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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

#Book #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves @tgarvisgraves @PlumeBooks

TITLE: On the Island
SERIES: On the Island, Book #1
AUTHOR: Tracey Garvis Graves
PUBLISHER: Plume (Penguin)
PUBLICATION DATE: July 17, 2012 (first published 2011)
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 328 pages
GENRE: Romance/Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9780142196724
Two people stranded on an island struggle to survive—and slowly fall in love—in the runaway New York Times bestseller from the author of the forthcoming novel Covet.

Anna Emerson is a thirty-year-old English teacher desperately in need of adventure. Worn down by the cold Chicago winters and a relationship that’s going nowhere, she jumps at the chance to spend the summer on a tropical island tutoring sixteen-year-old T.J.

T.J. Callahan has no desire to go anywhere. His cancer is in remission and he wants to get back to his normal life. But his parents are insisting he spend the summer in the Maldives catching up on all the school he missed last year.

Anna and T.J. board a private plane headed to the Callahan’s summer home, and as they fly over the Maldives’ twelve hundred islands, the unthinkable happens. Their plane crashes in shark-infested waters. They make it to shore, but soon discover that they’re stranded on an uninhabited island.

At first, their only thought is survival. 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.


This book was recommended to me by a number of different bloggers. I wasn't sure whether it would be my thing, so I put off reading it. Firstly, I'm not so much of a contemporary romance reader. Secondly, the idea of the tutor and student falling in love with each other...especially since he was only 16 years old when the disaster occurs...left me going "ewwwww!" The reason why I ultimately decided to read this book is because I love survival stories, and I'm so glad that I took a chance on this one!

T.J. Callahan is a 16-year-old boy whose cancer is in remission. Because of all the class time that he missed during his illness, his parents hire Anna Emerson who is an English teacher to tutor him throughout the summer to help him get caught up on his studies. T.J.'s parents hire a private plane to take T.J. and Anna to their summer home in the Maldives, where the rest of T.J.'s family is already waiting for their arrival. The pilot suffers a heart attack and the plane goes down. Suffering a head injury, Anna is unconscious and T.J. saves her life by helping her stay afloat until they drift to shore.

There is evidence that someone else once inhabited the island, but they now appear to be there alone. At first they are certain that it won't be long before they are rescued, but they lose hope after their island is passed by not just once but twice. Against all odds, Anna and T.J. fight to survive as they battle the elements. 

I was quickly swept up in this tale of love and survival. I had my doubts going in about the romantic angle, with Anna being nearly double T.J.'s age! However, I felt that the author handled this appropriately by waiting until T.J. had matured and become an adult before introducing this new aspect of their relationship. Anna and T.J. had been stranded together for years, and it's only natural that they would grow to develop feelings for each other. Without one another, they would be alone so there is that whole other aspect and nursing each other back to health (or the best it can be under those circumstances) after each suffering from different afflictions only intensifies their emotions. The fear of losing someone only makes you realize how much that person means to you!

The story is told from the points of view of both Anna and T.J., which I feel added dimension to the characters. I really felt that I connected with both of them, and the character development for both and their relationship was like a beautiful arc. I have to admit that I was angry about some of what happened later on in the book but everything was ultimately resolved to my satisfaction!

I'll be continuing on with the next book in the series, Uncharted.

Memorable quotes:

"If she had gotten sick, the only thing I could have done was watch her suffer. Bury her next to Mick when she died. I didn’t know if I could make it without her. The sound of her voice, her smile, her– those were the things that made living on the island bearable. I held her a little tighter and thought if she woke up I might tell her that. She didn’t though. She sighed in her sleep, and eventually I drifted off.” 

“I don't fit in your world."
"Neither do I," he said, his expression tender yet resolute. "So let's make our own. We've done it before.” 


4 stars!! It was really good, and you should put it on your TBR if you enjoy contemporary romances or survival stories!

This book qualifies as:

1 comment:

  1. I was thinking no way until I read your review. I can see the relationship happening once the character matured. I can't help but wonder what happens if and when they are rescued.


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