Book Review – The Sea Of Tranquility by Katja Millay

by Maryse on September 30, 2012 · 47 comments

in My Book Reviews

The Sea of Tranquility
This one is easily going to be one of my favorites this year. And I mean TOP favorites. A subdued and somber story but with a great measure of warmth that took my breath away. I was absolutely and personally touched by the time I reached the end. Every part of me was wholeheartedly invested in these complex characters, and even the “normal” moments, and the facetious characters brought a certain depth to the story as a whole. It was… profound. The heartache tangible (and unimaginable) and yet… so real.

The writing is eloquent, thoughtful and wonderfully introspective. This may be a story revolving around two seventeen/eighteen year olds, but the level of maturity, the intense emotional issues and the personal struggles they both face are far beyond their years. And thanks to my book friends that adamantly recommended this, I was privileged to partake in their journey with them, while simultaneously experiencing it with so many of you!

Paula: Just finished Sea Of Tranquility and it was amazing!!

Tiffany: SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay should be put at the top of Everyones TBR LIST!! It was recommended by Paula on Your Facebook page!! I Loved it!! One of my top 5 faves so far this Year!! Its Y/A but soooo Much More..Made me feel all sorts of Good and Bad..Made me Giggle out loud..Made me Teary eyed…Sad it ended..She could Prob write a sequel..Wish she would..:))))))

Amy: Just read the sea of tranquility, omg loved it!!

Abby: The Sea of Tranquility was extraordinary. The depth of the writing, the gut-wrenching emotion, and the incessant mystery made it by far one of my favorite reads of this year. I think it might even fall above On Dublin Street on my list of favorites!

Danielle: Just finished Sea of Tranquility and it was the best I have spent in a long time!

Claudia: Oh My God..just finished reading The Sea of Tranquility and I can’t stop crying. It’s been a while since a book has had this much of an impact on me. AMAZING

Maryse’s Book Blog: … right now I’m heading into “The Sea of Tranquility”. You guys have yet again blown up my “suggestion box” with this one and it already has 25 FIVE STAR reviews. Oh and did I mention, it ONLY has 5 star reviews? Yep. I AM SOOOOOO IN!!!!!

sidenote from Maryse <—- as of  this review, it’s up to 39 FIVE star reviews… ONLY five star reviews!

Brandi: I finished it today. One of the best books I’ve read lately. Loved it.

Nicolle: Yes!! It was a great book!! It is considered a YA, I think- but don’t let that hold you back!! :-) not usually my style either but I loved it!!

Jocelyn:  Amazing story. One of the best of the year.

Ana: This is hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read. It is truly a work of art, beautifully poetic and just down right awesome. How a story so depressing and sad can be told in a way that is so compelling and draws you in bit doesn’t “depress” you but has you holding out for the sunshine in the storm is fantastic. I need to pull out the thesaurus because my vocabulary does not contain the words to express how wonderful this book is.

After receiving that many enthusiastic recommendations, I jumped in almost immediately. At first the synopsis had me a bit… hrmmm… hesitant, but the actual reader enthusiasm for it was enough for me. This was obviously going to be so much more than what I perceived from that synopsis. And now that I look back on the synopsis, it is exactly right, but I understand it better and it makes sense, now that I have “lived” it.

This quote direct from the summary, though, I couldn’t have said any better (and I was actually going to mention that “slow buildup”):

The Sea of Tranquility is a slow-building, character-driven romance about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

It was a slow start, but not so slow as to want to put it down. But slow enough that I wondered if I’d be as passionate about it in the end, as my fellow readers were. I knew I was liking it, I just wasn’t sure I was loving it. It didn’t take too long for me to start feeling it, though…

Maryse’s Book Blog: I’m 37% in right now. Very good. It’s a bit slower to start… but the writing is so eloquent and amazing, and I KNOW i’m in for something big.

Tiffany: Yep..She is a very talented Author!! Her characters make you Feel for them and want to Know them!! So glad your Excited Maryse!!

Takisha: Started this one yesterday night..just finished a few minutes ago….LOVED IT! I just stopped crying and took a deep breathe….smh

Maryse’s Book Blog: Ok I have been furious twice in this book. Right now is the second time, and I can’t even ….

