The Sea of Tranquility - Katja Millay Imagine you’re on a rollercoaster – you take off from the platform heading toward that first hill, and it’s a slow climb, its building and building, and just when you think you’re never going to get there, the first drop comes. And now you’re thinking, Whew, the worst is over, when suddenly you’re catapulted over another hill and then there’s the sharp twists and let’s not forget the upside down loop that comes toward the end of the ride. Then it’s over, and you’re out of breath, heart racing and walking away, but that ride – something about it is still staying with you.

That, my friends, was Sea of Tranquility.

Sea of Tranquility introduces us to Nastya Kashnikov. Nastya just moved in with her aunt and is starting a new school for her senior year. And let’s just say, she makes quite an entrance: low-cut, tight black shirt, tight black skirt so short it barely covers her ass, 4-inch black stiletto’s and dark black hair hanging straight over her shoulders.

I don’t dress this way because I like it so much or because I want people to stare at me in general. But people are going to stare at me for the wrong reasons anyway, and if they are going to stare at me for the wrong reasons, then at least I should get to pick them.

Basically Nastya just doesn’t care. Something tragic happened in her past that killed the person she used to be. Now she’s just a shell…a shell who doesn’t speak. Unlike most female leads in YA, I didn’t really dislike Nastya at any point in the book. Was I frustrated with her? Yes. Was I angry at her? Oh hell yes. But the way the author wrote her character, I understood it. I didn’t agree with it, but I understood it. However, this:

It was the last thing about me that wasn’t ruined. I just wanted to finish it.


Then enter what has probably become one of my top 5 favorite guys in YA fiction. Josh is the town recluse. Having lost his entire family, he is an emancipated teen who lives on his own and builds furniture in his garage. He has no close friends, save for Drew (who I will discuss later), and he likes it this way. If no one can get close to him, then he can’t suffer the pain of losing them. Oh Josh…


Needless to say, Nastya is drawn to the boy with the invisible force shield around him and Josh is drawn to the mute girl who looks like a walking ghost. What ensues is a friendship of sorts based off of loss and a mutual understanding of pain.

Their friendship is a slow burn, but one where you can tangibly feel what they feel towards each other. While one side is more communicative about their past than the other, you can see the trust building. And I loved reading their interactions together, from Josh building her a chair so she would have a place to sit when she watches him build, to the pennies in the fountain, everything had a purpose and nothing felt too little or too much.

While this book weighs heavily on the sad and dark days of people’s lives, that doesn’t mean it’s without humor. Enter Drew, the “Ken doll” as Nastya describes him the first time she sees him. I ADORED Drew. From the beginning I was charmed. He’s good looking and he knows it, he’s a player and he knows it. This boy makes no qualms about who he is – he owns it. He was the perfect counterweight for the darkness that came from both Nastya and Josh. His friendship with Josh was unexpected to me at the beginning, but was crystal clear by the end. He’s extremely loyal to those who are close to him and I feel that he grows exponentially in the span of this book.

I should also mention Clay. He became such an important part of this book, that I honestly did not see coming. He just kind of snuck himself in there, which, in hindsight, makes perfect sense because that’s how he was in the book. Clay is also an artist who draws people.

He tears apart faces and puts them back together whole, like I would a piece of music. I could play it a hundred ways, imbue it with a different emotion every time and try to find the truth of it. He does that with faces, except he’s not putting the truth in, he’s drawing it out.

Excellent description of Clay and his work.

I could honestly talk for hours about this book and still probably not get everything out that I wanted to say. And this review has now probably gone on way too long. Just know that these characters were so real, I felt at times like they would just jump out of the page and talk to me. The emotions were so raw that I didn’t realize how much it affected me until I was crying toward the end. And it wasn’t even that sad of a moment, it was just an accumulation of emotions finally coming out.

I feel this will be one of those books that stays with me and I’m pretty sure I will be rereading it in my future. Just amazing.