The book is really very well written. Some pages are told by the female character, some pages by the male character. Because both characters are so messed up, this dual storytelling helps us to get in the minds of both characters, which was great.

Reading this book felt like a sharp pointed knife was being stabbed into my stomach inch by inch with every page, stabbed so slowly that it hurt like hell. Sometimes, I felt so happy and hopeful, I really had fun but the knife was always there even if it was not moving, it made its presence felt even at the happiest times.

When I love the characters in a novel, I love the book more. If I cannot connect to the characters, I am lost. In this book, I wanted to hug both characters many times. I fell in love with them actually.

This is the story of Natsya and Josh.

Natsya is broken. Something happened to her. Her family tried to help her remember the event for a year but as soon as she remembered she stopped talking. She hasn't spoken a word for 400 days.

Josh is angry. He is distant to everyone. He has only one friend who hasn't left him. God has taken all his family members one by one. He doesn't want to love anyone else because of his fear of loss. He doesn't show any real interest in anyone.

Now, I won't tell anything else, please go read the book...

Bravo Katja Millay, this has become one of my favorite books and I have read it twice, once in English, and once in my own language...


My favorite quotes from the book (might contain spoilers):

“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.”


“About last night, I told Drew to keep his hands off you."
"Why would you do that?"
"Because everyone talks shit about you because of it. But its not my business, so I'm sorry."
"And he agreed?"
"Not without persuasion."
"What kind of methods do you have that would work on Drew?"
"I lied. I told him you were mine."
"Just so you know, you didn't lie.”


“Daylight won’t protect you from anything. Bad things happen all the time; they don’t wait until after dinner”


"There's got to be a happier ending than this, here. There's got to be a better story. Because we deserve one. You deserve one. Even if it doesn't end with you coming back to me."


“What did you call her?" she asks but I don't think it's her real question.
"Sunshine," I say, and she smiles like she believes it's perfect and she may be the only person other than me who would think so.
"What is she to you?" she whispers. The real question and I know the answer even if I don't know how to say it.
Drew's muffled voice rises up from the floor before I can respond.
"Family," he says.
And he's right.”

Profile Image for Carol [Goodreads Addict].
2,348 reviews24.7k followers
November 20, 2013
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“If we had a telescope, I could show you the Sea of Tranquility.” She points up at the sky. “See? Up there on the moon. You can’t really tell from here.” “Is that why you have a picture of the moon in your bedroom?” “You noticed that?” “It was the only thing on the wall. I thought you were into astronomy.” “I’m not. I keep it there to remind me that it’s bullshit. I thought it sounded like this beautiful, peaceful place. Like where you’d want to go when you die. Quiet and water everywhere. A place that would swallow you up and accept you no matter what. I had this whole image of it.” “Doesn’t sound like a bad place to end up.” “It wouldn’t be, if it were real. But it’s not. It’s not a sea at all. It’s just a big, dark shadow on the moon. The whole name is a lie. Doesn’t mean anything.”

The Sea Of Tranquility is one of those books that you are reading, that just sort of works itself into your head and heart without you even realizing it. Until when you take a break and go about your daily activities but find you aren’t thinking about what you are doing at all, but are still thinking about the characters in the book as if they are real and that their fates are in your hands.

This book deals with two characters that have both had horrible trauma in their lives but for very different reasons. Their brokenness draws them together. Can they be healed or can they simply learn to live with what they have been dealt and find peace together?

Josh is 17 years old and has lost everyone. One by one he has lost every family member until he is all he has left. He doesn’t want to love anyone ever again because he knows that they will be taken from him as well. He finds solace in working with his hands. “It was everybody. All of them…gone…Why? What did I do that was so wrong? “

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Nastya is also 17 but a few months older than Josh and is a former piano prodigy. She suffered a horrible trauma when she was 15 years old. And now, she has stopped talking. She decides that she needs new surroundings, a new school. And on the first day of school she meets Josh. At first I was shocked by Nastya, at how she chose to dress, her make up, and her refusal to speak. But as the book progressed and details were revealed, I understood each one of these actions. Nastya wanted control and she took it in the only way she knew how.

Throughout this book I watched these two struggle with life and love. I watched them fall apart and fall in love. This book for me was a symbol of hope. That no matter what, there is always hope. I can honestly say that Josh, Nastya and several other characters I grew to love within these pages will be in my heart for a long time.
Profile Image for Jennifer Kyle.
2,377 reviews4,625 followers
July 11, 2014
My Cast:


"He needs to be able to fix things and make it all better; to believe that you’re okay so that he can believe he’s okay.”

