Published by Penguin on August 16, 2012
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Survival
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.
What I Thought…
- I enjoyed On the Island way more than I thought I would. I wasn’t sure if I was going to read it, but I picked it up anyway when the ebook was on sale. Ultimately I love a good stranded on an island story so I decided to give it a try.
- I know a lot of people may be bothered by the fact that there are fifteen years between TJ and Anna, but it’s really not that bad. One – he was eighteen when anything romantic began between them. Two – uh they were alone on a desert island. What did you think was going to happen? (Don’t you remember the Blue Lagoon?)
- I wanted a little more from their time spent on the island. Some of the parts felt a little rushed or just barely gone into. They went through so many things, but very little time was spent on each thing. I would have rather had them tackle less problems, but know more about them.
- I liked how Garvis Graves used a real life event to impact what happens on their island. I also liked that she didn’t forget about “real life” things. I know it’s rare for a book to talk about “real life” things (i.e. showering, etc) but in a book that deals with survival I like how she included these situations (awkward as they may be).
- I had a difficult time identifying with Anna. A small part was her eventual attraction to TJ but mostly I’m just not sure I could have done what she did to survive. I know that in a life or death situation I could probably do things that I didn’t think I could do, but I’m just not so sure.
- TJ was just such a teenage guy. Even on the island his behavior was so typical.
- My favorite part of the book was after they got off the island. I can totally see all that reporters gone wild nonsense happening if this was a real situation. I wish there was more about their struggles of getting back to a normal lifestyle, I found that so fascinating.