Review: On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

On the Island by Tracey Gravis-Graves [GR/FB/WS]
Published: July 10, 2012
Format: Copy via NetGalley
Publisher: Penguin
Rating: 5/5

Summary via Goodreads
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.

My Thoughts
I will admit I was a bit cautious if I really wanted to read this or not. I was intrigued by the plot, people stranded on an island with little or no hope of being found much less survival. However I didn’t know if I was going to like the “love story.” I mean you have an “older” woman and a “younger” guy who you know will no doubt fall for each other. Could I actually buy this “romance” or would it just creep me out, much less buy into it?

My doubt quickly faded away. This wasn’t a rushed romance or anything shady like many younger/older romances can be written. This was about two people who basically only had each other. We grew to come to know both Anna and T.J. and their respective backstories. During their time together they became friends and eventually fell for each other. I liked how this wasn’t only about the romance but also about them as individuals. I enjoyed the alternating chapters told by each character prospective. You get to see what each one is thinking about and their true feeling about the situations around them. It’s like you get full effect of the story almost as if you were there. As they face many challenges on the island from dehydration to no food to physically elements that could take their lives, you will root for their rescue and for them as a couple also.   

This is one of those books that will have you glued by the first few pages and you won’t want to stop until the very end. It’s an unconventional love story but one that’s told at its very best.

Tracey Gravis-Graves is quickly becoming one of my favorite new authors. I can’t wait for the next installment in this series and once you read this you won’t either.

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