- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (July 10, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780142196724
- ISBN-13: 978-0142196724
- ASIN: 014219672X
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2,952 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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On the Island Paperback – July 10, 2012
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“[Garvis Graves is] the patron saint of independent authors.”—Kirkus Features
“If you like Lost, Castaway and Fifty Shades of Grey, this initially self-published and now New York Times bestseller will float your boat.”—Genevieve Fox, Daily Mail (London)
“An addictive hybrid: The Beach meets Robinson Crusoe meets Room.”—Julia Llewellyn, The Telegraph
“The breakout hit.”—Susan Maguire, Booklist
About the Author
Tracey Garvis Graves lives in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband, two children, and hyper dog Chloe. She loves hearing from her fans and can be found on Twitter @tgarvisgraves and at facebook.com/tgarvisgraves.
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Plenty of older men younger women stories about so the older woman in this story (by 13 years) and younger man appealed to me.
Could tell time was spent on editing and minor formatting errors not enough to take me out of story.
So this is The Blue Lagoon meets Robinson Crusoe.... the slightly campy, totally heartwarming, surprisingly engrossing and not-creepy-at-all student/teacher edition.
Love the new twist on old stories I love! The novel is set in the summer of 2001. Reality is Chicago, Illinois. The uninhabited (fantasy) island is somewhere in the Maldives. T.J. Callahan is 16 going on 17 and in remission from his cancer ordeal (Hodgkin's Lymphoma). His family plans a remote, tropical island vacation but also wants him to catch up on his school work without distraction. So they hire a (lovely) 30 yr old high school English teacher, Anna Emerson, to be his tutor for the summer. Yeah, that's not going to be a distraction for a teenage boy, lol. T.J. is underweight-skinny with braces and no sign of a romantic lead there. Anna, who wants marriage and a family, is distracted by the static state of her long-term relationship with stupid John. Some delay causes Anna and T.J. to catch a later flight alone and the cheeseburger-loving pilot they fly with crashes the plane when a heart attack ensues. And here we go...
I wasn't really sure how to rate this one. Technically, I shouldn't rate it more than 2-3 stars for all the ridiculous implausibilities that go down on the island, lol. Far-fetched coincidences bring in everything they need right at the right moment (after just the right amount of suffering)-- suitcases with ridiculous amounts of hygiene products (who packs 3 deodorants for a summer job??? lol). Shoes. Hooks. Chickens. Cure-all mini first aid kit. Guardian angel type dolphins. What? The author wanted her deserted-on-a-tropical-island-fantasy without giving up any of the modern hygienic conveniences, ha ha. This actually made me laugh because that's my attitude about camping these days. But, okay. It's a romance and I let these things slide.
By the middle of the story things just started feeling repetitive and you could feel the plot cycle of obstacles on the island repeating itself. The mini chapters that alternated between T.J. and Anna were basically the same voice. And Anna is a teacher/tutor in name only... we never see her at work as a teacher and she doesn't really behave like one or teach T.J. anything. What I remember about her most is that she wants to be a wife and a mother. The author didn't really wanna get racy or irresponsible with the age-gap or student/teacher dynamics... they basically seem like friends and equals after the opening, and consequences for the taboo do come into play.
Really. It's high fantasy romance chick lit and seriously not a masterpiece of writing skill or research. At all. And that's typical for the genre. And yet this novel drew me in with the unusual premise and managed to be unputdownable despite everything. It's emotionally charged. This writer has a powerful innate emotional landscape in her writing voice that just subtly and warmly and honestly welcomes you in and encourages you to get lost in her fantasy. The magic is in her writing voice, imo. She also did a good job of developing T.J. from young teen to young man. But it also didn't end when I thought it would, which reinvigorated the story for me after feeling it was getting repetitive. The last third of the book was the most surprising and realistic part of the story for me as fantasy turned to reality... and we weren't slapped with instant, implausible happily-ever-afters. This author is fabulous with the build up and the build down, you might say. Somehow I closed the book believing all of that had happened despite everything... crazy, lol...
Highly enjoyable. A page-turner. But it is a high fantasy romance, so ya just have to go with it and let the implausibilities slide in order to be swept away.
Note: There is sex here but none of it is underage (the author is careful to state maybe 143 times how old T.J. is when things get romantic, lol). Most of the sex was brief and not graphic at all. All of it is tastefully done. This is not erotica. It's a story about relationships and emotions. I would even put this one in the New Adult category. It's fairly sweet and innocent and YA-ish on the whole.
The author's writing is flawless in my opinion. The words flow easily and her writing style is simple. And I don't mean that it's subpar or lacking in any way. I just mean that she doesn't waste time with unnecessary words or scenes. She gives us exactly the right amount of emotion, dialogue and backdrop. I felt as I was on that island stranded right along with TJ and Anna, the descriptions so vivid and well-researched. Every small victory at creating shelter or finding food, to the dire medical situations that kept them vigilant, I felt each and every one of those scenarios like I was there myself.
Anna and TJ's love, although expected, never felt forced, pathetic or desperate. Even though they didn't know their fate, I really believe they fell for each other for the right reasons and I give the author huge kudos for making their love official when TJ was of age.
Overall this is a story of survival. Not just from a horrific plane crash leaving TJ and Anna cut off from the rest of the world. But to survive in a universe where others may not understand your relationship nor your desire to be together. Especially when you aren't 100 percent sure yourself.
This was an absolutely lovely read that everyone needs to discover. Simply wonderful in every way.
A huge 5+ stars.
Most recent customer reviews
16-year-old T.J. heads to the Maldives with Anna, his 30-year-old tutor, to meet his family for a summer vacation. T.J.Read more