“My name is Nastya Kashnikov.
I was a piano-playing prodigy…
I was murdered two and a half years ago.
I barely have time to sleep these days but I will never forgive myself if I don’t make a review for this book.
I picked this up because it had high ratings on Goodreads, although that’s not always a good indication of whether I will end up liking a story or not, especially in the YA romance genre. I’ve come across some highly recommended books which I couldn’t stand, especially during these past few months. It’s like some authors these days just come up with two random (and incredibly attractive) teens, have them declare their undying love for one another (usually after they get over their initial animosity), throw in some crappy dialogue and a steamy sex scene and call it YA romance. Bonus points if one (or both) these characters have fangs, wings, tattoos or magic powers. That seems to be the formula for popular YA romance these days. Don’t get me wrong, I love YA-romance and I’m a huge fan of PR/UF, but these days it seems like some authors are simply relying on the popularity of these genres and ignoring the quality of the stories. But thankfully, The Sea of Tranquility was nothing like that. In fact, here are the very words that Nastya used in the book:
“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.”
Before we go any further, here’s my quick summary of what the story is about:
Nastya and Josh are two very damaged teens who struggle with living with the ghosts of their past. Nastya was a beautiful piano prodigy whose dreams shattered after being attacked and brutally beaten up by a random stranger. Josh was a vibrant young man who was forced to grow up quickly due to the death of his family. Their tragic pasts leave them both empty shells of the people they used to be. Josh became a loner who doesn’t talk to anyone unless he needs to, and Nastya doesn’t talk at all, period. Together they find comfort in each other and help each other see that there are still some things worth living for.
The Sea of Tranquility takes the reader on an emotional journey through Nastya’s and Josh’s grief and pain. We see them grow and struggle with their past, and most importantly, we see them heal and find happiness. It’s hard to imagine how a friendship between two people can grow so deep without talking, but the characters in this book showed us that it was possible. Not easy, but definitely possible.
I am absolutely in love with the characters in this book. I love Nastya for her strength. She’s broken and shattered but she manages to get through each day. I love how everything she does is driven by her own choice. I love Josh for being understanding and sensitive of Nastya’s needs. Not everyone would let some girl they barely know sit in their garage for hours to watch them work, without saying a word. He never pushed her for answers, even when I felt like he deserved it. He gave her a place to hide out from all the judgement and questions she faced in everyday. Like Nastya said, he gave her “a place to belong”.
To be honest, I had to push myself a little to get through the first few chapters of the book. Not because it was horribly written or anything (in fact, it was the exact opposite), but simply because it started off *really* slow. And I felt very confused a lot of the time because I had no idea what was going on. I couldn’t understand why Josh and Nastya were so angry and why they chose to isolate themselves from the rest of the world. But I promise you, once you get through the first few chapters it will all be worth it. The author chose to unravel the mysteries of Josh’s and Nastya’s past ve~ry slowly, but I think that this was one of this book’s charms.
I started to really get hooked when Nastya found her way to Josh’s garage for the first time, and when she started coming back every night. I loved how they were perfectly content with just staying in there with each other and not saying a word. At this point I just wanted to lock myself in my room and read the entire story until I reach the last page. It hurt whenever reality called and I had to put the book down, even if it was only for a few hours. I wanted to devour the entire story in one sitting, but it was difficult because it was so beautifully written that every time I finished I chapter, I would go back and read it again before moving on to the next one. In fact, as soon as I finished the book, I went straight back to chapter one and read the whole thing once again.
In most of my reviews, I usually complain about how the story ended (or sometimes, why it had to end at all). It frustrates me whenever there are loose ends to the book. I know that a lot of the time this is not something we can avoid, after all, life doesn’t come in a nice, neat little package. The Sea of Tranquility definitely left the reader with some unanswered questions, but the story ended so beautifully that I don’t even care. After reading the last chapter, all I could do was smile and hold back my tears because it was *so* perfect. I must have replayed the last lines of the book in my mind over a hundred times already, but I still can’t get over how powerful and truly flawless they are.
5 out of 5 stars. I’d give it a million stars if I could. I think it’s pretty clear that I am absolutely in love with this book. Everything about it was breathtakingly beautiful (well, not so much the tragedies that happened to the characters, but you know what I mean). Even the title and cover is beautiful. This book is about many things – love, acceptance, grief, salvation, friendship, strength, and most importantly, second chances. It’s only March but I think it’s safe to say that this will probably be one of my favorite books of the year and I strongly suggest that you give it a try 🙂