Twice as Nice: Paula’s Take on The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay


The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Young Adult
Atria Books (June 4, 2013)

Rating: A+
Heat: Sweet

Heroine: Nastya Kashnikov – Josh’s Sunshine, Piano Prodigy
Hero: Josh Bennett – Loner, Skilled Carpenter
Setting: Florida, USA



I love Sea of Tranquility…true story.

I love the heroine, Nastya. I love her honesty. I love her straight-forwardness. I love how she communicates without using words. I love her strength.

I love Josh, the hero. I love how he tries to fix things. I love his patience. I love his carpenter skills.

I love Drew, Josh’s best friend. I love Drew’s family.

I love the mystery. I love the humor. I love the romance. I love the intensity. I love the clever writing. I love how the author put her heart and soul into this book. I love the slow build of the story. I love the quiet undertone. I love the symbolism in the hands, notebooks, names, clothes, and the garage. I love that I felt every single emotion imaginable. I love that my emotions are indescribable and have no idea how to write a review that will do this book justice.

I love that this book is pure brilliance.

"Dying really isn't so bad after you've done it once. And I have. I'm not afraid of death anymore. I'm afraid of everything else."

Nastya hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. She’s suffered a tragedy that no teenager should ever experience. Because of one person, who took everything away from her, she is now a shadow of her former self. Unable to cope, she re-invented herself. She wears dark makeup, red lip stick, and slutty clothes. She moved to a different town to live with her aunt. She’s now attending a different school, where no one knows her or what happened to her. All she wants is to be left completely alone. She would rather people think she is a sexy, rebellious teenager than be the girl who almost died.

“We're like mysteries to one another. Maybe if I can solve him and he can solve me, we can explain each other. Maybe that's what I need. Someone to explain me.”

Josh Bennett has lost every single person he loves. He’s a loner who never seeks anyone out. And being associated with death is an easy way to keep people from getting close. The only person he talks to is his best friend, Drew and Drew’s family, who doesn’t put up with his stoic personality. He’s a skilled carpenter and makes beautiful furniture. While making furniture one night, Nastya walks into his garage, looks around, and sits on his counter. And before Josh knows it, this girl has become a permanent fixture in his garage and in his life. At first, he tried everything possible to make her go away, but she just ignored him and stayed. But deep down, Josh really wanted her there. Somehow this strange, mysterious girl has broken through his ‘force field’ he’s built to keep people out.

Even though they have formed a comfortable bond of silence, one day Nastya decides to talk to Josh.“Why do you have so many saws?”…are her first words in over a year. I gasped/laughed out loud at this part. It took me completely by surprise as well as Josh. After this, she never stopped talking to Josh. And Josh learns just how incredibly witty, smart, and fun Nastya is to be around.

Nastya feels strangely drawn to Josh. Josh - who makes her feel safe and comfortable in his presence. Josh - who lets her be herself with no judgment or questions about her past. She completely trusts him. But she still doesn’t want him to know her secret. This secret is hers to keep and one day she will get her revenge.

As time passes, Nastya and Josh’s relationship intensifies. They become inseparable. She is Josh’s sunshine and he is her savior. But, with time, Josh does begin to question Nastya’s secret. Will this secret eventually tear them a part?

“I love you, Sunshine,” I tell her, before I lose my nerve. “And I don’t give a shit whether you want me to or not.”

Oh, the feelings this story elicited from deep in my heart and soul. I adore Josh and Nastya’s story. These two broken souls were trying to survive in a world where they felt like they didn’t belong anymore, and had basically given up on life. And, in each other, they found peace, comfort, companionship, healing, and closure. The depth of the relationship Nastya and Josh form is simply beautiful. This story is unlike any other young adult story I’ve ever read.

Even though this is a serious book about serious topics, there are some great witty moments that had me laughing out loud on several occasions. Nastya’s inner monologue was completely relatable. I can’t tell you how many times her thoughts mirrored some of my own thoughts. And the humor fits my personality to a ‘T.’ I felt like I bonded with Josh and Nastya not only on an emotional level, but on a friend level. These two people became my friends.

I have to mention one of the best secondary characters I’ve ever gotten to know. Drew, Drew, Drew… so annoying, arrogant, a player. But, he also has a huge heart and doesn’t care about either of Josh or Nastya’s social awkwardness. He inserts himself into their lives whether they want him there or not. He’s the kind of friend that will drive you crazy, but you love him anyway. What started out as sexual innuendos coming from Drew towards Nastya, and dirty looks from her in return, turned into a sweet compatible friendship between the two. Drew is the one person who could make Nastya and Josh recognize they wanted to be together. And I have to mention how much I loved The Sunday Dinners at Drew’s house. Those were some of my favorite scenes. I would love to see Drew and Tierney (another secondary character that I loved) get their own book!

“Josh isn’t in love with me and I’m not in love with him.”
“Sell it to someone who’s buying, Sunshine. Have you seen the way he looks at you?” I’ve seen the way he looks at me but I don’t know what it means. “Like you’re a seventeenth-century, hand-carved table in mint condition.” - Drew

This story is made of awesome and completely blew me away. The writing is beautiful, compelling, clever, believable, and honest. The characters emotions were raw and so real. And the romance is unforgettable. This inspirational book stayed with me for days – still thinking about it. Definitely a MUST READ!

Thoughts While Reading:

30.0% - "True Story... I love this book.

Letitia's Review: Click here for another take on The Sea of Tranquility!


  1. Lots of praises for this book, cannot wait to read it <3

    1. You will love it, Lily! :) It's so different from any other YA.


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