Takisha: Man i cant wait to know what has you furious…….

Lise: Breathe… relax….

Maryse’s Book Blog: Oh GOD I LOVED IT!!!! I mean… I enjoyed it (as much as you can enjoy that kind of sad pain, you know…) it was a long read, but sooooo deep and eloquent and just WOW. The end absolutely moved me, and as I stand back and reflect on it as a whole, perfect. A different kind of read, but so BIG. LOVED.

Sandra: I finished reading it a couple of hours ago and my heart still feels like it’s being squeezed. Love it!!

Maryse’s Book Blog: Josh is my kind of hero perfection… his reactions so real and imperfect and human, damaged (with reason), brooding (with reason), emotionally detached (with reason) and still soooo “there” … so vulnerable. LOVED it. HIM.

So what’s it about? Well, no matter what I say, it’s not going to come close to the actual “feel” of the story. I won’t be able to do it justice by trying to tell you what it’s about. Luckily you have the book that will do that for you, but as I explained it to my husband and noticed his great interest in it (after all… he didn’t “air-choke” me into leaving him alone about this one), I suppose I can “short-form” it for you here.

Nastya moves in with her aunt a few cities away from her parent’s home. There’s…. something about her. Something from her past that she is escaping and she’s taking on a new life. Starting a new high school where nobody knows her. But she’s going in with a plan. To keep everyone away from her. And that’s not hard with her personal angry/hot-mess “makeover”. Oh. And that fact that she doesn’t talk. At all. To anyone. EVER.

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.

Plus, a little unwelcome staring is a small price to pay for scaring everyone off. I don’t think there’s a girl in the school who will want to talk to me, and any boy who’s interested probably won’t be much for conversation. And so what? If I’m going to get unwanted attention, better it be for my ass than for my psychosis and my effed-up hand.

Her plan *mostly* works (of course there are the occasional bad-boy propositions, lewd suggestions, and popular girl sneers). And while she struggles with her emotions and reactions at times, she hides it well.

Until she sees “Josh”, who seems to have a better handle on this “keep away” thing.

… there is no one sitting on the bench, except him. When I look more closely, there’s no one even hanging around in the immediate vicinity. It’s like there’s an invisible force field surrounding this space and he’s the only one inside it.

Gorgeous and brooding, he has this “nobody mess with me” thing down to a science. And he really doesn’t care what anyone thinks. There’s just something about him that lends to a certain amount of deference. He’s not so much the “freak” as he is… respected. Seemingly by everyone.

If you ask me, the weird part about it is how everybody reacted. They all shut up. They didn’t question him, didn’t laugh or ask why, they didn’t ignore him and continue with the ridicule, and they didn’t turn their derision on him. They just stopped. He said enough and that was that. Because I said so. End of story. Don’t make me have to tell you twice.

Nastya is… intrigued.

And I’ll leave you at that. These are two broken characters with real reasons for their anti-social behavior. This is not just angst for the sake of drama (yes, I know, I like that kind of stuff, ;) but I also love getting into something deep and substantial). There is a solid background to who they were, who they are now, and who they are becoming, and this book will take you on their journey. Be patient. It’s good right from the start, but just know, that it ends up being so much more than “good”. It is AMAZING.

I know at that moment what he’s given me and it’s not 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.

It literally rendered me speechless, in awe. When I finally recovered and picked my jaw up off the floor, I couldn’t stop talking about it! I felt… enlightened. It was a powerful story in it’s own broken way. Told from both main character’s perspectives, along with an incredibly believable cast of secondary characters that will have you laughing with relief at times, and struggling not to cry, at others. A darker read, yes, but so…. fulfilling.

Running away is her thing. Hiding is mine.

5 stars!!

And I’m sure you will want to talk about it, too. Once you’re done, join us in the spoiler forum and gush with us! —> I had an absolute need to talk about this one:

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Lise September 30, 2012 at 6:01 PM

Bravo… This is one of the most beautifully written, heartfelt reviews I have ever read. I can feel it deep in my chest. Simply wonderful, just as the book.

