Shiirleyy's Bookshelf has migrated to Dear Shirley ! I will continue to post book reviews but there will also be a lot of personal and travel-related posts :)

Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

26 Jan 2013

The Sea of Tranquility 
by Katja Millay 
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: June 4th, 2013
Format: Paperback, 448 pages

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. 

 Full of rage and without a purpose, former pianist Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone discovering her past and to make the boy who took everything from her pay. 

 All 17 year-old Josh Bennett wants is to build furniture and be left alone, and everyone allows it because it’s easier to pretend he doesn’t exist. When your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space. 

 Everyone except Nastya, a hot mess of a girl who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. The more he gets to know her, the more of a mystery she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he may ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding or if he even wants to. 

 The Sea of Tranquility is a slow-building, character-driven romance about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

This was such a magnificent read :) I was so glad to have a whole day of free time, during which I didn't leave my iPhone (I read it on that) for one second except for dinner and such. I've read so many disappointing books lately, so I was so ecstatic when I finally found one that I wholeheartedly enjoyed!

Nastya, the girl who lost herself...
A broken soul, tormented by her past, she lives for the day when she can face the person who damaged her, and pay him in kind. Her vendetta is what keeps her living in this world. Once a talented musician, now, she can never play the piano again after her left hand was painstakingly crushed. As soon as I read the first word, I immediately sympathised with her; she's literally a walking zombie. How could someone so young carry the burden of something so devastatingly huge?  I can't say I loved her as a character since she made so many selfish and unreasonable decisions, but I was able to overlook them. It was impossible not to feel for her when so much pain was radiating from her. 

Josh, the boy who lost everything and everyone...
Josh is a character who is easy to love and understand. Like Nastya, he's also suffered a great deal for someone so young.  Josh likes to be left alone, and it's understandable as everyone around him has passed away over the years. He isn't the "hot, sexy" guy that has captured so many hearts, but it is his strong and caring heart and his considerate personality that makes it impossible not to fall for him. He's given Nastya a place to belong, a place where she can escape her past and look forward to the future. 

"I know at that moment what he's given me and it's not a chair. It's an invitation, a welcome, the knowledge that I am accepted here. He hasn't given me a place to sit. He's given me a place to belong."

His thoughtfulness and his pure love for Nastya has made him one of my favourite characters in YA fiction :)

Drew, the sweetest best friend....
Drew is another character who's different from what he seems. Drew has the reputation of a playboy; he's incredibly good looking, and girls obviously flock around him like moths to a flame. He's a character who's burdened by his reputation and what everyone thinks he's supposed to be doing as opposed to what he wants to do. No one knows that Drew is actually kind, loving and possibly the most caring friend in the world; he's stuck by Nastya and Josh's side throughout the entire book! His humour and hilarious innuendos gave the otherwise deep and serious story a lighthearted feeling and I loved how his snarkiness is also what brings Nastya and Josh joy and laughter :) Oh, and I believe Drew will make one of the best, most persuasive lawyers in the world. His unbeatable debating skills are so amazing!

A beautiful love story that is not meant to be...
While I was reading, I had this "love-hate" relationship with the romance. It was beautiful how their love slowly developed but I wish their scenes together as a 'couple' were longer...I guess it was understandable why the two were hesitant to recognise their feelings for one another; one's damaged to the point she's past caring about anything, and the other is afraid to let anyone get close to him, because they all end up leaving. It was so heart-breaking to read about their feelings for each other through their respective POVs, but unable to act on it. Still..I absolutely love these two :) 

It's beautiful. It's heart-breaking. And above all, it teaches us about forgiveness. Those who enjoy contemporary novels, and even those who don't, I would hand this to you on a silver platter, because you must read it!

 A massive thank you to Atria Books for providing a copy of  The Sea of Tranquility for review! 


  1. Brilliant review, Shirley! I haven't read a single negative review for this book from any of my friends yet, so I'm feeling quite hopeful I'll enjoy it too. :) The characters and romance sounds like they are well developed. I'm glad there is an emotional edge to this story, too. I can't wait to get started!

  2. Woah Shirley, I remember you talking about this!

    Loos so good but ah the idea of Nastya being so 'damaged'... if it's what I think it is then I might put this off as I've read a lot of books with damaged girls in them ><

    And lol @ the romance - the absolute opposite of insta-love :P

    Great review though <3

  3. I have heard such brilliant reviews about the novel. I mean for one the cover is beautiful and two the plot seems very unique for me! Something I would enjoy immensely. I love how you set out your reviews, that are different from each other. I wish I discovered your blog soon is just brilliant! :)

  4. I seriously have yet to read a bad review for this novel. I am looking forward to finally reading it sometime. Thank you for the great review. :)
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

  5. Everyone who read this ended up loving it! im glad you found a great book to read! Also, i really like it when books teach you a lesson! Lovely review!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

  6. A wonderful review! I felt the exact same way, I adored the characters and romance.

  7. I really enjoyed this story as well, Shirley. I had a hard time liking Natsya some of the time, because of how she treated her family. I could overlook it because it was later explained, and I understood. I loved Josh, but when he had a misstep, I almost couldn't forgive him. It still bugs me. Lovely review! :)

  8. I haven't read a single negative thing about this book, but there is still something that makes me hesitant to pick it up. I'm happy to hear you loved this one so much! Great review.



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