Title: On the Island
Author: Tracey Garvis-Graves
My Rating: A+
My Rating: A+
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Main Characters: T.J. and Anna
Release Date: July 2012
ISBN: 978-0142196724Publisher: Plume
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy
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.
The story completely sucked me into it and I feel like I've been on the island with Anna and T.J. all evening. I've heard enough buzz about this book, that I knew the basic story line and how the book was going to play out, but that didn't prepare me for how much there is to this book and these characters. You know they end up on a deserted island, but that doesn't prep you for how deeply you feel their fear and resignation to their fate. I can't tell you how many times I welled up with tears for these two people. Their story is amazing and just so beautiful.
I loved T.J. for his maturity and for what an important role he plays in keeping Anna alive. He's only 16 when they crash, but he's always the caretaker. He's the one that starts the fires. He's the one who pulls Anna unconscious out of the ocean. He's the one who keeps her spirits up. He is the Alpha in this relationship, even though he is so young. For Anna, she's older and more realistic. I like how well she relates to T.J. and that she never talks down to him like he is any less in what they are trying to do. I like how their friendship truly develops over the first couple of years, long before it becomes anything else. They have an amazing relationship built on mutual trust and respect and absolute friendship.
I didn't know how the story was going to play out, but the way that Tracey wrote the story was perfect and so believable. It was sweet and romantic...and really just beautiful. All of it. I like how much of the book was devoted to once they are rescued, because it isn't an easy transition and I think it was important to see that so that their HEA is believable.
I bought my copy of this book in e-format, but I fully plan on going and buying a print copy for my permanent library. Yes, it was that good. I even considered giving it an A++ and I may still bump up my rating on it. Just an amazing book!!!