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.
Holy crap, where do I begin with this story?
On The Island is a book that I have seen on NUMEROUS book blogs and I had been seeing it in the store for quite some time before I decided to pick it up. I’m pretty sure it was dubbed as a “new adult” book, which intrigued me. I like the idea of new romance and innocence as opposed to relations between characters who have been around the block a few times (not that there’s anything wrong with that!).
This story grabbed me from the first page. I remember reading a book called The Raft by S. A. Bodeen. It was a YA read about a girl who was stranded on an island after a plane crash. I remember wanting it to be MORE and was kind of bummed by the end that it wasn’t all I wanted it to be.
THIS book was definitely all I wanted it to be. I loved the characters right from the beginning and the action pulled me right in, making me turn the pages as fast as I could. Really, I ate this story up and didn’t want to put the book down! The main character, Anna, was smart, sexy, and the perfect female lead. And T. J., her companion on the island and the boy she had been traveling with to tutor over the summer, was the perfect male lead. They had wonderful chemistry and the back and forth between their narratives really made the story.
While I loved the characters and thought they were EXTREMELY well developed, I also loved the setting and the issues that the characters were up against. So much went on and I was pulling for them to survive from the start. I was on pins and needles reading this book and I flew through it because of that. There was action, adventure, suspense, and a taboo topic that will definitely bring out a variety of opinions from readers.
I will admit that with this being a “new adult” book I was instantly worried that it would fall into being one of those books that I wouldn’t be sure if I SHOULD like, since T. J. was only sixteen when the story started. BUT, it’s all very tasteful and innocent and, well, proper.
Really, I can’t say much about the story without giving anything away, but this was a gripping story from page one and something that had me thinking about well after I finished. Slightly predictable, but this is definitely one of those books where its predictability doesn’t at all matter because the story was so awesome from start to finish. Seeing as this was the debut novel from Garvis Graves, I cannot wait to see what else she has in store for her readers. I HIGHLY recommend this one!
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