Thursday, June 13, 2013

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Title: The Sea of Tranquility
Author: Katja Millay
Narrator: Candace Thaxton, Kirby Heyborne
Series: n/a
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Source: purchased audio, received from publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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.

I don't normally review books the same day I finish them, but I'm making an exception for this phenomenal book.  For one, I usually like to mull over a book for a little bit to make sure my initial feelings remain true and that it's not just a book high causing me to rate a book a million stars when it was really only so-so.  But with The Sea of Tranquility, I know that no matter how much I think about this book -- and trust me, I won't stop thinking about it for a very long time -- my initial reaction won't change.  And if you don't believe me, you should take into consideration that this book is rated an average of 4.57 stars over on Goodreads across 14k+ ratings.

Second, I want to start a new audiobook, and if I don't get my feelings out this instant, I won't be able to concentrate on any other story.  I tried to read another book on my lunch break, and nothing doing.  I cannot stop thinking about this book!  I sort of don't want to, though.  I just want to succumb to the book hangover and live inside this book forever.  But that might be unhealthy.

I think the summary does a good job of preparing you for what's in store...except that it doesn't, not at all.  Everyone said, "I was a blubbering mess," and the like prior to me picking this up, so I expected it to be an emotionally draining read.  Which meant I need to wait till I was in the right frame of mind to pick it up.  But I don't think you can ever be prepared for this story.  I didn't even tear up during the book.  Sure, I smacked my hand against my forehead a few times and cringed and found things tragic and sad and all manner of terrible.  And, yeah, I even gagged a bit.  But the full weight of the story didn't hit me until she uttered those final two words.  And I was slayed.  I was a pile of goo.  My lip started trembling and I couldn't hold it in any longer.

It had been a great story up to that point; there's not doubt about that.  But to have the story come full-circle like gave me goosebumps.  Right before I started bawling my eyes out.  And to have just read the story of how this book came to be?  I mean, MY GOD.  I had a copy for review from Netgalley, but like I said, I was waiting for the right time to read it.  I'd actually been supposed to buddy read it with my friend Em, but other books kept pushing it down the pile, so we kind of gave up on that.  It's just as well.  I don't think this is a book -- no, an experience -- that I could have shared with anyone else.  Don't get me wrong...I'll be forcing this book on anyone and everyone who'll listen to me fangirl over it.  But knowing Em and me, we'd have been cracking jokes throughout the book as we chatted on Goodreads or Twitter, and I think I would have felt guilty about that in the end.  What I'm saying is, this is a book not to be taken lightly.  It has power.  It will climb into your heart and your subconscious and take up residency there.  And you can send it eviction notices all you want, but it's not going anywhere.

What was I saying before I went off on that tangent?  Oh, yeah.  I had this for review, but it kept sliding down the pile.  And I wanted to experience the story that had so many people talking.  But the release date had come and gone, so I did what I always do, knowing that once the release date has passed, the book falls in the TBR dead zone:  I purchased the audio.  And I did so with some trepidation because I saw that one of the narrators was Kirby Heyborne, and for some reason, I remember disliking his narration on a previous audiobook, though I can't for the life of me remember which one that was.  But after listening to The Sea of Tranquility, I'm going to assume I was mistaken, confusing this narrator with someone else.  Because, guys, he was EVERY BIT of Josh Fucking Bennett.  The emotion and turmoil rolling off of this character was palpable in his narration.  It irritates me that I was actually avoiding some other audiobooks that I really wanted to try because he was involved with them.  The narrator for Nastya's character was excellent, as well.  Candace Thaxton brought a mostly dead girl to life in a way that I probably couldn't have simply by reading the story.  But I'm not going to lie...Kirby Heyborne's narration made this audiobook for me.  I'll never doubt him again.

The intensity of the story really shone through in the audio, but it's just another testament to the extraordinary writing.  I don't think I could ever forget this book, even if I tried.  The details were just so vivid, and they'll remain embedded in my memory forever:  the chair, the pennies, the pearl button, the boots.  THE BLACK SHIT.  Gawd, I'm going to end up listening to this on the way home again...I just know it.

I could ramble on and on about this book.  I mean, I haven't even touched on the characters yet!  They're all just so...destroyed.  But they aren't trying to fix each other.  They can't.  And that's the point.  No one knows who Nastya really is...not Josh, not Drew, not even Nastya.  And Josh...he doesn't want to care about her because he's already lost all the people he can handle losing.  Drew was kind of the glue.  Douchey to a fault, he was just as damaged, but his pain was his own doing;  he just needed to be saved from himself.  They made for an interesting trio, and the secondary characters were all just as fascinating.  I don't think there's any part of this book that wasn't.

And I'd love to share some of my favorite quotes with you, as I usually do at the end of reviews for my favorite books, but I'm afraid I'd end up quoting the whole damn book.  So, in lieu of typing up the entire book for you, I suggest you just check out the quotes page on Goodreads.  And then you'll fall in love and have to read the story, too.  And then I won't be alone in my misery.  Misery loves company.  Just ask Josh and Nastya.

Rating:  photo 5-1.png

About the author:

Katja Millay grew up in Florida and graduated with a degree in film & television production from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She has worked as a television producer and a film studies and screenwriting teacher. The Sea of Tranquility is her first book.

Find Katja:

Twitter | FacebookGoodreads


  1. Ohh, Jen. <3 <3 <3 <3 I'm so glad you love this book! I did the same thing you did, I avoided this for awhile because I thought I'd have to be in the right mood for it, but it's both immensely readable (I think I read it in a day) and also impossible to prepare for. Thanks for the link to us as well, I'm really excited to see what she has coming up next!

    PS--I am SO with you on the dead zone thing. All the books are crammed out together, and once the release date passes, I'm guilty of also thinking...ehhh, I'll get around to it, and then sometimes they languish on the shelf. But I'm glad that didn't happen for you with this book.

    More hugs for you, because you probably need it! (( hug ))

  2. Ugh...I really need to read this book. I see it EVERYWHERE! And if you think I'm exaggerating even the slightest bit, I'm really not. Really, really not. Anywayss amazing review(: Glad you loved it!

  3. So you're saying you liked the book eh?? I keep seeing this book cropping up everywhere it seems. I'm still not sure its something for me but you never know.

  4. I admit I read only two pages of this and was kind of confused and gave up lol but everyone raves about it so I definitely need to give it another try. Sounds very emotional too! I'm a cry baby so if you were bawling I'm sure I'll be bawling my fricken eyes out too! Oh no now I'm worried about reading this...that is why I keep putting off trying it again. I hate sad books.

  5. People everywhere just love this book. Its all I seem to hear about. Looks like one I will just have to read so I know if it is as awesome as people keep saying.
    great review


  6. Seriously...this is one of the most fabulous books I've ever read. So glad you thought so too. Nice review Jen!

  7. I really enjoyed this one too. It took a looooong time for those two to finally get together, but I didn't mind the wait!

  8. I'm so scared to read it. You'll have to continue to push me on it until I pick it up. It sounds amazing, and your review makes me want to read it... but the angst! I'm glad that you loved it! :)



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