Review ~ ON THE ISLAND by Tracey Garvis Graves
ON THE ISLAND
(On the Island, #1)
Tracey Garvis Graves
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.
A friend of mine (Amy aka, Foxy) persuaded me to read this book and helped me through it since I was initially concerned about the subject matter. I couldn’t be happier that she finally convinced me! If you are someone who, like me, tends to shy away from books involving sickness and/or tragedy, don’t cross this one off your list; its focus lies on a very positive outcome and is substantially more encouraging than it is tragic.
Anna is T.J.’s tutor and agrees to attend a vacation with T.J. and his family in order to catch him up on school work during his summer break. When their plane goes down en route, Anna and T.J. become stranded on a desolate island with limited resources for survival. Together they face hardships, fatigue, sickness, and despair…as their hope for being rescued dwindles with time. But they also experience many triumphs, large and small—and those are what powerfully remain with me.
The extent of what these characters endured was as intense as it was encouraging. My heart broke at times, rejoiced during others, and never lost hope for the fate of T.J. and Anna. I’ll admit to being slightly deterred by the considerable age difference; Anna being 30 and T.J., 16 when they first meet…but do not fret! Time passes, people mature, and I can assure you that all encounters are tasteful and very much ‘legal’. The ultimate bond formed through despair was solid and heartwarming.
The pacing of this story is quick and flows gracefully. The monotony of being trapped on a deserted island could tend to make a story feel like its dragging— but this author tackles this feat flawlessly. I never once became bored; in fact, I found this to be a real page turner and extremely un-put-down-able!
It’s amazing how one’s view of life transforms when ‘surviving’ becomes the sole priority. It is then that you’ll find all the unnecessary worries and petty desires stripped away, leaving behind only what truly matters in life…And I loved being able to witness this extraordinary and inspiring journey of survival.
▪ Genre/Category: Contemporary Romance
▪ Steam Caliber: Moderate steam
▪ Romance: Beautiful, touching, slow-building connection.
▪ Characters: Lovable and three-dementional.
▪ Plot: Centered on survival, and love conquering all hardship.
▪ Writing: Accomplished, alluring, and knowledgable.
▪ POV: First person: Alternating dual perspectives.
▪ Cliffhanger: None
▪ Next Installment: Novella: A story intertwining with this one.