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Friday, 20 July 2012

On The Island By Tracy Garvis Graves

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.

Grace's review:

An absolute page-turner!

Right from the start, On the Island quickly absorbed me into the story and far exceeded any expectations. It's a story that begins with a plane crash that leaves a 30-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy stranded on an uninhabited island. However, this is way more than a story of endurance and survival. At the heart of it all is a believable romance between two human beings.

Anna Emerson and T.J. Callahan are well-developed characters. Forced to adapt to harsh conditions, they only have each other for support. By the time their relationship turns physical, a few years have passed, and T.J. has grown from a boy to a mature, young adult. The way the story is written, by then Anna sees him as her equal.

“I had long since abandoned the notion that I held any kind of rank over T.J. I may have been older and had more life experience, but that didn't matter on the island. We took each day as it came, addressing and solving problems together.” --On the Island, Tracey Garvis Graves

Being on the island is only half of the story. Their relationship is truly tested later on. I'm glad the story is told from both their POVs, alternating every chapter. It is what kept me turning the pages. It has been a while since I read a story that was riveting enough for me to stay up all night reading. Made me cry too! Definitely putting this one on my “Favorites” shelf. I will be thinking about this one for a long while.


helpmerhonda72 said...

*taps chin thoughtfully* I'm thinking I have this book. Great review Grace!

GraceDZ said...

Thanks, Rhonda! This book is a huge reminder for me to memorize a survival guide before I take any plane overseas! Gosh, a week later, and I'm still thinking about this story.

jessiel said...

Thank you for the review. Sounds like a great summer read!

Anonymous said...

So glad you liked this Grace. Read this a few months ago and loved it. Anna and TJ really surprised me and I loved the relationship that they'd built. When I started this book I was a little skeptical of the age difference since TJ was a minor but as I kept reading I slowly began to see what a great man TJ had grown into. I was so proud of him by the time they got off that island and I had almost forgotten that he was only 16 when this started. Great review!

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