On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves
Genre: Adult ContemporaryPublication Date: July 10, 2012
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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.
I'm not sure how to describe this book. On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves doesn't have any qualities that truly stunned me or made me want to swoon from the sheer amazingness. The whole "stranded on a deserted island" thing has certainly been done before, and the plot almost felt like a combination of all the survival books I've read (which, admittedly, isn't a whole lot), with a hot heaping of romance. Yet, I still gobbled it up like a chocolate-addict gobbles up a triple chocolate cheesecake, drowning in chocolate syrup, and topped with chocolate chips. In other words, I devoured it relentlessly.
Alright, confession time. I absolutely adore reading about scandalous relationships in books. Relationships between step-siblings, students and teachers, a large age difference. As long as it's not too gross or creepy I'm ALL FOR IT. That's probably why I was so eager to read On the Island. T.J. is sixteen when the plane crashes, and Anna is thirty. T.J. thinks Anna is beautiful, but Anna only sees T.J. as a sixteen year old boy. But their chemistry is definitely there throughout the entire novel, sizzling like butter in a pan. Even in the beginning, when you know it would be so grossly wrong for anything to happen between them. T.J. rescues Anna after the crash, bringing her to shore when she's unconscious, when it would have been so much easier to just save himself. Then, as the novel progresses, they both take care of each other. Treating wounds, working together for food and shelter, sharing drinking water. Sometimes it was easy to forget the 13.5 year gap between them, because together they compliment each other. The entire time I'm thinking, "OHEMGEE GET IT ON NOW!" And when something finally happens between them it's like, finally. FINALLY. Also, they're on the island for three and a half years, so it's not like anything is rushed.
The pacing in this book is fan-frackin-tabulous. The continuous rise and fall was what kept the story engaging. Things on the island would finally start looking up, then all of a sudden BAM. Any hope of survival is in the sand. I couldn't wait to see what challenges T.J. and Anna would overcome next.
This book is a good branch between adult and YA. It's a bit more explicit than most YA books, but not nearly as explicit as most adult books. I'd definitely recommend it to older teens, or really anybody who is comfortable with more mature content.
Thank you for participating in the ON THE ISLAND Event! This week in addition to reviews and posts, select blogs are hosting a word from the author's favorite quotes in the book as a Scavenger Hunt! There is one quote from Anna and one from T.J. Visit each stop this week to find the hidden words (they will be numbered for order) and after July 22nd, submit your answer to the quotes here! Random winners for books and swag will be chosen and notified by July 29th.
Also, next week July 23-27, there will be even more events and chances to win the book and swag!
- Monday, July 23 at 8:00 pm CST - Chat with the author Tracey Garvis Graves! We will be chatting with the author on Savor Chat: http://www.savorchat.com/chat/on-the-island-chat Come join us! (You can sign in with twitter or facebook)
- Each day look at #ontheisland on twitter for random shout outs to win books and swag! @Tale_of_Reviews
- ON THE ISLAND releases in bookstores Tuesday, July 17th! If you see the book in stores or 'in the wild' take a picture. Please tweet it and use hashtag #ontheisland. Or you can post it to facebook! Please submit twitter and facebook links of your post/tweet here!