Books Young Adult Fiction The Sea of Tranquility

The Sea of Tranquility Featured

http://www.yabookscentral.com/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x275s/85/ea/a2/_16151178-1359812467.jpg
 
4.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
507   1
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
14+
Release Date
June 04, 2013
ISBN
978-1476730943
Buy This 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.

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.

Editor reviews

Average editor rating from: 2 user(s)

Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
3.5  (2)
Characters 
 
4.5  (2)
Writing Style 
 
4.0  (2)

What I Loved:
Millay does a great job setting up the mystery of Emilia/Nastya's past (and I'm just going to call her Nastya from now on, since that's what she goes by for the bulk of the book). From the very beginning, Millay hooked me into the story, and I had no choice but to finish the book. The first paragraph is incredibly dramatic, lighting a fire to discover who did this to her and whether she will succeed in killing him, the light of vengeance flashing in her eyes. Millay also does a great job of sustaining the forward motion through the book. I read it slowly, because it was my Nook book, for whenever I had downtime but no print books with me, but I was always excited to get to read a little bit more and to watch the story unravel.

I also think that, largely, Millay's writing is quite skilled. I highlighted several quotes throughout that spoke to me in their beauty or their wisdom. Though I make a habit of this, there aren't too many authors who get me to make note of that number of sentences. I applaud her for this, and on the wit and intelligence of the writing alone, I know I'll be reading whatever Millay's next book is.

What Left Me Wanting More:
However, much as I loved the writing on a basic level, I do feel like it has a couple of major weaknesses. First of all, Nastya and Josh's perspectives read exactly the same to me. Their narrations are the exact same amount of bitter and the same flavor too. They use the same sorts of derogatory terms to think of others and have a similar cadence to their thoughts, as well as matching desires to avoid emotional attachments and to respond sarcastically to things. Were it not for the helpful chapter headings, I would have been reliant on the narrator seeing the other character to figure out whose mind I was in. Though I did largely like the narrative voice, they were much too similar.

The second drawback to the writing, and the main reason I was rolling my eyes, is how damn angsty it is. Josh and Nastya could win an Olympics of angst. It's ridiculous. Honestly, I didn't have a good handle on what angst was before this book, and even asked Renae of Respiring Thoughts about it. NOW I get it, because they WOULD. NOT. STOP. Don't believe me?

"Maybe what he says should floor me, but it doesn't even make me blink. Maybe I should jump in immediately and tell him that he shouldn't think that way. That, of course, God doesn't hate him. That it's a ridiculous thing to believe. Except, it's not. Nothing about it is ridiculous. When you watch every person you love systematically removed from your life until at seventeen years old there is no one left, how can you think anything else? It makes such perfect sense that the only thing that surprises me is that I didn't think of it myself." (195-6

"People like Josh Bennett and I don't get perfect. Most of the time, we don't even get remotely tolerable." (289)

"Everything is hell now and I deserve it, but I can handle pain if it's pain of my own choosing." (336)

"'I figure the next time I want to completely destroy all chance of happiness, at least I'll remember doing it.' It'll make the self-loathing that much easier." (345)

"'The worst part is that I'm not even allowed to be angry about it, because it's my fault. Is that what you need me to say? That I know it's all my fault? That none of this would have happened in the first place if I wasn't determined to destroy myself and everyone around me? Fine. It's all my fault! Everything is my fault, and no one knows it more than me. We're all in hell and I'm the one who put us here." (368)

Keep in mind that that is merely a sampling. Like, I completely get that their lives have been largely terrible, what with Nastya's tragic past and Josh having lost all of his family (to death, not at the mall). Still, constantly telling me that they're NOT being over the top with their thoughts about how much their lives suck is precisely the way to make me think they are being over the top, because it makes me look closer. I mean, yeah, they had shitty hands dealt to them, but, goddamn, they are still children of privilege, and intelligent besides. Plus, for all their talk of being alone, they have friends (Josh) and family (Nastya) who care deeply about them; they're not as alone as they pretend to be. They don't begin to have it as hard as so many other people in this world that their constant moaning about how they weren't overreacting got seriously old.

Speaking of that angsting, if we cut that out, the book would be a way more manageable length. This book weighs in at 450 pages, and that definitely felt too long. I'm all for long books, but they shouldn't feel long; they should feel right. While I appreciate that she took time to set up the emotions, there's definitely space to cut things out and leave the emotional arc as is, though I would also cut out a few of the cheesier lines between Josh and Nastya that made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. I also thought the end dragged, the last fifty pages or so.

Some More Good Things:
All of those things aside, I really enjoyed reading The Sea of Tranquility, and did root for Nastya and Josh most of the time, pretty much up until they actually got together (wah wah). More than them, though, I liked Drew's family, who invites everyone over for Sunday dinner. Drew's parents are some of the best parents I've seen in young adult fiction, not just to their own kids, but to their friends as well. Millay took the time to develop the secondary characters, like Drew, his family, and Clay, which rounded out the book nicely.

