Published by Atria, Simon & Schuster on November 2012
Genres: Contemporary YA
Source: For Review
I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!
Nastya, once a budding piano prodigy, has found everything taken away from her. She’s moved to a new school where nobody will know her and what happened to her and she has no plans of talking about it — or about anything at all. Until she meets Josh Bennett who has had everyone he’s loved taken away from him. There’s something about him that she notices immediately and she sees how nobody even goes near him at school. He definitely notices her because she’s the mystery around school and somehow she keeps showing up everywhere. They begin to get know each other better but they realize there are still so many things they don’t know about each other — secrets that aren’t ready to be told. (I know this sounds vague but THE STORY IS SO GOOD).
I mentioned last week that How To Love by Katie Cotugno got me out of a strange slump I was in but there was one more book that helped? YEP The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay blew that reading slump to smithereens. I just need to sing this book’s praises. My dear friend Jen told me a long time ago to read it back when it hadn’t even been released but I just never got to it. STUPID STUPID STUPID.
So let’s talk about what made me all heart-eyed towards this book.
1. This book was the WHOLE package. The Sea of Tranquility was a beautifully layered and absorbing story with just so much depth to it — every plot line felt significant, the writing was excellent, every minor character added so much and the emotions that tie it all together are rooted deep..not something superficial. I felt it all to my core and I really, really needed these character’s in my life. It’s the kind of book that should be in the dictionary next to the word poignant because it was that in every sense of the word but it was beautiful and uplifting and happymaking at the same time. There were times when my heart would be fluttering because of a Josh/Nastya interaction or the feeling of Nastya’s walls falling down a little bit. And then my heart could be brutally aching — just because of the intensity of their stories and their sadness. This story will stay with me.
2. As I finished the book I was immediately longed for the characters. These are characters that leap off the pages and crash right into your heart. Nastya (this girl and her snarkiness!) and Josh (so, so sweet) were the kind of lead characters you long for — realistic and flawed and memorable. They are broken and so wanting to be whole in the face of what has happened to them. You learn a lot about them and you feel everything they feel. I loved their individual story and the strength I saw in them and their relationship brought me great joy and great pain sometimes and WOW it was intense and light and all consuming for the reader watching these two broken souls come together. I loved their time in the garage and how their friendship evolved. It was perfect. And the thing is…it could have been a good book with two great main characters and maybe some decent secondary characters but Katja Millay’s secondary characters made this book move to that GREAT. I was so invested in THEIR lives too and every single one of them added so much to this story. I mean, DREW. You peg him for one thing, and he is that, but he is SO MUCH MORE. He was one of my FAVORITE characters and the more I saw of him and got to know of him I just LOVED him especially with how he and Nastya interacted! I loved the family dinners and just really his family was so memorable to me. GAH I could go on about ALL the characters but I so appreciated how dimensional they were!
3. I haven’t given favorite status to a book in a while but this book deserves it. I read an e-arc I had of this sitting on my kindle and I NEED this novel to be sitting on my shelf. I need it to be here for when I want to get lost in their story and the words. To reread certain parts that just really affected me. This is the type of book that was perfect for me — yeah, there were little things I could be nit-picky about (like a certain part that gutted me but didn’t make all that much sense because I’m not sure I understood the motives of Nastya in that moment) but all I can think about this book is how much I loved it and how deeply I felt. My heart felt raw but so alive after and I never wanted that feeling to end.
I hate that I feel like I can’t convey my love for this book. I’m smitten. Beyond smitten. This book just gutted me because of how visceral of an experience it all was — the way Nastya and Josh’s stories are revealed, the beautiful way in which Nastya begins to find herself again and just the raw sadness that emanated from the characters sometimes. But it made me laugh and swept me off my feet and gave me genuine hope. It’s a new favorite for sure and I will be pushing it on everyone I can because The Sea of Tranquility took my expectations for it, stomped on them and gave me this perfect book that I needed so, so bad.
Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? What did you think of it? Did you love Drew and Nastya’s relationship? Her and Josh? ALSO, is anyone else confused as to why this is labeled New Adult? (Or do you have insight that could help me understand that label?)