Thursday, March 7, 2013

Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Our 5 star review
It wouldn’t be, if it were real. But it’s not. It’s not a sea at all. It’s just a big, dark shadow on the moon. The whole name is a lie. Doesn’t mean anything.”

Katja Millay’s novel simply amazing and is beautifully written. Nastya, an atypical seventeen year old, is staying with her aunt. She starts her senior year at a new school, with no previous ties or friendships, just the way she wants it to be-clean slate-no history. She dresses like a Russian whore; inappropriate skirts, dark eyeliner, ruby red lips. She despises her left hand, a constant reminder of what she had and what she lost, and the reminder of the nightmare that “killed” her. For a year she cannot remember, but when she remembers, she chooses silence; a choice once made, not easily taken back. Enter Drew; he is the man whore, the poster child for one night stands and has set his sights on Nastya. She just wants to be invisible, to have a force field surround her, like the boy who caught her eye does-Josh. Josh is Drew’s best friend and one of the few he has allowed to penetrate his armor. He has his own demons and history that have scarred him, and has almost as many walls to scale as Nastya. And yet these two form a connection-although it is a silent connection.

“You don’t have to trust me. I don’t have any of your secrets.”

Somehow Nastya feels again, and Josh almost allows himself to care for “sunshine”, to trust that she may not
disappear, like all the others. So many secrets, so much pain surrounds these two, and the urge is there to blanket them with love and make some feeble attempt to absorb the horror that has defined their lives. Millay has written a masterpiece, a symphony of words that cuts and flows and chisels us so how we view these two in the beginning of the book is not how we see them at the end.

“Part of us has always known that we were together because we were damaged. And maybe when she’s not so damaged anymore, I won’t be enough for her.”

Few books affect the reader in such a subtle manner, and several times I stopped, had a reflective moment and could not wait to delve back in. Why the silence, the journals, the flashbacks? What turned Nastya into a young woman who is a shell, and how will she ever survive her own past? Is Josh capable of real love, of forming a relationship that may have a future? Few books will affect readers in the manner that this one did. With each page turned, readers will be moved and transformed and will be oh so the better for it.

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