Maryse September 30, 2012 at 6:06 PM

You know Lise… it took me a few days to get this one out.

I was worried I couldn’t do the book justice. That is just how BIG this book is for me.

And so I thank you SO much for that comment and sigh in relief as I can now finally let this one go. I’ve “let it out”. It will always occupy a part of my heart, but it is now permanently here, too, and I feel so good!

*hug* :)

Claudia September 30, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Oh My God Maryse..loved your review!! Thank you!!:-)

Takisha Bodley September 30, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Standing Ovation!!!! You just gave the most beautiful review for such a beautiful book!! Your review makes me want to re-read this one and that’s something that I rarely do.

Tricia Smith September 30, 2012 at 6:42 PM

I got the book…..After your review, I may have to start it sooner rather than later :)

Jocelyn September 30, 2012 at 6:43 PM

“Fulfilling” is the perfect word to sum up the feelings this book leaves you with. The author deserves every single 5 star review she’s getting. Absolutely Amazing!

Maryse September 30, 2012 at 6:47 PM

*grins* thank you, guys!!!


For those who haven’t read it yet, you’re in for something big!! Lucky you!! It will be a re-read for me for sure!

Jocelyn, you are so right! She deserves every 5 star!

Lisa September 30, 2012 at 6:58 PM

I was afraid I wouldn’t do this one justice myself. The writing is spectacular and I wanted to shout it from the rooftops;)

Maryse September 30, 2012 at 7:06 PM

I know… I was captivated by how beautifully written it was. :) Definitely a “shout from the rooftops” type of book! So true.

Paula Novack September 30, 2012 at 7:22 PM

Fantastic review!!

Amy September 30, 2012 at 10:21 PM

Great review of an absolutely wonderful book. I read it over 2 weeks ago and cannot stop thinking about this book. Such a great story!! So glad you enjoyed it as much as I did. :)

Kirsten October 1, 2012 at 6:33 AM

As always this review is as wonderful as the book you’re gushing about. :) TSOT has wiggled it’s way into one of my best reads of this year. I loved the story and the characters, and I loved that I “felt” everything that was going on. The writing was brilliant. I would have never thought this was the author’s first book.

Minha October 1, 2012 at 7:03 AM

Wow! a 5 star from Maryse is an emergency read! I am Starting it tonight!! Thank you :)

Erin October 1, 2012 at 7:19 AM

I completely agree, this is one if my faves of all times. I fell head or heels in love with all of the characters as well as the author’s eloquent writing style. It was one I couldn’t put down and stirred up many emotions deep inside. Excellent read!!

Kathryn Hughett October 1, 2012 at 11:24 AM

At your recommendation I just downloaded it. I’ll have to put off reading until next week though a/c I got my copy of Fever Moon delivered this morning from Amazon and I have a hardcopy of Quinn’s Undying Rose sitting next to my bed as well. I had lent my Nook to a friend and have a bunch of freshly downloaded samples I need to read too.

Celeste October 1, 2012 at 1:34 PM


This absolutely broke my heart, but then put it back together again, as well. Thank you for this rec. So amazing.

Lindsay October 1, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Home run once again ! Thank you for giving me all of my favorite books, I’ve been following your blog for a few mo ths now and of course that means I’ve spent waaaay to much money ;) this was a heartbreakingly lovely story( oxymoron right?) fantastic read that will stay with me for quiet a while.

Trisha October 1, 2012 at 4:04 PM

What the heck do you read after this one???? I hate it when you read a phenomenal book and then you have to try to top it…or at least find something that holds your interest!! Any suggestions???

Carla October 1, 2012 at 5:49 PM

My god! Now after all this, I need to read this too. It’s a shame it’s YA.

Shantel October 2, 2012 at 7:36 AM

I read this book after reading your review and I have to say that this just skyrocketed to one of my all time favorites!! I read lots of books based on your reccomendation and this is by far one of the best. Thank you for helping me find this!

