On the Island Featured
Action & Adventure, Book Review, Contemporary, Romance

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves


Sixteen-year-old T.J. Callahan has no desire to go anywhere. With his cancer in remission, all he wants is to get back to his normal life. But his parents insist that he spend the summer catching up on the school he missed while he was sick.

Anna Emerson is a thirty-year-old English teacher who has been worn down by the cold Chicago winters and a relationship that’s going nowhere. To break up the monotony of everyday life, she jumps at the chance to spend the summer on a tropical island tutoring T.J.

Anna and T.J. board a private plane headed to the Callahans’ summer home, but 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 they’re stranded on an uninhabited island.

At first, their only thought is survival. But as the days turn to weeks, and then months, and as birthdays pass, the castaways must brave violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the worst threat of all—the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. With only each other for love and support, these two lost souls must come to terms with their situation and find compaionship in one another in the moments they need it most.

T.J. (aged 16) is in remission from cancer and Anna (aged 30) is a teacher who is hired to tutor him due to the year he was not attending school for his medical treatments.  They are flying to a summer rental in South Asia where T.J.’s parents are waiting for them and the seaplane they are on crashes into the Indian Ocean near a deserted island.  T.J. and Anna learn to survive with many hardships on the island for 3 years when the 2004 South Asian tsunami hits and they are rescued and placed back into reality.

The book is tastefully written in light of the May/December “romance” which doesn’t physically start until T.J. is 19.  I think Ms. Graves does an excellent job in creating the bond between the main characters during their residence on the island and she does just as well explaining their difficult transition back to their former lives with the “frowned upon” way they feel about each other.   Do they end up staying together?  Read it and see.

I want to thank Ms. Graves, Penguin Group and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

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