Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Review: On The Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

Title: On The Island
Author: Tracey Garvis-Graves
Publication date: September 3rd 2011
Age group: Adult (Probably not suitable for younger readers)
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Survival
Cover rating: 2/5
Content rating: 4.5/5
Buy: Amazon

Description via Goodreads:
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.
My thoughts:
A word of warning: Do NOT start reading this book unless you have several free hours ahead of you because seriously, you won't be able to put this out of your hands! I did not move from where I was sitting for hours and I don't even think I looked up from my Kindle until I finished the last page. It was so riveting and addictive- I couldn't have put it down even if I had wanted to! I can't believe I came so close to not reading this book. I never took the time to figure out what it was about and had figured it was just a regular adult romance which I rarely read. Turns out this is a survival book. I love survival books!

As the title suggests, this book is set on an island. Not just any island though; a desert one on which our two main characters find themselves stranded. T.J (16) and Anna (30) are on their way to T.J's parents when their plane crashes and they end up on this island, with no way to contact anybody. The first few pages were okay but once they reached the island, I was completely invested in the story and the characters and couldn't stop until I found out what was going to happen to them. T.J and Anna are stuck there for years. They have to quickly learn survival skills and they do a great job! They manage to stay fed and watered for a long time and were always coming up with solutions to the next problem.

The book wasn't perfect. Unlike many people, I wasn't really feeling the romance that inevitably formed after about 3 years. I didn't have an issue with the relationship itself but I just didn't find it very compelling or interesting. I also thought Anna and T.J could have thought some things out better which would have made surviving easier but other than that, I really loved this book and I'm so glad I read it! It was fascinating watching them try to live against all odds. The novel moves at an excellent pace. Sometimes we get to read about several days in a row and other times, it skips ahead months. This was great because it stopped the book getting boring and it didn't drag at all!

Overall, I would recommend this book to everyone, especially anyone who loves reading survival stories. It kept me on the edge of my seat and was just the book I needed to pull me out of my boring reading slump. I will most certainly be reading anything this author publishes in the future. I'm already excited for her next book, Covet, which won't be out until Autumn of this year. On The Island was definitely a gem!


  1. I loved this book too! I also stayed up all night reading! I could not put it down. I just had to know what would happen to T.J. and Anna so I read it all in one sitting. I actually really liked the romance. I thought it built slowly into a friendship and then became more. They were everything to each other on that island and I liked to see the way that would transfer once they were off the island. It was excellent!

  2. This book was just recommended to me by a friend on goodreads. I loved your review and it is the same thing I heard from my friend as well. I am so excited to read it but have to wait to buy it. sigh.

  3. Well, now I have to read this. I'm not even going to lie, the age difference is what has me curious. I love a stranded on a desert island story as much as the next person, but it's the supposed love interest that turns my head. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Oh I've had my eye on this book for a while now! So I'm so glad that you enjoyed it! I haven't had much luck with survival stories but like you said this sounds like an utter gem! Can't wait to get my hands on a copy! :)

  5. I really want to read this one. I am very intrigued about survival stories and I hope I feel the relationship a little more interesting but we'll see! Great review! :)

  6. Awesome review, glad you enjoyed this so much. It sounds interesting but I'm not sure if it would be for me. But yet I'm intrigued......hmm

  7. This sounds really good! I love survival stories and since Lost (before their epic fail) I'm always fascinated by this type of story! And I actually rather a relationship forming after 3 years than insta-love *barf* lol. Great review, love!

  8. Awesome! It must have been good if you were riveted to your Kindle. Survival books are intense! I have not heard of this one but you can bet I am headed over to GR to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation, Nicola.

  9. Oh my wow, what a beautiful review! I've had this huge thing for survival books after reading The Hunger Games, and even though I know this book is really nothing like that, it still sounds amazing and intense! Being stuck on an island for three years... I couldn't even imagine it! I'm not sure how I'd feel about the romance but I guess I'll have to read this book to find out, right? ;)

    Really awesome review, Nicola! :) <3

  10. It seems very controversial... She's 30 and he's 16? Interesting.. although with me right now being 33 and imagine I would fall for an 17 year old.. But , maybe that's why I should read this book, it does sound great, island, desert, romance.. awesome review!

  11. I've heard really good things about this book, glad you liked it. I need to put it on my TBR list :-)
    Truly Bookish

  12. I was very reluctant to read this story, didnt know if i was going to like the premise of the old trapped on a deserted island relationship, especially with the age difference between the characters. I am soooo very glad took the chance though because this story was so much more. I never once thought about the age difference, just the characters. I believed this to happened due to the great amount of detail that went into this book. I found myself feeling as though i was right there with T.J. and Anna and felt every triumph defeat and love that they went through during their ordeal on the island. I really loved that it was not all romanticized and perfect especially during the 2nd half of the story.

  13. Oh My! I just finished the book. I read a review of it at thing I read it coz I can't put it down..It is a refreshing read. You feel what the characters undergo because their emotions are told so vividly and in both the characters' point of views. The steamy scenes are steamy but it didn't detract from the quality of how the story was told.

    I read somewhere that a movie will be made out of this book!! If this is so then I already have my preference to who will play Anna and T.J.

    It is always a habit of mine that whenever I read a novel/ story, I first imagine what they would look like. I'm an imaginative reader so this helps me a lot with my reading. Most of the time I read the first chapters and get a sense of the characters and from there I envision it. Usually, I imagine some actors.

    It is no different with this book. Putting these actors' faces on the characters made the scenes in the book more exciting, dramatic (or whatever the author wants us the readers to feel) in the story.

    I imagined NATALIE PORTMAN for ANNA and BEN BARNES for T.J. I always find Natalie to have both the look of maturity and intelligence in her yet at the same time, she has this effervescence that makes you wonder whether she's younger than her actual age. She is sweet and charming and at the same time she is sexy. I had a hard time thinking of T.J. Who would play a 16-17 year old boy who will rock the brooding ill look with braces. Someone who could play a young man and evolve into an adult. I thought of Cam Gigandet at first but he wouldn't pass the sickly type..Others will fit the sickly look but will not pass into the T.J. with long hair, dark tan and lean muscles. One who will exude the vulnerability and strength, the innocence and the maturity, and one who can radiate both youthfulness and manliness. Suddenly, I remembered this actor who acted as Prince Caspian in Narnia who also portrayed the same youthful yet manly roles in Easy Virtue and Dorian Gray. He would be terrific because he will be able to play a teenager with the pale almost bald look with a brace on his teeth then one who grew into a man who is tanned with beautiful long hair and with lean muscles. He could smile with naivety and could like at you with smoldering eyes like he's already experienced.

    If it will really turn into a movie, I do hope that Natalie Portman and Ben Barnes get cast as Anna and T.J. because they would be perfect for the role, personally speaking.




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