Title: The Sea of Tranquility [Goodreads][Amazon]
Author: Katja Millay
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: June 4, 2013
In My Opinion: Worth a try!
One Line: It was poetic and emotional, but it didn’t affect me as much as I was expecting.
About the Book: 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.
I always feel like the “odd man out” when I don’t love a book that tons of others have gushed over. I don’t know. Maybe I was just reading this at the wrong time in my life; at a point when I was seriously going through a reading slump and nothing was intriguing me. It’s not that the story wasn’t interesting, because it was. The characters were pretty damaged and had a lot of depth to them, but the plot was kind of boring and too slow for my taste. For me, things didn’t pick up until close to two-thirds of the way in, and by that time, I was pretty much done with the book and just going through the motions. And, lord, if I had originally known the book was close to 500 pages when I started it, I would’ve saved it for when I actually felt up to reading something emotional and heavy.
I think the only thing that kept the story going for me was Drew and Josh. Drew is such a great secondary character and really brings the light-heartedness to an otherwise somber story. He definitely balances out Josh and Nastya, who have both dealt with some pretty rough crap in their lives. Josh was a bit more challenging, but, I still really liked him. The poor guy has lost everyone he loves and I was surprised he wasn’t more damaged than he was. Maybe because my head and my heart wasn’t in it, but I never could exactly pinpoint the moment when he first broke through Nastya’s wall, and that fact kind of bugs me because it seems like it would be a climactic moment and I didn’t feel the “it factor” at all.
Nastya never really appealed to me. I know something tragic happened to her. It was senseless and heartless, but it wasn’t as crazy as I thought it was. And to have her treat her family the way that she did, it didn’t sit right with me. I understood her need to dress up and mask her true self to keep people at arms length, but sometimes it bordered on “too much” and it didn’t make me feel for her any more than I already did. I was sympathetic to what happened to her, but other than that, I couldn’t connect to her, therefore, didn’t really like her at all.
The Sea of Tranquility is an emotional and poetic story, the writing is pretty well done, but as far as engagement and intrigue goes, it was lacking in those areas for me. It was really more of a character-driven story, and since I couldn’t really connect with the characters, at least with Nastya, I suppose that’s why it fell kind of flat. I know I’m in the minority here as everyone else seems to love this book, but didn’t really stand out in any way for me. I feel like when a book doesn’t capture me at least a third of the way in or if I can’t connect to the characters, especially the main character, then chances are, I won’t like it, no matter how well-written or poignant it supposedly is.