Title: On the Island
Author: Tracey Garvis-Graves
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Review copy from publisher
“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.”
On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves is a book of strong emotions that will make you cry and bring smiles to your face. On the Island is one of those books that days later after finishing it you are still thinking about it. One of those books you want everybody to read, so you find yourself recommending it back and forth between your friends and people you know, so much that the cashier at the supermarket looks at you like you lost your marbles when you tell her she has to read it.
This is one of those reviews in which I would love just to say “trust me, buy it, read it and thank me later” but sadly I know that for some of you (greedy people) that’s not enough.
The blurb explains perfectly what this book is about, but let me add something for your peace of mind, there is not underage sex or anything out of your comfort zone in this book. On the Island is a believable tale of survival, friendship and love.
I really liked Anna. When the book starts she is in a moment in her life where she knows she needs to make a change, her eight-year relationship with her boyfriend is going nowhere and she wants to settle and have a family. The tutoring job in the Maldives is a godsend; she will make money working in a beautiful place while having the time away to think about what to do next with her life. But the accident changed everything and now she needs to do anything in her power to survive and keep T.J. alive and well.
The way Mrs. Garvis-Graves writes her is very realistic, making it easier to connect with her. It was almost as if I was experiencing what Anna was experiencing. Her reactions to the different situations were the same reactions I could have had, making this read a very vivid one for me.
On the beginning Anna is almost like a mother figure to T.J., she feels responsible for him, but with the days becoming months their relationship starts to change to a one of friendship and companionship, and when the months become years things start to change even more because T.J. is not a teenager anymore, he has become man.
Since page one I loved T.J., he is a teenager that has gone through so much, he survived cancer and this changed him for life. He is not as carefree as you will expect somebody of his age. Since the moment of the plane crash he step up to the plate and behave like a grown up, sometimes he was even stronger than Anna and he knew it, but never made her feel less. He was comforting, caring and all around a sweetheart. Anna was lucky to be stranded with a guy like him.
As I said before their relationship changes over time, as we see T.J. grow page after page we also see their relationship evolving and becoming more. It takes time, it develops slowly over years and when they finally decide to be together T.J. is nineteen years old and more mature than many men of double his age. Everything they experienced and survived together made the love for each other even more than real, it was a love of deeply understanding, one in which the difference of age didn’t matter, just the need to take care and protect the other at any cost.
After they are rescued we don’t know what’s going to happen to them. One thing is their relationship in a deserted island when they are alone and another thing is when they are in the real world with their families and friends. I was keep in the edge of my seat trying to read faster and faster to get to the outcome but at the same time I didn’t want the book to end. I can only say that after some tears and a little bit of heartache the end was a perfect end for a perfect book.
On the Island is told from Anna and T.J.’s POV. I’m not a fan of multiple POVs but in this case it works perfectly; this helped me understand what they were feeling and what they were going through making it easier to connect with them.
Mrs. Garvis-Graves writing is spotless and fluid. The plot is well-developed and enthralling, one that kept me glued to its pages from beginning to end. After reading On the Island I can honestly say that Tracey Garvis-Graves has become a favorite author.
On the Island is one of my favorite books of the year, one that will have a special place in my “all-time-favorite” bookshelf. Listen to me a read this book (now), as I said before you can thank me later.
My Verdict: 5 Paws
Other reviews Goodreads