Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay



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 to 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.


Hello everyone! It’s Manu and Alex here. Alex asked me for book recommendations, and how could I not bring The Sea of Tranquility up? Obviously, I couldn’t stop myself from re-reading it with her, so here we are!

I hate my left hand. I hate to look at it. I hate it when it stutters and trembles and reminds me that my identity is gone. But I look at it anyway, because it also reminds me that I’m going to find the boy who took everything from me. I’m going to kill the boy who killed me, and when I kill him, I’m going to do it with my left hand.

This is how the book begins, yep, it’s really intense. This isn’t a light, easy read, so take your time with it. Our advice is to keep close attention to every detail, because you’ll love it so much more if you do. The book alternates Nastya and Josh’s point of views. Both point of views are really amazing, we found ourselves wanting to read every scene from both point of views because they have such an interesting, different and refreshing way of seeing and reacting to every situation that we just couldn’t get enough.

I don’t dress this way because I like it so much or because I want people to stare at me in general. But people are going to stare at me for the wrong reasons anyway, and if they are going to stare at me for the wrong reasons, then at least I should get to pick them.

Nastya’s always all dressed in balck, tight shirts, short skirts, heels, black eyeliner, dark red lipstick, and she does it so that people will stare at her clothes and not at the troubled girl underneath. Something horrible happened to her three years before, and that something’s still haunting her. She stopped talking, she hasn’t said a word to anyone in two years; so she moved with her aunt because it was too painful to stay with her family and see the disappointment in their eyes everyday. She’s angry, she’s lost, she’s not sure how her life should turn out from there. But, if you look closely, you’ll see how much the girl inside her is screaming to go back to really living. You’ll see how people really don’t know how to overcome a trauma by themselves, but how it’s pointless to push them, they just have to come to the point when they’ll be the ones asking for help. For now, Nastya’s therapy is running, she started running one night after a fight with her parents.

I don’t even know how far I made it that night, probably not very, before I was gasping and my lungs ached and my stomach convulsed and I puked right where I was standing. And it was awesome. It was cathartic and constructive and destructive and perfect.

That is, until one night, she ends up in front of Josh Bennett’s garage. Nastya saw him at school, and was immediately pulled to him; not because he’s beautiful, even though he is, but because he’s surrounded by people at school but it looks like there’s a force field around him, like no one would dare to really come close to him.

I wonder if it’s just me or if it’s like that for everybody; that every time someone dies you start counting how much time has passed since they’ve been gone. First you count it in minutes, then in hours. You count in days, then weeks, then months. Then one day you realize that you aren’t counting anymore, and you don’t even know when you stopped. That’s the moment they’re gone.

Josh has been dealt a really difficult set of cards in his life; he’s lost his whole family, so he doesn’t want to get close to anyone because he thinks that way, he won’t loose anyone else. Josh doesn’t really want to be with Nastya, but he can’t bring himself to ask her to leave.

I know at that moment what he’s given me, and it isn’t 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.

*sobs quietly* We’re sorry but it’s just so beautiful.

Anyway, Josh’s not completely alone, his best friend is Drew Leighton.

He’s the kind of good-looking that transforms once self-respecting females into useless puddles of dumbass.

Drew is the hot guy of the school, the one that gets every girl he wants and then leaves them behind, and no one holds it against him, because he never promised more than that. When Nastya shows up, he’s all over her, but she finds him more amusing than anything else. For the first time, Drew can be himself, being flirty, witty, and funny without expectations, he knows Nastya won’t sleep with him, she keeps up with him, even if she doesn’t speak. That’s how their friendship begins, and let us tell you, it’s awesome. Don’t let him fool you, he’s a lot different from the careless jackass he seems to be; you’ll find out more about him and his family, and you’ll love it!

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.

So, Nastya and Josh’s relationship is full of ups and downs, because neither of them want to give in to their feelings, or in Nastya’s case, she can’t tell the truth to him or to anyone else because she’s not ready, and you can’t really love and be loved until you’re ready to give everything of yourself to someone. But we really like their relationship because it’s real and when they’re in one of their ups it feels like when they’re together, they’re finally home.

People like to say love is unconditional, but it’s not, and even if it was unconditional, it’s still never free. There’s always an expectation attached. They always want something in return. Like they want you to be happy or whatever and that makes you automatically responsible for their happiness because they won’t be happy unless you are… I just don’t want that responsibility.

It’s all very beautiful until it gets messy and you’ll start crying and won’t stop long after you turn the last page.

When I look at her now, I think, for just one second, that God doesn’t hate me so much after all.


With this, we leave you because we’re a crying mess again! If you haven’t picked up this book yet, please do it. And once you’re done, please look again at the cover and adore with us the accuracy of it.

We’ll be here with tissues and free hugs! xo

manuela unnamed calloway sisters


One thought on “Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

  1. Pingback: Recommendation Saturday: standalones | Calloway Books

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