The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay [Review]

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We’re like mysteries to one another. Maybe if I can solve him and he can solve me, we can explain each other. Maybe that’s what I need. Someone to explain me.

Last read: June 8, 2014

I think this was one of the first books I read when I was just starting to go down deeper into the incredible world of young adult contemporary novels. And I think it’s no wonder why I fell in love with this book at that time: I thought this was the best one there is. But reading it almost two years and several compelling books later, I realized there’s a plethora of books out there that gives real depth to teenagers and their stories.

The Sea of Tranquility follows Nastya and Josh, two people with tragic histories, as they try to figure each other out. Two years after a terrible incident, Nastya Kashnikov decides to go back to school but she wants to go where no one knows want happened to her. Where no one knows who she was before. Here, she finds herself drawn to Josh Bennett because of how isolated he was from the rest of the students. Everyone in his family died and people tend to give him space because of that. But Nastya sees something else, something she was meant to find out. And so begins their quest to uncover the other’s mysteries without revealing their own.

One thing I haven’t noticed during my first read is that every single character of this book is flawless. Sure, Nastya had some scars from the incident but other than that, they’re all drop-dead gorgeous. This didn’t really bother me at the time – in fact, I actually quite liked it because I was so shallow then that I was sure looks meant everything – but I have since learned that great flaws make a great character. There’s something more human in characters who show insecurities making them relatable no matter how messed up their situation is in the book.

But I don’t mean to say that this book’s characters didn’t seem real. They did. Because they made me feel things. From sympathy, disgust, and anger to affection, love, and hope. I felt it. This is one of the things I love about it. They showed complexity that seemed too much for their own age. The characters of Nastya and Josh were so unstable and I didn’t notice it before. Their actions and decisions blurred the lines between what’s reasonable and not because you realize that there’s no clear division between what’s right and wrong in their situation. It made for great character study.

Overall, this didn’t seem as wonderful as it did when I first read it. However, that one thing in the end will always be my favorite part because it all made sense why Nastya wanted to figure Josh out.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (originally 5 out of 5)

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