Nastya is an illusion. She has changed schools and fled the safety of her family because she can’t be who she used to be before her life took a horrific detour. She has moved in with her aunt and has begun classes at a new school. She also dresses to scare/repel other students. Josh Bennett is as socially inept as Nastya. He has lost every single person he loves. He is a skilled carpenter and doesn’t seek others out. Both are experts in the art of hiding themselves and blending into the crowd.

For some reason Nastya has the ability to break Josh’s “force field” whether Josh wanted her to or not. They develop a strong bond based on the safety of each other’s company. Drew, Josh’s childhood friend recognizes the couples love for each other while never waivering in his loyalty to both friends.

Slowly both start to find a new normal for themselves in the comfort of each other and the flurry of sawdust.
Wonderfully told story of Salvation!
Profile Image for Maida»-(¯`v´¯)-».
1,673 reviews423 followers
April 25, 2017

RATING: 5+++++ Hearts!! :D <3 <3 <3

“Sometimes I just forget how to breathe.”

The Sea of Tranquility is one of those reads that stays with you long after the last page is flipped. It’s beautifully flawless, defining and then redefining relationships and friendships, and leaving us with a smile on our faces despite its seriousness. It’s a story of love, healing, forgiveness, family, and second chances as detailed through two stunningly complex, broken main characters. Josh and Nastya might have issues that haunt them, but as the story progresses and by the time we reach the end, these two and the fragile relationship between them is nothing short of a beautiful triumph.

He’s the be all and end all of my friends right now. I have Drew, and I seem to have acquired Clay somewhere along the way, but Josh is my escape. He’s my hiding place.

This tale also has an outstanding, mismatched cast of secondary characters that all play a vital role in rounding out our main characters, specifically Drew. He is the light in Josh and Nastya’s dark—even when they themselves don’t realize it at times—as he is of this book.

I know at that moment what he’s given me and it’s not a chair. It’s an invitation, a welcome, the knowledge that I am accepted here. He hasn’t given me a place to sit. He’s given me a place to belong.

Overall, The Sea of Tranquility is a beautiful and emotional story that should not be missed by anyone (LOVE IT!!♥). Ms. Millay did a phenomenal job at writing this; it is effortless, easily earning a spot on that special shelf that houses all the books we plan to read over and over again.

Other Fave Quotes (I highlighted the heck out of this book!):

“Just so you know, one day I’m going to get tired of sharing your affection with that coffee table and I’m going to make you choose.”

“Just so you know,” he mimics me, “I would chop that table up and use it for firewood before I would ever choose anything over you.”

“What? Sunshine fits you. It's bright and warm and happy. Just. Like. You.”

“People like to say love is unconditional, but it's not, and even if it was unconditional, it's still never free. There's always an expectation attached. They always want something in return. Like they want you to be happy or whatever and that makes you automatically responsible for their happiness because they won't be happy unless you are ... I just don't want that responsibility.”

“When you look at her what do you feel?... Joy, fear, frustration, longing, friendship, anger, need, despair, love, lust?"
"Yes, what?"
"All of it.”

He’s kissing me. And when he does, part of me is lost. But it’s the part that’s twisted and mangled and wrong, and for just that moment, with his hands in my hair and his lips on my mouth, I can pretend that it’s never existed.

And maybe I'm a liar and I do need it, because being kissed by Josh Bennet is kind of like being saved. It's a promise and a memory of the future and a book of better stories.

“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.”

"Every day you save me.”

BR with the lovely Maria!! Thanks so much for listening to all my raving! :D Muah!

Posted: June 22, 2016
Profile Image for Melissa.
Author 2 books336 followers
January 14, 2013
They say there's a place you go when you die
Perhaps it's full of life, laughter, and loved ones
Perhaps there's no light, no laughter; only darkness
Perhaps it's a place you've never seen before
Or perhaps it's a place familiar to you...
You can't know unless you've survived death
Survived and come back;
But what if...what if upon returning to life
All you've discovered is that you're still dead?
Walking around aimlessly with no purpose
Walking around and simply just existing
What if existing is all you have?
What if the pain is too unbearable, to all consuming?
What if the mask you've put up is not only to protect yourself
But to protect others as well?

