On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves
- ISBN-13: 9780142196724
- Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
- Publication date: 7/10/2012
- Pages: 336
- Source: From Publisher for Review
Two people stranded on an island struggle to survive—and slowly fall in love—in the runaway New York Timesbestseller, now available with a reading group guide and a letter from the author
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.
I was a bit skeptical about On the Island when I first read the blurb. I was really just not sure that I was going to be able to connect with the characters, I mean a 30 year old woman and a 16 year old boy, it just felt very unlikely. So I was very surprised when it captured my attention and I didn’t want to put the book down. It starts with Anna, a tutor, leaving with her pupil, T.J., headed to a foreign island for the summer. T.J. is recovering from cancer was was behind in school so his parents hire Anna to help get him caught up over the summer. The trip to meet the family keeps being delayed and they catch a seaplane that is not originally on the plan just to get there after more than 24 hours of travel. Their pilot suffers a heart attack and they crash into the ocean. After a very dramatic scene of survival, they find themselves alone on a island with nothing. Some of their belongs wash up on short but after one plane flies over there is nothing. The story of their life on the island is outstanding. The writing is believable and powerful. It takes a while before the romance starts between them and it starts in a very believable way and grows from there. There is some problems with the timeline as to how long they are actually on the island but by my count it is about three and a half year. You can only imagine how hard it would be to survive that long and the hope that you would lose along the way. I was left wondering how or when they would be discovered and it was in a way that I never expected. I was so surprised but that is for you to find out when you pick this book up. Once they are rescued and go back home they both say they will stay together but life is not that easy. There is a lot of press and Anna takes a lot of press for her relationship with T.J. For a while this separates them but there has to be a chance that love will prevail.
As a debut book, this was much better than what I have come to expect from first time authors. I know that Tracey Garvis Graves went through a lot to get her book in print to learn more check out her story.