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The Sea of Tranquility: A Novel | [Katja Millay]

The Sea of Tranquility: A Novel

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 17 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.

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Publisher's Summary

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 17 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.

©2012 Katja Millay (P)2013 Simon & Schuster

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (397 )
5 star
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4.3 (364 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 01-16-14
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 01-16-14 Member Since 2008

    Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Engrossing and well-done angsty teen novel!"

    There are teen novels and then again, there are teen novels. Some I find merely geared to teenage girls and others appeal to a wide variety of ages, like this one. This book held me captive for two days. I felt like an interloper in an intense relationship and I just had to know how it turned out.

    We have two very emotionally damaged teens who meet in their last year of high school. They are attracted to each other even before they even realize it. However, their life histories prevent them from acknowledging their real feelings toward one another. Their individual histories are so devastating that they may not even be able to experience or recognize true feelings. This is the story of their relationship with each other and also with their friends. It has mature subject material and would most likely not be appropriate for younger teens.

    I found the characters in this story to be well-developed, interesting, and believable. I found the ending to be very well done . The narrators are both excellent. They are extremely convincing--it felt like they were the actual characters they were "playing." If you like YA literature and emotionally intense novels, The Sea of Tranquility is for you!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Crofton, MD, United States 02-06-14
    Jennifer Crofton, MD, United States 02-06-14 Member Since 2012

    sugarpucker

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "There is NOTHING wrong with this book"

    This sounds like lackluster praise. To the contrary, it is the best thing I can ever say about a book. You know how you read a book and you get aggravated by some little annoyance, or you feel something was left out or unexplained, or you start to feel differently towards the characters than you think you should? Or maybe you know how a turn of phrase or plot line can make you roll your eyes. All these things pull you from the story. It can still be a great book. You can still love it. But there are things wrong with it none the less. In my opinion, there is NOTHING wrong with this book. If there were any imperfections, it was so completely fantastically amazing that I didn't even notice. I was not pulled from the story once. I am still thinking about the characters now. It was all real. Funny, witty, heartbreaking. Let me repeat - funny (in case you missed it). Yes there is heartache and anguish. But there is humor and redemption, too. Just like life. This is my first Audible review. I liked it so much that I couldn't not rate it.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katheryne MD, United States 06-08-13
    Katheryne MD, United States 06-08-13 Member Since 2009

    Busy mom who loves to read but doesn't always have the time. I enjoy YA, Romance and the occasional Best Seller.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My favorite book in 2013"

    I’m not someone who would really know a well written book if it bit me on the ear, but what I can tell you is that this one touched me to my very soul. This story broke me apart in so many pieces and then very carefully and slowly put me back together again. It is so beautifully written that it hurts. Yes, this is a book in the YA genre but it is so much more than the typical teen drama/romance novel. It is deep, it is raw and it will stick with you long after the story has ended. This is not a happy or sad story, but one of hope, healing and second chances.

    I’m giving this one 10 stars for the brilliant narration and for the complex beauty of this well-written gem of a book.

    46 of 54 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruffian Madison, MS USA 06-24-13
    Ruffian Madison, MS USA 06-24-13 Member Since 2012

    I'm semi-retired at 67 and a recent Cancer survivor.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    52
    ratings
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    "Wish More Stars Were Available!!"

    Having read this book on my Kindle TWICE and rated it 5+ stars both times, it was with great trepidation that I downloaded the audible.com version. It even took me almost a MONTH to begin listening to it.Y'all, this book is and was a phenomenal read, so you can imagine the leap of faith to listening to it. Well, let me put you at ease and also congratulate whoever is responsible for bringing the audio version to life. IT'S JUST AS GOOD AND NOTHING IS LOST!! In fact, the audio version adds a dimension to the printed/digital book that simply puts this book (and the author, Katja Millay) into the stratosphere of spectacular writing. There a literally hundreds of 5 star reviews on Amazon, so if you want the eloquence of a great review of the story and Katja's magnificent and powerful writing, go there. I cannot do most of them justice. But listen to me when I say that listening to this book was an experience I will never forget. Initially, I was thinking to myself "Uh-Ho--this isn't working". But knowing that it often takes acclimating to voices you may have heard in your head as you read the book, I stuck with it. And man, was it worth it. There was a tipping point when the narrators BECAME the characters and the book totally came to life. Both Kirby Heyborne and Candace Thaxton were superb in their narration, intonation, voice, timbre and whatever else it took to make this wonderful book a wonderful listen. Sometimes the 'esses' would whistle slightly but not to the point of distractions. The characters of Nastya and Josh were spoken richly by each narrator. I will return to this book again and again when I am beret of a powerful and beautifully crafted story. My three words about this book to all who see this review--LISTEN TO IT!

