Release Date: June 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster | Atria Books
Pages: 448 pages
Source & Format: Bought; Kindle e-book
Amazon | Goodreads
Summary (from Goodreads)
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 who 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 intensified 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.
Thoughts on The Sea of Tranquility
I actually bought The Sea of Tranquility in January 2013, which I know only because that was when I started sharing what books I'd bought each month on my blog. Why is that date significant? Well, it wasn't long after I'd returned to blogging after a six-month hiatus, and I'm pretty sure it was before I discovered the amazingness that is Kelly from Belle of the Literati.
What prompted me to buy the book? I have absolutely no idea. Maybe I saw positive Goodreads reviews? Maybe I liked the sample? Maybe a blogger I followed at the time reviewed it? The reason why is now a mystery to me because the summary alone really doesn't sound like something I'd pick up on my own. But the heart of the matter remains the same: this book languished on my Kindle for more than a year. It sat there, unread, containing untold amounts of goodness that I was missing out on with every single day that passed.
Thankfully, Kelly came into the picture. She wouldn't shut up about this book! I noticed it on her blog a lot, so it always stayed there in the back of my mind when I thought about books that I owned but still hadn't read. One day, I came right out and asked her: do I need to move this up on my TBR? I'm not going to lie - her resounding yes was pretty convincing. And then I found out Betty from Book Rock Betty was about to read it, too! Impromptu read-along? Sure thing, sugar.
The Sea of Tranquility is the perfect example of why I typically avoid participating in read-alongs. As much as I love the idea of them, I really struggle with actually doing them. I either lose interest in the book and fall behind or... I enjoy the book so much that I race ahead and finish long before everyone else. I'm hoping you can guess that this book fell into the latter category. Y'all, for the first time ever, I was trying to sneak pages of a book in at work. Every time I would try to work on something my mind would just went back to Nastya and Josh. Every time. Betty and Kelly can attest to this fact because a) Kelly and I had a long, fangirl-y text conversation going on where we discussed the many reasons this book had me under its spell and b) Betty was barely getting started and couldn't believe how much I'd already read. Eeep!
I don't even really know what to say. I started out a bit skeptical and, honestly, worried about what I'd say to Kelly if I didn't love it as much as she did. Pushing a book on someone is scary, especially when it's one of your all-time favorite books ever. And it's a little scary as a reader to read something based on someone else's recommendation when they love it in such a personal way. Thankfully, I fell for The Sea of Tranquility in a way I didn't totally didn't see coming. This book exemplifies why I get so mad at myself for buying books and leaving them unread for months+ at a time. Why did I wait so long to discover the beauty inside its pages?
This was the third book I read this year, and it immediately got five stars from me (which I haven't changed since - something I notoriously do after I've had more time to think about a book). I'm just now "reviewing" it because I couldn't really figure out what I wanted to say about it. How do you talk about a book that you loved so much that you can't really discuss it analytically? Listen, I know this book had some flaws. I can think of a few minor things that didn't totally work for me. But overall? I was a giddy reader on the high that comes when you find a new favorite read.
And yes, I'm aware that it's a book I've told you nothing about at this point. Oh well! Nastya and Josh are two of my very favorite characters I've discovered in a long time, and their interactions had such a poignancy to them. I can remember so many scenes from this book so specifically, which is a miracle because my mind basically empties itself of all small details about a book after I finish it. (Yes, Kelly can attest to this fact, too. Trying to fangirl with me while you read something that I read a while ago is basically impossible. I'm sorry! I want to remember, I really do.)
I closed this book with a huge grin on my face, and I immediately wanted to read it again. I haven't re-read it yet, but I totally will before the end of the year. The Sea of Tranquility is emotional, romantic, heartbreaking, infuriating, hilarious, amazing, intense and just downright wonderful. Adjective overload? Maybe. But it's totally deserving!
Plenty of bloggers can give you a better idea of what to expect from The Sea of Tranquility, and maybe one day I'll write a "re-read" review where I actually talk about the book and not just my reaction to it. For now, I think this is a fitting tribute to a book that sat on my shelf for more than a year and was totally deserving of my attention long before that. The Sea of Tranquility was a new all-time favorite for me! This book is really something special.
"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."