The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is one of the best books I've read in a while! At times it felt as though the author had heard my complaints about YA books and took them to heart (because I do have that much power over authors...)
Josh and Nastya are both - in very different ways - "ruined". Josh has lost virtually his entire family and is leery of loving anyone; Nastya was brutally attacked and left for dead a few years before the story begins. Each is just trying to get through life: Josh by exerting some sort of force field that keeps everyone away (everyone except supersexy Drew Leighton, his BFF, and Drew's family) and Nastya by dressing like a goth whore and refusing to speak. They're aware of each other, but until Nastya is assigned to the advanced shop class, they have no reason to interact. Even then, it takes a while for them to really meet and even longer for them to become friends.
It's the friendship that really grabbed my attention. Both trying to be careful around each other, learning one another's secrets and keep things private all made sense and felt so real. Adding Drew into the mix could have been the Dreaded Love Triangle but instead was a rare real friendship between three people. Even the conversations didn't seem forced but ones I could hear my students having.
The only quibble was the ending, which felt a little rushed. I didn't want or need a Happily Ever After, but just a little more would have been nice.
ARC provided by publisher.