They say there's a place you go when you die
Perhaps it's full of life, laughter, and loved ones
Perhaps it's a place you've never seen before
Or perhaps it's a place familiar to you...
It's impossible to know what it means to come back
A survivor. Alive. Breathing. Living.
But although you've been revived again
Moving. Alive. Breathing.And living.
Who's to say you're still not actually dead?...MLD

It doesn't matter if you do everything right, if you dress the right way and act the right way and follow all the rules, because evil will find you anyway. Evil's resourceful that way.

Nastya Kashinov. A beautiful, damaged, and shattered individual. She's dead; murdered in the figurative sense and has no intentions of ever resurfacing to the girl she once was. To keep her identity a mystery to others, she's moved to a city two hours away from where tragedy struck and effectively ended her life. No one knows who this new girl is...All they know is that she wears clothes too tight, too short, always has her hair around her face, and a thick coat of "black shit" constantly rimming her eyes to hide anyone knowing or wanting to figure her out...Oh yes and Nastya? She doesn't speak. To anyone. Ever.

I haven't said a word to another living person in 452 days.

...Although most stories have the one hero of the book, this one had two heroes. Heroes in their very own way...

Drew Leighton. The residential playboy of the school. One of the few who isn't afraid to flirt and charm the girl in school who doesn't speak. I loved Drew for many reasons. Although he comes off as just a charmer, he really does have a good heart. I found his constant shameless innuendos towards Nastya amusing to say the least...

I lifted my head I couldn't help but see him and his I-can-make-you-a-woman eyes and his I-know-what-you-look-like-under-your-clothes smirk

Drew also happens to be best friends with the school outcast, Josh Bennett. A guy who's had a shit time at life, losing everyone he cares about at a young age and trying to make the best of it. He is surrounded by his own force field in which no one speaks to him or pays him any attention...

I wonder what it will take for her to pick up on the fact that she lives in the same world as everybody else, and in that world, people leave me the fuck alone.

Josh's escape since he was a child has been building things. His shop class and lessons from his father have been his therapy throughout his life. His favorite place is working in his garage, if need be, to all hours of the night. He's sarcastic, dejected, and very much a loner...

While Josh's therapy is building, Nastya's is running; and one night her running in an unknown place and paying very little attention to her surroundings brings her to a house that is familiar to her, familiar in a way she can't possibly explain, but nonetheless it's there, ingrained in her, causing her to gravitate towards it. And the house she gravitates towards? Josh Bennett's. That first night showing up at his house unknowingly while he's working in the garage will have been the moment that changed both of their lives. Permanently...

What happens when you deem your self worth so low, you can't imagine that someone, anyone would want to hold you? Kiss you? Love you? What happens when you've diluted yourself into thinking and feeling that you want no one in this world to see you for who you really are? When people aren't allowed in? When you hide everything that is true about yourself? When you have secrets so incredibly dark, that it's all that surrounds you? Your thoughts? Your existence?...

Nastya was so many things, most of all fragile. In fearing life in general, she believes that she doesn't need love, nor does she want it. While she's lost sight of everything she is or can be, others see her for what they believe she could be. Wanting to help fix her, even if she doesn't want to be fixed...

"Wishes. You only get one with a cake, and even that you only get if you blow out all the candles, which is kind of shitty because it's your birthday and there shouldn't be a contingency on a wish."

There was so much to be said for Nastya's story. Trying to fully grasp the darkness that has consumed her, the situations that made me smile, the ones that made me gasp, and the ones that ultimately left me heart broken, was a feat. It was a journey that I became completely invested in and in going along on that journey with Nastya, Josh and Drew I felt like a part of the story and it was assuredly worth all of the emotions I felt throughout... It was stunningly touching, brilliantly written, emotionally scarring, and provokingly thoughtful. It is a 5 star read through and through...

No one knows what hand they will be dealt in life. Even if the hand you have been dealt is one that has shattered your entire being, and murdered your purpose in life, is it possible to move forward? Is it possible to smile again? To speak again? Could you ever learn to love or be loved? Would you be able to forgive those who had a hand in your misery? In the reason why you garner so much hatred? The Sea of Tranquilty told a story about a girl without a future who met a boy on the road to complete isolation and how paths cross for a reason. How fate can bring people in your life to help heal when you didn't think it was possible, when you didn't feel you needed it, and when you truly believed you didn't deserve it.

Even for the most broken of people, happiness is always deserved. Even for the lost souls who have no idea how to get back, happiness is deserved. When tragedy strikes, could you or would you be able to move forward? In getting to know, love and care for Nastya, Josh believed that one day, it could be possible...

"There's got to be a better story. Because we deserve one. You deserve one.".........And if my Sea of Tranquility were real, it would be this place, here....."Your garage."

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