Maryse October 2, 2012 at 10:37 AM

I was having a hard time moving passed it. I tried 2 different books since and was just… not really there. I think I am back on track now, today as of Sylvia Day’s 2nd Crossfire book. *phew*

Nancy October 2, 2012 at 12:10 PM

I wrote my first review on Amazon after reading this book. And I read lots and lots of books. This story was too amazing for me to put into words but it demanded that I write a review anyway. I will be thinking of it for a long time! LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it!!!!

Lauren October 2, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Wow…this book is just amazing! Thanks for the recommendation. I have been in abit of a book rut and this snapped me right out of it!
So good :) Made me feel so much and I love when a book does that to me!

Kim Young October 2, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Once again, thank you Maryse for another great book recommendation! I just finished reading Sea of Tranquility. It is a beautiful story. I loved it! I can’t believe how many great books there are just waiting to be read. I would miss so many of them if it wasn’t for you and all of the wonderful readers on your blog. Keep it up!

Kristina October 3, 2012 at 10:13 PM

Wow, just wow. I bought this seconds after reading your review and just finished (would have finished sooner if I didn’t have a job or a toddler, lol) but this book was AMAZING. From start to finish it just keeps you entranced. I can not thank you enough for all your wonderful reco’s because without them I would have missed this and so many others.

Hmmm…now I wonder how long the hangover is going to last? Reflected in you is waiting…. :)

Linda October 5, 2012 at 10:08 PM

This book was amazing. Thank you so much for the recommendation! It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that just totally consumed me. One minute I would be giggling & the next I would be in tears. I think I’m going to have the same problem as a lot of others. What to read next???? I have tons of books on my TBR list but I can’t think of any that would even get my mind off of the characters & the story I just fell in love with.

Ida October 8, 2012 at 7:33 AM

I just finished the book last night. IT WAS AMAZING!!! Thank you so much for the review.

Natalie October 9, 2012 at 2:54 PM

what a beautiful book! It was such a wonderful read, the last line of the book was my undoing, I felt like I could have a total sobfest, all for good reasons, so I busied myself with dinner :P I loved it so much, it’s a must read!

LaurenR October 13, 2012 at 10:27 PM

Read your review…just finished the book. AMAZING!!! Definitely one I my favorites. So beautifully written and though slower to develop it kept me locked in. I didn’t want to put it down. Thanks for the rec :) Now to figure out what to read next…

Helen C. October 16, 2012 at 10:12 PM

Wow!!! What an amazing book!!!! This book I could not put down….as always a great recommendation!! Thanks again Maryse :)

Nicky October 17, 2012 at 5:36 AM

I’m just feeling floored right now. I still don’t understand how I could read a book with such heavy subject matter, but still be smiling most of the time, and still after. This book has made me re-evaluate how much I enjoyed previous books, because this is far beyond any other 5 star books I had rated. So much to say, but I don’t know how, but, just awesome.

Ashley October 22, 2012 at 11:54 AM

I finished this at 2:30 this morning. Hands down the best book I’ve read recently. I have major book hangover. I was really intrigued by all the characters. I felt like I was living it! I wish I could rate this more than 5 stars, it deserves more!

Maryse October 22, 2012 at 12:16 PM

10 stars!!

Tanya Searle October 31, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Best book I have ever read. Loved the characters, hope they find their hea!

Emily McDougal November 4, 2012 at 10:25 PM

Ahhhh,,,, PERFECTION!!!! :(:)
Will be re-reading for sure!!!!

Krista November 5, 2012 at 10:23 AM

I am speechless! The last two words in the book are ringing in my head over and over again, this book is beyond amazing!! I will never forget this book for as long as I live.

Lea November 11, 2012 at 4:23 AM

Oh my God, I just finished this book. It was amazing!! I have no words, really. I do know that after reading this and Charade back to back, I need to read a sickeningly sweet book next, as I am out of tissue!

Kim November 30, 2012 at 7:21 AM

Hi Maryse! So I started reading this book after reading yours and a few other reviews. I’m almost 75% through, and I’m dreading finishing the rest of the book because I don’t take sad endings well. I’m definitely more of a ‘happily ever after’ person, and for some reason, I’m getting this feeling inside of me telling me that this book won’t have the HEA I’m wanting or it will be one that’s going to be hard to recover from after reading. I haven’t read enough reviews to confirm this though but I also don’t want any spoilers so I’m avoiding blog/forum comments entirely.

