Monday, October 21, 2013

Review: The Sea of Tranquility

The Sea of Tranquility, by Katja Millay. The Goodreads summary:
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.
My feelings for this book are a bit mixed. On the one hand, I thought it was well-written and readable, which was a good thing considering it’s longer than most other contemporary YAs. It also sucked me in for the most part, and I had a hard time putting it down because I wanted to find out the truth behind what happened in Nastya’s past and what was going to happen between Nastya and Josh in the present.

Buuuut . . . there were some things that didn’t work so well for me. Like, I never felt much of a connection to either Josh or Nastya. They’re both standoffish characters, and I felt like not only did they push away other people in the book, but they also pushed me away as a reader. I felt bad for them, sure, but I didn’t really empathize with them much despite all the crappy things they go through. I will admit, however, that their relationship did give me some butterflies towards the end because it was done pretty well.

I also struggled with some of the more minor parts of the book. Like, for instance, where were the parental figures in this book? I just had a hard time believing that Nastya’s parents were okay with sending their traumatized daughter to go live with an aunt who’s never home and doesn’t seem to care overly much what Nastya’s up to. I also had a hard time with (Spoilers) the fact that after Nastya gets attacked at the party, everyone seems to shrug it off like it’s no big deal. I mean, she almost is raped, and no one seems to think anything of it. I also thought it was a little weird that there was never any resolution with Nastya and playing the piano, considering what a big role it had in her former life. I guess I just expected that particular storyline to go somewhere. (End spoilers)

Overall, the book had its good points and its not-so-good points, but in general, I think the good outweighed the bad. It’s not a book I’d recommend to everyone, because it deals with some pretty heavy emotional issues, as well as with teen drinking, drug use, and sex. But if that stuff doesn’t bother you, I’d say go for it.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

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