Today in amazing books (and non-traditional reviews), I give you
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

From GoodreadsFormer 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. The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

ranscendental – A contemporary story that manages to be beautifully surreal.
opeful – There’re ugly, ugly moments in this book, yet it is filled with promise.
E vocative – I felt these characters: their agony, their regret, their joy, their loss.

woonworthy – Josh. Drew. Even Asher. I fell fast and hard for the boys.
motional – All the feels… All. The. Feels.
uthenitc – These teens — their speech, behavior, style, and pain — so, so real.

pulent – In prose, in characters, in emotionality, in detail.
lirtateous – A serious story, but there’s still some fantastically frisky banter.

T empestuous – Unpredictable and mysterious, I couldn’t put this book down.
aw – This story shocked me. It hurt my heart deeply. But it left me content.
rresting – A writing style that’s bold and unapologetic — utterly affecting.
ames – Because they’re important, and so are their meanings.
Q uiet – In the best way. No explosions or magic. People, surviving and growing.
nforgettable – It’s been days since I finished reading, yet I’m still spellbound.
ntense – Every chapter, every scene, every page. Josh and Nastya… So intense.
ove – Slow to build, aching, full of sacrifice and eventual acceptance. Genuine.
maginative – Like no other book I’ve read, but a new favorite.
ingles – Shivers and goosebumps repeatedly, but especially at the end.
Y ummy – The boys, and Nastya’s treats.

If that’s not enough:

I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck.
Nastya – The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

I don’t know how to say it – after all this time, I’m not even sure that I can – but I have to break her last rule, because if she knows nothing else, I need her to know this one thing. “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.”
Josh – The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

I loved this book so much I want to share it. I’ll buy a paperback copy for one randomly chosen commenter. If you’d like to be considered eligible, please include your email address with your comment so I can get in touch with you if you win. The winner will be drawn tomorrow, Friday June 14th, at 6:00 pm PST. Good luck!

(A big thank you to Jessica Love and Sara McClung for recommending The Sea of Tranquility. You two suspected I’d love this book, and you were totally right!)

HUGE congratulations go out to Kim Aleman and Chandler Baker,  winners of The Bookanista Relaunch Giveaway of Awesome! Lucky, lucky! And don’t forget to check out what my fellow Bookanistas are recommending today:

Lenore Appelhans  wonders at ALL YOU NEVER WANTED by Adele Griffin

Shari Arnold loves SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL by Trish Doller

Tracy Banghart embraces IMPOSTOR by Susanne Winnacker

Shelli Johannes-Wells  delights in Cory Doctorow’s

Nikki Katz gets the shivers for 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

Stasia Ward KehoeCarolina Valdez Miller & Debra Driza 
sing out for the cover of THE SOUND OF LETTING GO

Jessica Love raves about ROAD TO TATER HILL by Edith M. Hemingway

Tell me: What’s the last contemporary YA novel you read and loved?


37 thoughts on “Bookanista Rec :: THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY

  1. Jennifer Pickrell says:

    Love the poem! And would love a chance to win a copy of the book 😉 (jenpickrell at gmail). It’s been awhile since I’ve read any YA contemp, but I just started GOLDEN by Jessi Kirby and I’m a big fan of her first two books, so I have high hopes!

  2. Leigh Smith says:

    I know I’m super late to the party but I recently read Jellicoe Road and it’s amazing! I’ve heard a ton of good things about The Sea of Tranquility. 🙂 blackeyedsue21 (at)g(mail) dotcom

  3. Jaime Morrow says:

    Awesome acrostic poem, Katy! What a great way to hit on all the great things in a book. My two favourite recent contemp reads are JELLICOE ROAD and THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE. Such great books! 🙂

    P.S. {Is this open to Canadians too? If not, I understand.} jaimemorrowfink(at)gmail(dot)com.

  4. Vivien says:

    I’m in the middle of Eleanor & Park and almost don’t want to finish it I am loving it so much. I also adored Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson. I can’t wait till everyone gets a chance to read Sea of Tranquility!

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  5. Sara Biren says:

    I have been looking forward to reading SEA OF TRANQUILITY – I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Great review! The last YA Contemp that blew me away was ELEANOR & PARK… but I also loved GOING VINTAGE by Lindsay Leavitt. A cute, light read.

