The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Published by Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Ever since a terrible tragedy happened to Nastya Kashnikov two years ago, she has chosen not to speak and keeps everyone at a distance. She moved from her family’s home to her aunt’s, switched schools, and dropped all her friends in an effort to distance herself from her old life. But one person threatens to break through her tough exterior: Josh Bennett, a seventeen-year-old who’s been through what most adults can’t imagine, a boy whose entire family has died, leaving Josh a solitary, lonely person who thinks things are better that way. When these two begin to form a tenuous, fragile friendship, which eventually develops into something more, their lives are both forever changed.
The Sea of Tranquility is such a beautiful book, you guys. I think these characters came into my life simply to rip my heart out and stomp on it, then promptly work very hard to put it back together again. The novel reminded me a bit of the YA version of Me Before You (and you all know how much I LOVED that book).
Something Millay is genius at in this book is creating these incredibly flawed, hurting, but very real characters who, once you meet them, you need to get to know them better and learn even more about them. You want to fix their problems, help them see the light at the end of the tunnel, slap them for their bad choices but hug them when they regret those choices. I cannot express coherently enough how much Nastya and Josh crept into my soul and stayed there long after I finished reading their story. I loved them.
The Sea of Tranquility definitely deals with some serious stuff, but since it’s more about the characters than their issues, it never feels too heavy. There’s a lot of questions throughout the novel that Millay doesn’t answer until the very end, so the fact that you NEED to know more about what happened in the past definitely helps fly through the pages. There’s a sense of urgency and also a feeling of potential danger – like this precarious relationship Nastya and Josh have built over the course of the novel could come crashing down and shatter at any point – that propels the book along to its final conclusion.
For so many reasons, I loved this novel. Do yourself a favor and pick it up soon.