    18 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jordy United States 06-15-13
    Jordy United States 06-15-13

    I'm proud to be a bookaholic...addicted, obsessed, passionate!!! My favorite way to relax & escape reality....

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4612
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    "Absolutely breathtaking!!!"

    This book was beautifully written. I highly recommend this heartfelt book. I did need some tissues so be prepared.

    32 of 38 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah Oak Park, IL, United States 12-01-13
    Deborah Oak Park, IL, United States 12-01-13 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "All Time Favorite!"

    This was such an amazing book. I kept waiting to be disappointed somehow but it never happened. I had to stop and take breaks just to give myself some breathing room.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rita Hatboro, PA, United States 10-23-13
    Rita Hatboro, PA, United States 10-23-13 Member Since 2010

    Audiobooks have changed how I drive! I look forward to driving for work when I have a good book on deck.

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    "Totally Engaging"
    Any additional comments?

    The character development was excellent...Nastya and Josh are captivating young people. Even secondary characters, e.g., Drew are well developed. The characters speak like young people including cursing and sexual innuendo, and it feels authentic to the characters, not forced or obvious that it's written by an adult. This fictional book evokes real emotions; the grief and angst are almost tangible. The author doles out the tragic plot in a way that was manageable...the reader is allowed time to digest information about a character and given just enough information to wonder what will be revealed next. The dual narration was well done. The narrators sounded age appropriate, that is, they sounded like the teenagers they were narrating without sounding immature or too young. I enjoyed every minute of this book and I am anticipating listening to it again fairly soon.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Orlando, FL USA 06-06-13
    Amazon Customer Orlando, FL USA 06-06-13 Member Since 2012

    “Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.” ― Madeleine L'Engle

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "BEST STORY I HAVE EVER READ"
    What did you love best about The Sea of Tranquility?

    This story really blows all others away. It's so beautifully written, the characters Nastya and Josh are so flawed and yet perfect at the same time. It doesn't even really feel like a story, it feels like you are seeing into these people's soul and what you find there is captivating, tragic, and real. Move over, every other favorite story I have ever read.... make room for Sea of Tranquility.

    This is a book you will never regret picking up.


    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy JOSHUA, TX, United States 03-24-14
    Amy JOSHUA, TX, United States 03-24-14 Member Since 2013

    I love to read and listen to books. I teach and share my love with my teenager and I'd like to share that love with you.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Powerful, Sad & Beautiful. Must have Kleenex."

    I know. It's about time. I'd heard so much about THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY that I bought it for the library, but didn't read it. Then Felicia @ The Geeky Blogger's Book Blog decided to highlight favorite audiobooks. Guess which one popped up more than any other? Yep. So when I was manipulated by Audible to buy audiobooks, I knew this had to be one of them.

    I was immediately drawn into Nastya's world. I liked her wit and sarcasm and had to know what caused this girl to decide to remain silent. And not only that, but why was she outfitted in an armor that made her unapproachable and up for speculation. She seemed so strong and self-assured and powerless at the same time. Then the running, the relentless need to get herself to exhaustion so her mind could rest. I wanted to know her story.

    And it would take an equally broken, Josh, with an equally thick wall of amour to not only intrigue Nastya, but frustrate her right out of her shell. Their story is one of damage and trying to deal with it. They can't quite seem to wrap their own brains around who they are now after. After the loss. After the things and people who have been taken away. Much less can they figure out how to navigate the everyday high school world carrying around so much pain. They aren't who they used to be. They've changed. So they erect walls and lots of barriers to keep everyone else out and try to protect what little they have left. But it is lonely.

    This is a book to experience. I woke up at 2:30 am to snoring, so I plugged in my audiobook like usual to go back to sleep. But this was different, I couldn't go back to sleep. I stayed up the rest of the night following Nastya and Josh. My eyes leaked, my stomach was in knots and my heart broke. It was powerful and sad and beautiful.

    CANDACE THAXTON captured Nastya's anger, jadedness and intelligence. KIRBY HEYBOURNE was Josh. He was strong, withdrawn, but attentive. They took the story that KATJA wove and made it play out in my mind in 3D. BRAVO.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nereyda SAHUARITA, AZ, United States 01-18-14
    Nereyda SAHUARITA, AZ, United States 01-18-14 Member Since 2013

    Mostly YA Book Obsessed!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This is pure perfection!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    YES! YES! This book is so perfect. The kind that sneaks up on you and hooks you in. It gives you all the feels! This book has the most perfect ending I've read.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Josh, Nastya and Drew were all AMAZING in their own messed up way.


    What about Kirby Heyborne and Candace Thaxton ’s performance did you like?

    Candace Thaxton did such an AMAZING job! AMAZING! She pull off Nastya perfectly. I'm on stalk mode for more books by her.
    Kirby is not my favorite narrator. I don't like his accent and I wish someone else would have done Josh. But, I do have to admit that he pulled off Josh's emotional scenes perfectly which made it all worth it.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    ALL of it! So emotional. But that ending was chill-worthingly perfect!


