The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
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.
Full of rage and without a purpose, former pianist Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone discovering her past and to make the boy who took everything from her pay.
All 17 year-old Josh Bennett wants is to build furniture and be left alone, and everyone allows it because it’s easier to pretend he doesn’t exist. When your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.
Everyone except Nastya, a hot mess of a girl who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. The more he gets to know her, the more of a mystery she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he may ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding or if he even wants to.
The Sea of Tranquility is a slow-building, character-driven romance about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.
Please Note: This book contains mature content including profanity, drug/alcohol use, and sexual situations/language.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Yes, I do believe I've found it! Sea of Tranquility is not over the top, too much, or too fast. The drama, the romance, the story (even when it got painful and emotional) worked for me. Some might say it does get overly dramatic given everything that’s thrown at them… but it didn’t feel that way to me. Because there’s a build up toward the drama, instead of one issue heaped on another; here there’s this getting to know the other. There’s a moving forward from point one to two to three, instead of zipping from one to ten in a blink.
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.
Take in all the things they’re facing and I could make a snide comparison to watching General Hospital, but not now. Because this worked for me: pieced apart, things might have gone to the side of melodramatic and I might have thought that never have the lives of the high school set sounded so hard, but this isn’t about their age. It’s simply two people who’ve got baggage galore, who happen to meet each other then click… but don’t want to. Not one moment in this easy, but there were moves to it.
So what worked?
That both of characters are damaged, both are shadowed by some personal hell. I know I’m sounding melodramatic, except that is exactly what we’ve got here. What makes it work is they’re more than that too, there are moments of mundane of a best friend who’s a douche though not really, of the makings of nemesis for God knows what reason, and of a romance which I still hesitate to call such; it seems wrong somehow to call what they had got going “romantic” because it’s all thorns and being unsure; they know nothing about each other… and as I witnessed them learn more of the other, the more they made sense together.
It’s more than the two of them. There are all these people against whom they stand out. It’s made clear that they don’t lead happy or easy lives and they don’t fake it except they don’t wallow in their respective dramas either, most obvious with them having something that eased things at least temporarily.
Drew is the most remarkable mainly because you think he is one thing and proves himself so much more. In fact, they all prove themselves to be so much more. Initially, I found both Josh and Nastya standard characters. Josh with his force field damaged boy loner thing going on. Nastya’s with her touch girl schtick. Except it’s all put on, literally for one of them and unintentionally for the other but patience on my part pays off because eventually we get a boy whose sad and a girl whose scarred, though both words seem so weak when used to describe the two.
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