Thursday, November 22, 2012

On The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

On The Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves
Release Date – July 17, 2012
Publisher Website –  Penguin
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 319 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**Provided from the publisher and Netgalley for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Two people stranded on an island struggle to survive—and slowly fall in love—in the runaway New York Times bestseller from the author of the forthcoming novel COVET. 
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.
My first thought after reading the synopsis was that it sounded interesting, followed by apprehension. I wasn't sure how this relationship was going to work or how it would be presented. Upon finishing the last page, I was happy to have been wrong. This is a story of survival against crushing odds. It’s a story of two people who go through something life changing with each other, and come out bonded in a way that is inexplicable.

The accident that happens, and their subsequent time on the island was nerve racking. Each excruciating moment while on the island set me on edge. The storms, animals, illness, and various other complications show how quickly circumstances can change. I can safely say that being stranded is one of my worst fears, and the author brings this to life in chilling detail. There were many pulse pounding situations where I literally held my breath because the fate of these two characters hung in the balance. The tension is only heightened by the will they/won’t they tension between T.J. and Anna. This taunt feeling kept the pages turning and the pacing was a nice balance of action and romance.

The taboo aspect of the relationship between T.J. and Anna is not handled lightly. The author tastefully handles the more intimate aspects of the relationship, and equally shows the realities of this type of coupling. Is this relationship unconventional? Absolutely. The author doesn't hide the scrutiny and the hardships that may face two people in this situation. It’s something that tests the characters, and the unshakable bond they have developed. The way their relationship builds is quite natural, and seeing them grow together will make you want a happy outcome for them.

These characters, and their story, will move you. Filled with romance, love and ultimately hope this novel sent me on a tailspin of emotions. Emotions I wasn't expecting to feel. A touching novel that I would urge people to read.

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