Title: The Sea of Tranquility
Author: Katja Millay
Release Date: November 13, 2012
ARC provided by NetGalley
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 he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is 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 intensifies 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.
Katja Millay does a brilliant job in creating a very dark, compelling story that hooks you in immediately and doesn't let go until the last page.
Nastya Kashnikov has started her senior year at a new school. She is different from her classmates, choosing black clothing, skirts that border on too-inappropriate-for-school, dark mascara. Vastly different from the girl she was two years ago. But she does it to separate herself from others. It is a blatant statement for people to stay the hell away.
And she chooses not to talk.
She hasn't uttered a word to anyone in over four hundred days. Instead, she stores them up in her head, only to write them down in a notebook--three and half pages that give vivid detail to the tragedy that befell upon her two years ago. Horrific memories that at one time, she didn't remember. It is the only way she can keep her nightmares at bay.
Josh Bennett is a force to be reckoned with--the kids stay away from him at school. He pretty much runs the shop class, building shelving and other projects for the drama department--as well as the teacher's pet. He sits alone on a bench in the school courtyard during lunch--alone, silent, and no one dares approach him.
Nastya can't help but notice the mysterious kid who keeps to himself at lunch. It's like has has some protective force field around him, and she wonders where she can get one of her own. But she keeps her distance. She is seeking her own isolation--hiding in bathrooms, in the shadows, praying no one will approach her, too.
But all of that is shattered the day Josh speaks up to defend her from the catty girls during lunch. One word. And all goes quiet. Everyone listens. Nastya is left angry, stunned, and very curious. Why do the kids listen to him? What has he done to earn that kind of respect?
Nastya hates daylight--things can happen in the afternoon just as easily as those that happen at night. Evil things. Things that include blood and dirt. And things that will change your life forever. Running is the only thing that gives Nastya any kind of relief. She runs to escape--running so hard until she pukes, until she is numb, until she exhausts herself.
One night, while out running, she spots a light coming from a garage. There is Josh, the stranger at school who defended her. She watches him.
Josh's garage is his sanctuary, the place he goes to escape. He is stunned when the new girl shows up. But she looks different. Her eyes aren't black, her face free of make-up. Her hair pulled away from her face. She pulls at him and no matter how he tries to push her away...
Nastya keeps coming back.
Until one night...she speaks to him.
Amazing. This book is just simply amazing. Great characters that will make you cry with a heart-wrenching story. Nastya and Josh will remain with the reader long after the last page is finished.
Note: Although I would classify this as a young adult book, it contains very mature themes: sex, drugs, and alcohol are very present in this book.