The Final Verdict:
Despite some reservations, The Sea of Tranquility was an engaging read, one I was generally loath to put down. Millay has earned her way onto my list of authors to watch, though I hope to see a bit less angst in her next book.
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0

Dark and Angsty

What I Loved:
Millay does a great job setting up the mystery of Emilia/Nastya's past (and I'm just going to call her Nastya from now on, since that's what she goes by for the bulk of the book). From the very beginning, Millay hooked me into the story, and I had no choice but to finish the book. The first paragraph is incredibly dramatic, lighting a fire to discover who did this to her and whether she will succeed in killing him, the light of vengeance flashing in her eyes. Millay also does a great job of sustaining the forward motion through the book. I read it slowly, because it was my Nook book, for whenever I had downtime but no print books with me, but I was always excited to get to read a little bit more and to watch the story unravel.

I also think that, largely, Millay's writing is quite skilled. I highlighted several quotes throughout that spoke to me in their beauty or their wisdom. Though I make a habit of this, there aren't too many authors who get me to make note of that number of sentences. I applaud her for this, and on the wit and intelligence of the writing alone, I know I'll be reading whatever Millay's next book is.

What Left Me Wanting More:
However, much as I loved the writing on a basic level, I do feel like it has a couple of major weaknesses. First of all, Nastya and Josh's perspectives read exactly the same to me. Their narrations are the exact same amount of bitter and the same flavor too. They use the same sorts of derogatory terms to think of others and have a similar cadence to their thoughts, as well as matching desires to avoid emotional attachments and to respond sarcastically to things. Were it not for the helpful chapter headings, I would have been reliant on the narrator seeing the other character to figure out whose mind I was in. Though I did largely like the narrative voice, they were much too similar.

The second drawback to the writing, and the main reason I was rolling my eyes, is how damn angsty it is. Josh and Nastya could win an Olympics of angst. It's ridiculous. Honestly, I didn't have a good handle on what angst was before this book, and even asked Renae of Respiring Thoughts about it. NOW I get it, because they WOULD. NOT. STOP. Don't believe me?

"Maybe what he says should floor me, but it doesn't even make me blink. Maybe I should jump in immediately and tell him that he shouldn't think that way. That, of course, God doesn't hate him. That it's a ridiculous thing to believe. Except, it's not. Nothing about it is ridiculous. When you watch every person you love systematically removed from your life until at seventeen years old there is no one left, how can you think anything else? It makes such perfect sense that the only thing that surprises me is that I didn't think of it myself." (195-6

"People like Josh Bennett and I don't get perfect. Most of the time, we don't even get remotely tolerable." (289)

"Everything is hell now and I deserve it, but I can handle pain if it's pain of my own choosing." (336)

"'I figure the next time I want to completely destroy all chance of happiness, at least I'll remember doing it.' It'll make the self-loathing that much easier." (345)

"'The worst part is that I'm not even allowed to be angry about it, because it's my fault. Is that what you need me to say? That I know it's all my fault? That none of this would have happened in the first place if I wasn't determined to destroy myself and everyone around me? Fine. It's all my fault! Everything is my fault, and no one knows it more than me. We're all in hell and I'm the one who put us here." (368)

Keep in mind that that is merely a sampling. Like, I completely get that their lives have been largely terrible, what with Nastya's tragic past and Josh having lost all of his family (to death, not at the mall). Still, constantly telling me that they're NOT being over the top with their thoughts about how much their lives suck is precisely the way to make me think they are being over the top, because it makes me look closer. I mean, yeah, they had shitty hands dealt to them, but, goddamn, they are still children of privilege, and intelligent besides. Plus, for all their talk of being alone, they have friends (Josh) and family (Nastya) who care deeply about them; they're not as alone as they pretend to be. They don't begin to have it as hard as so many other people in this world that their constant moaning about how they weren't overreacting got seriously old.

Speaking of that angsting, if we cut that out, the book would be a way more manageable length. This book weighs in at 450 pages, and that definitely felt too long. I'm all for long books, but they shouldn't feel long; they should feel right. While I appreciate that she took time to set up the emotions, there's definitely space to cut things out and leave the emotional arc as is, though I would also cut out a few of the cheesier lines between Josh and Nastya that made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. I also thought the end dragged, the last fifty pages or so.

Some More Good Things:
All of those things aside, I really enjoyed reading The Sea of Tranquility, and did root for Nastya and Josh most of the time, pretty much up until they actually got together (wah wah). More than them, though, I liked Drew's family, who invites everyone over for Sunday dinner. Drew's parents are some of the best parents I've seen in young adult fiction, not just to their own kids, but to their friends as well. Millay took the time to develop the secondary characters, like Drew, his family, and Clay, which rounded out the book nicely.

The Final Verdict:
Despite some reservations, The Sea of Tranquility was an engaging read, one I was generally loath to put down. Millay has earned her way onto my list of authors to watch, though I hope to see a bit less angst in her next book.

Was this review helpful to you? 
What I Loved: It's not often that a book leaves me at a loss for words, but this one did. I read it fairly quickly although I wouldn't classify it as a "fast read" because if you skip over any part then you'll miss vital pieces of this story which is as complex and beautiful as it's characters. Nastya and Josh are unique and an interesting mix of strength and vulnerability. Both are broken in ways that most people can't begin to fathom but it's in that shared loss they're able to connect and help each other.

