Sunday, 21 July 2013

Review: On the Island

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.

Title: On the Island (On the Island ~ Book 1)
Author: Tracey Garvis Graves | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website
Publication Date: June 07 2012 (first published September 3rd 2011)
Publisher: Plume
Length: 329 Pages
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Source: Purchased (Kindle Edition)
Cover Love: Absolutely beautiful, stunning...
Point of View: Alternating 1st person between both Anna and T.J.

My Rating: 5 Stars

“I was thirty years old when the seaplane T.J Callahan and I were traveling on crash-landed in the Indian Ocean ”

Beth Michele recommended On the Island to me, and I will forever be in her debt.  As soon as I read the synopsis I was intrigued, and I knew that my ever growing 'to be read' pile would be forgotten yet again.  Now that I've finished On the Island, I have a few questions.  How in the world have I not heard about this book before now?  And how in the world is this book not being talked about by every single reader out there?  I was hooked from page one to the very end.  I cried, I laughed, I cried some more, I laughed some more, and I undeniably fell in love.

As I started On the Island, I was even more excited (if that was even possible) to discover that it was told in an alternating point of view, following both Anna and T.J.  Dual POV is my one of my favorites, because it allows us into the head of both characters.  I adore a good male perspective and the author has delivered that wonderfully.

“I often caught T.J staring at me, but he'd never been so blatant about it.  He was getting bolder, testing the waters.  If he had been trying to hide his feelings before, he wasn't as concerned with that now.”

First thing I did when I was back into work was tell all of my reading friends about this book.  I was surprised that their first reaction was to screw up their face when I mentioned the age difference between Anna and T.J.  It was then that I remembered that I also went into it with the same concern over their age, but now that I have completed it, I've realized that I didn't give it a second thought once I started.

There is nothing inappropriate that occurs while T.J. is under age, and I feel it important to point that out.  There is nothing sleazy or dirty about the bond these two form while on the island.  It is a natural and beautiful connection, one that even now writing this review brings a tear to my eye when I think about it.  It is a gradual friendship that turns to love, and again the only word I can think of to describe it is beautiful.

“I love you, Anna.”
The surprised look on her face told me she hadn’t seen that coming.
“You weren’t supposed to fall in love,” she whispered.
“Well, I did,” I said, looking into her eyes. “I’ve been in love with you for months.  I’m telling you now because I think you love me too, Anna.  You just don’t think you’re supposed to.  You’ll tell me when you’re ready.  I can wait.”

I can not even put into words the love I have for Anna and T.J.  I felt as though I was right there with them during their struggles.  There were several times when I simply could not see how they were ever going to survive, and it was heart wrenching.  They showed both unbelievable strength and courage in a time of great difficulty.  I know that I would not have made it through the hardships they faced, but thankfully they had each other.

“If she had gotten sick, the only thing I could have done was watch her suffer.  Bury her next to Mick when she died.  I didn’t know if I could make it without her.  The sound of her voice, her smile, her – those were the things that made living on the island bearable.”

I think myself lucky to have been able to read some amazing books in my lifetime, and I will be adding On the Island to my list of all time favorites... without a doubt.  This is the kind of book that I will gush about forever, with anybody who is willing to listen to me.  And the most shocking discovery?  This is Tracey Garvis Graves' debut novel.  I will be on the look out for anything she publishes in the future, she has won me over as a lifelong reader of her novels.

“I don't fit in your world."

"Neither do I," he said, his expression tender yet resolute.  "So let's make our own. We've done it before.”


1 comment:

  1. I adore this book. It is one of my favorites. I'm glad that you enjoyed it as I did!


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