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On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

Saturday, September 29, 2012

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day. T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends.
Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island.
Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

Goodreads Summary

How would you react if you found yourself stranded on an island with only one other person for company? What if that person was much younger or much older than you?  Do age restrictions even apply far away from society?  These are some questions that are addressed in this book. 

Anna thought she was going to be a teacher to a sick teenager.  Instead, she receives a nasty surprise when their plane crashes.  Anna and T.J. must work together to ensure their survival in their harsh landscape.  T. J. went from wanting to survive cancer to trying to survive on an island with few supplies.  They manage to build a shelter and search for fresh water and food.  The reader will love following their (mis)adventures as they navigate their new lifestyles away from societal norms. 

The reader will hear from both Anna and T. J. as they tell their stories in alternating points of view.  Anna and T.J. are both brave and driven, that's the only way they could possible be to survive.  They form a solid friendship that evolves past the boundaries of teacher and student.  After a couple of years and when T.J. has passed the age of consent, their relationship deepens.  Their love for each other is clear and pure.   I loved how they interacted during the novel, there weren't really any necessities or acting going on.  How will their relationship change if they are rescued and must integrate into society once again?

The plot of this book isn't particularly unique, but Tracey Garvis Graves will have the reader believing that everything in this book is truly "novel" (to make a pun).  The romance, action, and the idea that at any time either one of the characters could die made this book impossible to put down.  On the Island is recommended to adult readers.

5 Stars

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.


  1. Erika said...:

    I adored this book and the age difference in this situation didn't bother me at all. Already reading it a second time I loved it so much. Thanks for your thoughts!

  1. I'm definitely interested in checking out this book. I think the age difference is an interesting and bold thing to add to the book. Great review!(:

  1. Misti said...:

    Loved, LOVED this book. Forever a recommendation. Glad to hear you enjoyed it too.

  1. Susan T. said...:

    Being stuck on a desert island with a teenager sounds like a nightmare!