Like I said above, I don’t want any spoilers because I love experiencing the full surprise but would you be able to tell me whether the ending is a good one? I think I may need a heads up! This book is so deep – meaning it’s going to be HARD for me to get over it if it finishes with a heap of tears.

Oh by the way, I came across your blog about a month ago and I think I spent a good two or three full nights going through it all haha. I haven’t had the chance to comment yet because when I found it, it was right in the middle of my exam studying period but they’re over now and i’ll definitely be checking back more often!

Oh, and I apologize for the awfully long comment.

Shweta December 4, 2012 at 2:21 AM

Oh Maryse I have just finished reading this book and its beautiful… I wish I could have read it slowly just to savor it… but i was so intrigued…
I just loved the writing, the depth.
I am so impressed by your recommendations that the first thing I did today was to get back to your blog and check all the books reviews which you have rated 5…now I am going to read each one of them..

ashley December 17, 2012 at 6:47 PM

It was such an amazing jurney getting to know emilia and josh…and even drew. It got me all sad and mushy cuz even tho it was a book i know there are ppl out there that experience this kind of pain at loss at young ages just like the characters in this book. It made cry cuz i too belive in the power of the destiny and even more in second chances. Emilia and josh were suposed to meet in this wonderful book and they are suposed to meet in real life too if they exist in others around the world. U never get more than u can carry and life makes sure to always throw a sunshine no matter how clowdy.loved the book. A muuust read!

rdrherrera December 18, 2012 at 11:20 AM

ooh, I’m excited to read this book!

Nicole January 4, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Can’t wait to start reading this one. Sounds like I’m gonna need to set some time, and emotions, aside! :)

Jenni January 8, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Perfect story.. I found myself reading and crying (happy, deep breath, omg tears) while at a stoplight and I had to snap out of it when the light turned green!

bookster February 20, 2013 at 4:31 PM

I downloaded this last night out of desperation to read something “fulfilling” . The sample seemed pretty good so I pressed purchase. WOW!! What a roller coaster, I could not stop reading. I read on my kindle until my husband threw me dirty looks then I went to bed. I kept waking up and decided to keep reading on my phone (damn kindle no light) and did just that until two in the morning. I finished it this morning although I’m sure that I missed half the good parts since I was so sleep deprived. What a fantastic book and I kept thinking I bet Maryse hasn’t discovered this one yet!!! HAAAAAAAAAAA!!! September you posted this!!! Where the heck was I in September? Or better question why do I even bother thinking nahhh maybe that one is not quite for me when I read some of your recommendation’s???? I end up reading them months later and could just kick myself!! ;)

That very last phrase…………………….”your garage” awwwwwwwwwww!!!

Sharon Chalk March 24, 2013 at 8:20 PM

I normally don’t bother with YA books because I like some steam in my books,but because of your review and how you’ve been spot on with other reviews that I normally would not have read,I am going to go ahead and read this,tho Im going to wait till tomorrow when you do the drawing in case I win it LOL !!!

Georgia June 28, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Maryse, you never disappoint with your suggestions ! .. You ROCK !
An amazing book .. that I’m so glad I finally read. An amazing roller coaster of emotions. It truly had it all. It explored and depicted life in its happiest and hardest times. Simply Beautiful !!!

Nicole January 2, 2014 at 1:39 AM

I finally read this book after having it on my IPad for over a year and a half.. I don’t quite know why I waited so long to read it. Perhaps I knew that a part of me would change forever after reading all the amazing comments about it on this blog. And I was right..something shifted inside of me as I was taken on this incredible journey with two of the most thought provoking and well written characters I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. The writing was simply awe inspiring and mesmerizing, and the ending took my breath away. This is what writing should be.. Visceral and gut wrenching yet inspirational at the same time. Thank you to the author for writing a superb novel that made me feel every smile, laugh and tear. And a big thank you Maryse for great recommendations that just keep coming!

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