The Sea of Tranquility

The Sea of Tranquility - Katja Millay 3.5 stars.
For me, this book suffered from overly high expectations. There were so many 5-star ratings here and on book blogs that I felt I was bound to ADORE it-- sadly no. I did really like it, but it doesn't go on the favorites shelf.

My primary problem was that our narrator irritated me. In the first chapter I was intrigued. Nastya has an interesting name, an odd way of dressing and there's that business about being murdered right there on the first page. I got sucked in by the idea that a teenage girl would dress like a tramp and try to destroy her reputation in a new high school as a defense mechanism rather than retreat into herself and go around as a friendless wallflower as usually happens. However, once I figured out that she doesn't speak, and that she <<spoiler>> doesn't speak because she doesn't want to, not because there is anything wrong with her, <</spoiler>> I got annoyed. I'm going to go ahead and blame this on the book The Lock Artist another book in which the protagonist doesn't speak. There the main character actually has a condition, caused by trauma that has rendered him mute. That was not the case here. Nastya was just being a teenage girl about talking. Naturally, there are reasons why she can't speak, or rather, doesn't want to and we find them all out in the course of the book, but once I found out it was a decision on her part I couldn't take her seriously. Especially once she decides <<spoiler>> to start talking to Josh and Drew. I realize that the author is using the two boys as a critical step in her healing process, but to then continue to not speak with everyone else is just ridiculous. <</spoiler>> As a female lead, Nastya is a strong character. She's got guts and she knows what she wants but she's also broken and for good reason. I appreciated that, but I just didn't like her much.

Josh was the saving grace of this book for me. He was a much more interesting-- and less annoying-- character. His backstory made sense to me. I loved that he was into woodworking. How many YA boys are spending their time making chairs? He was good for Nastya, but he wasn't perfect. He felt like the real deal. The loss that he had experienced in his life seemed played out in a realistic way. I also enjoyed Drew as the comic relief for the book.

As a whole this book just didn't have the emotional impact that it needed for me to like it more. There are stories that I've carried with me for longer and struck me deeper than this one. The romance was sweet and the very last bit of the ending was really cute. I did enjoy the twist at the end, though it was relatively predictable by about mid-way through the book.