Perceptions and first impressions play a key role in this story but once the characters begin to reveal themselves it becomes obvious how misconstrued those impressions are.

My first impressions:

Natsya - Angrypants

Josh - Untouchable

Drew - Captain Inappropriate


Lasting Impressions:

Natsya - Strong

Josh - Unconditional love

Drew - Loyal (He could totally be my BFF!)

Drew's Mom - What to strive for.

What Left Me Wanting: The cover snob in me says this one does not do this book justice even though it does show elements that tie into the story. Pacing was a little slow in the beginning for me and it seemed to take forever before there was any kissing.

Final Verdict: Gritty, heart-wrenching, beautiful story of love, forgiveness and second chances. Read it.

Favorite Quote(s):

"He hasn't given me a place to sit. He's given me a place to belong." ~ Nastya

"I imagine she came out of the birth canal holding a cupcake and a spatula." ~ Josh

Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Jen, Editor Reviewed by Jen, Editor April 07, 2013
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (408)

Gritty, Heart-wrenching, Beautiful

What I Loved: It's not often that a book leaves me at a loss for words, but this one did. I read it fairly quickly although I wouldn't classify it as a "fast read" because if you skip over any part then you'll miss vital pieces of this story which is as complex and beautiful as it's characters. Nastya and Josh are unique and an interesting mix of strength and vulnerability. Both are broken in ways that most people can't begin to fathom but it's in that shared loss they're able to connect and help each other.

Perceptions and first impressions play a key role in this story but once the characters begin to reveal themselves it becomes obvious how misconstrued those impressions are.

My first impressions:

Natsya - Angrypants

Josh - Untouchable

Drew - Captain Inappropriate


Lasting Impressions:

Natsya - Strong

Josh - Unconditional love

Drew - Loyal (He could totally be my BFF!)

Drew's Mom - What to strive for.

What Left Me Wanting: The cover snob in me says this one does not do this book justice even though it does show elements that tie into the story. Pacing was a little slow in the beginning for me and it seemed to take forever before there was any kissing.

Final Verdict: Gritty, heart-wrenching, beautiful story of love, forgiveness and second chances. Read it.

Favorite Quote(s):

"He hasn't given me a place to sit. He's given me a place to belong." ~ Nastya

"I imagine she came out of the birth canal holding a cupcake and a spatula." ~ Josh

Was this review helpful to you? 
 

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.

Already have an account? or Create an account
 
Powered by JReviews

LATEST YABC BLOG POSTS - BLOG TOURS, ANNOUNCEMENTS, AND GIVEAWAYS

View more blog entries

Latest Book Listings Added

Category: Kids Fiction
An ordinary Danish Christmas turns extraordinary when a family overlooks an important folkloric tradition. Christmas has come, and with it...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Mama Rabbit is too sick to leave her bed. Poor Mama! When Papa Rabbit leaves home to get her some...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
In this masterpiece about freedom, feminism, and destiny, Printz Honor author A.S. King tells the epic story of a girl...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
After and Again
Category: Young Adult Indie
Centuries after a cataclysmic event drastically changed the world, fifteen-year-old Zack McQueen stumbles upon a cave filled with relics from...
 
0.0
 
4.6 (2)
Category: Kids Fiction
This third book in the Alien in My Pocket series is the zaniest yet! Zack and Amp create a massive...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Wren Connolly thought she'd left her human side behind when she dies five years ago and came back 178 minutes...
 
5.0
 
4.7 (1)
Category: Kids Fiction
With her birthday coming up, Jessica hopes that, just maybe, her present will be a real-live potbellied pig. Jessica can...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Nonfiction
An enchanting treasury of fairy lore! Around the corner, behind the bushes, and just out of sight...fairies have spent hundreds...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
blue lily lily blue.jpg
There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up. Blue Sargent has found things. For...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
When Churchill the pig loses his precious tail, his friends help him hunt for a new one. But trying new...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Three wishes go awry in a middle-grade debut as comical as it is spooky. Toxic Vapor Worms. Shark Hounds. King-Crab...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Peanut Butter and Jellyfish are best of friends and swim up, down, around, and through their ocean home. Crabby is...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
From talented illustrator Laura Bryant and gifted newcomer Aimee Reid comes a charming, heartwarming story about a little elephant's love...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Nonfiction
This kid-friendly book offers a first thoughtful glimpse into the world of birds: from eggs to nests, from song to...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Hooey Higgins and friends are back for another hilarious madcap adventure — this time, their dubious inventive skills are put...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Gene. Sys. Book Cover
Category: Young Adult Indie
The world is supposed to end in about a year. For Atom, that means his quest is about to begin....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
This novel-in-verse—at once literary and emotionally gripping—follows the unfolding friendship between two very different teenage girls who share a hospital...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Day Human King Cover
Category: Young Adult Indie
After he inherited the power of the late sidhe king, Devin thought the battle to protect Nessa and proceed with...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Core.jpg
Category: Young Adult Indie
Are you brave enough to turn the page? Fight with Ava as she battles the blood-sucking shadows of...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)