    Any additional comments?

    I can’t put off this review any longer. I bought The Sea of Tranquility when it was first released, but it became one of those books that for some reason sat unread on my kindle. Then, after hearing so many great reviews I got the ARC version from Atria. I think it was all of the ‘OMG this is amazing!’ 5 stars reviews that intimidated me. Sometimes I feel like the only one that doesn’t like a book most other people rave about and I don’t like that feeling. I was finally convinced to read this a few months ago and totally got what all the fuss was about. I read this book back in June and was never able to put my feelings about this book into a coherent review. Mostly because nothing I say can do it justice and partly because, really, what else can I possibly say that other bloggers haven’t already. I bought and listened to the audiobook last week and fell in love with it all over again. I decided to just get this review over with already.

    I was more than intimidated when I started this book. Especially since my friend is a huge fan and I really think she might have shunned me if I didn’t love the book. Plus, it was long and long books and I don’t really get along. I was immediately intrigued as to what had happened to Nastya to make her the way she was, but I will admit that the beginning was a little bit slow. Not boring, just slow. Then, out of nowhere, and I’m not even sure when or where it happened, I realized I was in love with this book! I fell in love with Josh and Nastya little by little until I was drowning in all the emotions. This book hurt my soul but it was that good kind of hurt.

    Even though Nastya was kind of morbid and depression, I couldn’t not like her. Despite of her quirks and self-destructive tendencies, I understood why she was like that. And holy freaking shit, I have so much fangirling about Josh-freaking-Bennett that I don’t even know where to start. I’ll just list my favorites: I loved that he wasn’t the typical bad boy, he wasn’t an asshole, he cooks, he’s really great with his hands (I was referring to the carpentry), but my favorite thing about Josh was his love for General Hospital. Oh yeah, once I found out he was a GH fan I was a goner. Although the story heavily focuses on Josh and Nastya, Drew was such a scene stealer and one of my favorite aspect of the story. I loved his friendship with Josh and his Nastypants and I know I’m not alone when I say that I. WANT. DREW’S. STORY!!!

    A little bit on the narration. I thought Candace did such a fantastic job at capturing Nastya’s voice, attitude and feelings. She pulled off every scene brilliantly and I’m looking forward to hearing more audio books by her. I had a harder time getting used to Josh’s voice. Mostly because I thought the narrator sounded a bit too old to pull off Josh. I’ve also heard another book by him and it bothers me how slow he talks. His talking scenes are good but his narrating scenes got on my nerves sometimes. But I will admit this, Kirby did an amazing job at pulling off the really emotional scenes! As if this book wasn’t already emotional, these scenes make it hurt just a little bit more and I kept wishing he had showed more emotion throughout the rest of the book. All in all, I still really enjoyed this audio book and will listen to this again.

    Book endings are hard for me. Most of the time I feel like I still need/want more to the story. I can honestly say that this was not the case. This is the most perfect ending I have ever read! Those two words gave me the chills and made me want to go back and read it all over again. This is another one of those books where I am kicking myself for not having read it sooner. All I can say is that it’s one of the most beautiful books I’ve read and I am on full-on stalker to see what story the author has for us next. I can’t say enough good things about it and it will always be one of my ‘auto-recommend’ books.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • Reuven Nisser
    Garfield, NJ United States
    9/11/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One Of The Best"

    It is not often that you see a novel which is realistic in every way. It is sad to think that such things can happen. I loved them. Yes, I felt that I got to know them. I can understand their motivations. I can relate to them. In some parts of the book, I laughed outloud. Other times, I cryed. I can not recommend it strongly enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Annie
    Scotland
    7/8/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic Debut"
    Would you listen to The Sea of Tranquility again? Why?

    I was hooked by the unique ‘voice’ of this novel from the very first line, the prose are captivating. The point of view switched between Nastya and Josh, but in both cases the sense of these characters was immediate and honest. I guess this narration was ‘The Death of Bees’ (random blurted thought) meets ‘Pushing the Limits’.

    I would have liked more insight into Josh’s head in the second half of the novel and some of Nastya’s decisions seem to come from a far more self-destructive place than you anticipate, but the storytelling was fairly balanced otherwise. I enjoyed the slow growth of their friendship, the way they gradually slipped passed one another’s guard. The secondary characters like Drew and Tierney were well drawn, interesting and entertaining – they were pretty perfect and didn’t feel extraneous.

    If you like smart observant characters, romance, heartache and stories to get lost in then this is a good bet. It’s not fantasy, or science fiction, or a Mills and Boon romance, but it will wreck you, steal your breath and your affections, your heart even. It will impress you.

    This is a book that was worthy of a recommendation by Colleen Hoover.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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