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On the Island Paperback – July 10, 2012
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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.
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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.
on an island in the middle of nowhere. They quickly realize that they may not be rescued and it is up to them to fight to stay alive. Over the years theyadapt to island life, learning new skills, struggling to survive and learning to lean on one another. Both TJ and Anna grow and learn from one another and soon they become one another's reason to breathe. Once they are rescued, they are once again faced with another struggle. Outside forces - family, friends and the media judge their relationship forcing them both to take a step back and try and find their own path. In the end they realize what makes them happy and go in search of their own little island. Beautiful 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.
Boy, am I glad that I purchased this book! It's so difficult to find a well written book in the romance department. It's fraught with self-publishers who really don't spend the time to develop their stories, characters, grammar, spelling, etc. So, when I encounter one that's written as well as this one, it really stands out.
The story of their plane crash and becoming stranded on a deserted island is in itself an interesting one. To also experience the strengthening of the relationship between the 2 characters, which eventually becomes a romantic one, adds so much more depth to the story. The way the author jumped from seemingly mundane dialogue between the 2 characters, which happens to tell us a lot about them and what they're experiencing, to the crises that arise every now and then from being stranded with little resources was masterfully executed.
I was thoroughly immersed in their world and cared about these 2 people. I shed tears in some parts. And I came out at the end feeling completely sated by a story that felt complete, emotional, and engrossing. This is the type of book that I will read again when there's a lull in good books being released.