    Thanks for offering the giveaway! sbiren (at) embarqmail (dot) com

    • katyupperman says:

      You’re the second to mention ELEANOR & PARK, Sara… I adored it too! And I love the GOING VINTAGE cover. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for entering!

  6. Elodie says:

    Ohhhhhhh maybe I´ll wait on my Amazon order until you announce the winner (if it´s not open internationally no worries :-))
    This book sounds AMAZING! Intensive with emotions and characters to fall in love with? Count me in.
    I just finished THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS by Sarah Ockler and I´m blown away. I think it was the father/daughter relationship, the boy, the sisters and the dog. Really, I fell in love with the dog in that book.

    (commutinggirl (at) gmail (dot) com

    • katyupperman says:

      Yes, wait to order it, Elodie, because I’ll definitely include international entries. I can’t wait to read THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS… I’m a Sarah Ockler super fan!

  7. MackenziLee says:

    Holy Mary that cover is beautiful! And that acrostic made my day–great review! 🙂

  8. Rachel (writes things/007) says:

    Dude I NEED to read this book. I know I know I am behind the times 😛 But I promise I am getting to it soon. Sometime. 😉 I just read BZRK RELOADED by Micheael Grant (sequel to BZRK, out in October). It’s a sci fi/action book series about putting nanobots in our brains to help cure illnesses and stuff but what happens when things go too far and it becomes about control? I love the questions it raises- what is ethically okay? what happens when go too far in the name of “cure” and “science”? This book also deals with all the gun issues we’ve had lately (though it was written WAY before Newtown etc..) but it still talks about scenarios like them and what if we were all just ‘wired’ to think like that.

    • katyupperman says:

      Hmm. Sounds intriguing. Thanks for the rec, as always, Rachel. And yes, I think you’ll really enjoy THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY… You must read it soon!

  9. stephanieediaz says:

    This book sounds fabulous!

    I was recently blown away by WANDERLOVE by Kirsten Hubbard. Also SOME GIRLS ARE by Courtney Summers. [:


    • katyupperman says:

      I adore both of those books, Stephanie! WANDERLOVE is such a perfect summer read, and SOME GIRLS ARE blew me away with its unflinching authenticity. High school can be a scary, scary place!

      Thanks for entering. 🙂

  10. Siiri says:

    Ah, such a unique review, sweetie! I especially loved this line “Q uiet – In the best way. No explosions or magic. People, surviving and growing.” — I found it a character-driven story about survival and growth as well and I adore this book so so so very much.

    The last contemporary book I absolutely adored was If I Stay by Gayle Forman (well.. also Where She went, the sequel), but the best contemporary book by far that I have read this year is True Love Story by Willow Aster. I’m not aware if you’ve read anything by Colleen Hoover or Charade by Nyrae Dawn for instance, but if not, you definitely should. Love these authors!

    I’d love to win a physical copy so I could re-read it back to back as many times as I like and I could spread the word about this baby by borrowing it to my friends. This is literally one of the best pieces I have ever read and I’m beyond glad you loved it, too. Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful thoughts:) sirtsu_ (at) hotmail (dot) com

    • katyupperman says:

      I’ll definitely check out your recommendations — I think we must have similar taste because, along with THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY, I also absolutely adore IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT.

      Thanks for entering! 🙂

  11. Krispy says:

    I’ve been eyeing this book on and off for a while, and it’s high on my TBR list. I would LOVE a copy (thanks for the heads up, btw), especially after this glowing review! It sounds like a fantastic read!


  12. Erin Funk says:

    What a creative review! I love the acrostic! And that last quote alone is enough to convince me that I need to read this sometime. You’re so awesome for making this an international giveaway! 🙂


  13. ravenamo says:

    This is a great review and very creative! The quotes you shared make me want to read this book even more now. It has been a while since I’ve read any YA Contemporary but the last two that I really loved were The Fault In Our Stars & Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers (pretty much anything by her really).

    Thanks for the giveaway!


    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks, Raven! I love THE FAULT IN OUR STARS and Courtney Summers, though FALL FOR ANYTHING is the only book of hers I’ve yet to read. I’ll have to remedy that soon.

      Thanks for entering! 🙂

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