Review: ON THE ISLAND by Tracey 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.
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Dawn’s Review 5 Stars
You know that moment when you just need a different story? One that is unique, unusual and unexpected? That’s where I was when I happened upon On the Island in my kindle library. It had been recommended to me some time back and had languished in my library ever since. I’m actually glad it did, because it was just the book I needed to take me on a tremendous journey, one filled with peril, love, and survival.
On the Island is the story of two people whose seaplane goes down over a string of uninhabited islands. T.J. and Anna find themselves washed ashore and have to learn to fight for their survival until hopefully someone comes to rescue them. Anna is a 30 year old teacher, hired to tutor T.J., who’s almost 17, over the summer months following his recovery from lymphoma.
What transpires during their time on the island captivated me to the point that I couldn’t put the book down until I finished it. I loved their ingenuity, their raw conversations, the emotional turmoil that ensues, and their budding friendship under the most dire of circumstances. On the Island consumed me to the point that I felt I was on the island with them, experiencing their highs and lows, their hunger, and their adventures. I loved how this was an unusual setting that placed the main characters in circumstances that although perilous, their humanity shone through.
Granted, this is also a romance so that element was also one that while unusual, I found to be so deep and true that despite age differences, I was 100% on board. I was so emotionally invested in Anna and T.J. that as the book continued, I continued to root for them, hoping beyond hope that they could have their happily ever after… whatever that looked like.
Overall, I highly recommend On the Island! It truly reminded me why I love to read – to escape and live a life, even if for a few hours, that I might not otherwise experience (besides, not sure I’d really want to be stranded on an island… unless T.J. was there!). I lost myself in Anna and T.J.’s story, which is just what I love to do when reading an exceptional story!
Tracey Garvis-Graves is the author of On the Island, Uncharted, and Covet. She lives in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, two children, and hyper dog Chloe. She blogs at www.traceygarvisgraves.com using colorful language and a snarky sense of humor to write about pop culture, silly television shows, and her suburban neighborhood. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She’d love to hear from you.
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5193034.Tracey_Garvis_Graves