Review: The Sea of Tranquility {Katja Millay}

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her – her identity, her spirit and her will to live – pay.

Josh Bennett's story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from him and now, at seventeen, there's nobody left. All he wants is to be left alone (and when your name is synonymous with death, that's not hard to achieve).

But then Nastya starts showing up at his garage and she won't leave until she's integrated herself into the most intimate parts of his life. The more Josh gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies, the unanswered questions pile up and Josh starts to wonder if he'll ever learn the secret she's been hiding. Or if he even wants to.


A few times in your reading life you will find a book that for a thousand reasons, and yet no particular reason at all, swallows you whole. For me, this was one of those books. This story isn't sugar-coated. It's cold, raw, take-it-or-leave-it truth.

There's a lot of mystery in this book and when everything was revealed I got goosebumps. This book has a strange kind of power, where it reaches inside you and pulls at your heart, your stomach, everything. It's so beautifully haunting.

Nastya wants to be someone else and so she goes to live with her aunt and enrols in a new school. Her severe emotional scarring is prays on her constantly and she has so much resentment and self-loathing, yet she rarely lets it out. She doesn't talk. She just runs and runs until she literally vomits. It's so powerful to read and I think Katja Millay was really clever making Nastya scared of the daytime, rather than the night. When I found out why, I thought it was a brilliantly handled aspect.

With Nastya, you see her emotional damage from the beginning and it seems to get more intense as time goes on. I wasn't surprised to learn what happened in her past, but what was surprising were the flashbacks. They were nothing short of chilling

On a more uplifting note, I loved Nastya's interactions with Josh and how they were almost kindred in how damaged they felt. Their relationship was tantalisingly slow, but so fulfilling to read about once it gained momentum. 

And I don't mean 'relationship' in the romantic sense. I mean the all encompassing bond they shared over their own personal tragedies. Josh believes God hates him and is so afraid to get close to anyone ever again. Watching his walls break down and watching Nastya slowly start to become a person again, was wonderful.

This is a slow journey and it took a while for Nastya and Josh's stories to come together. Though I could have done without such a long delay, once this book found its footing it was poignant and compelling. Each chapter is filled with tragedy and loss, peppered by home. It's a story that needs to be told, about second chances and the need to be defined by something other than the past.

"His hands are miracles. I can watch them for hours, transforming wood into something it never dreamed of being." 



Allie is a Pimm's-obsessed reader, who dreams of road tripping over America, learning to surf & becoming fluent in all the languages of her heritage (which, sadly, does not include Elvish). If she's not reading or blogging, you can find her catching up on Teen Wolf, or reigning supreme with Scrabble/Mario Kart.


  1. I've been wanting to read this book for quite some time now, but I've never taken the time to. I'm glad you enjoyed this :) I must get to it soon. Great review.

  2. I read this earlier this year and just loved it. I feel like it takes a really common premise (damaged characters) and did something so different with it. This was one of those books that gave me a major book hangover.

  3. I've only heard good things about this book and it sounds like it's a raw, emotional read. Glad you enjoyed it Allie! The romance sounds incredible, I'll have to read this soon.

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

  4. Ooh I like that quote! I do want to read this one. It sounds pretty amazing. I can see how the beginning could be slow...but I like that their relationship didn't happen at once. Makes it seem more real.

  5. I'm so glad this worked for you, Allie! I had some mixed thoughts about it, but I did really like it overall too. I agree that it takes some time for the story to gain momentum, but Katja Millay manages to get the relationship between Josh and Nastya just right. I really liked the romance too. Fantastic review!

  6. I love hearing how much others enjoyed this book too! It had the most perfect ending ever. :)

  7. I really loved this book too. It was painful to read in a lot of parts, after all the suffering the characters endure, but I loved the relationships and the growth over the course of the book. Just wonderful. Great review!


    1. Definitely! Some parts (flashbacks in particular) was so horrible to read. But that's just a testament to Katja Millay really! :D