On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

September 3rd, 2012 Kimberly Review 33 Comments

3rd Sep
On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves
On the Island
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Two people stranded on an island struggle to survive—and slowly fall in love—in the runaway New York Times bestseller, now available with a reading group guide and a letter from the author 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. 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.

I was approached by the publisher to review On the Island and did not really know much about it, but the synopsis intrigued me. I can definitely understand why this made the New York Times bestseller’s list. Tracey Garvis-Graves delivers a powerful, taboo romance that will have you rethinking age-old opinions. I was completely captivated from page one and consumed this in a single evening.

Anna Emerson is at a crossroads in her life. She wants children and marriage, but the man she has been in a relationship with for eight years doesn’t want to commit. At thirty-one her biological clock is screaming and she decides to accept a summer job tutoring T.J. a sixteen-year-old boy who’s recently recovered from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She will be spending the summer on a tropical island with them far from her life at home. She plans to use the time to reflect and make decisions regarding the relationship. T.J and Anna travel from Chicago to the islands. On the final leg of their trip, they fly in a private charter over the Maldives islands. It is here that the unthinkable happens. The plane crashes and they find themselves on a desert island. The tale that unfolds is fascinating, beautiful, sad, scary, and wonderfully touching.

The characters were fully developed and I had a strong sense of who they were. I connected with Anna and really liked her. T.J. was sweet and brave. He seemed to accept the way things were, and rather than dwelling on how bad their situation was he worked to improve them. The tale is told in alternating POV’s and this really helped me connect with them. The romance that develops is sweet. What? Wait aren’t they sixteen and thirty..eww! That was my first thought too, but this is not insta-love and it took years to develop and it felt so genuine, believable and right. For those who are still freaking out, I will tell you nothing happen until T.J. was nineteen. They are normal, functional people who found strength, friendship, and compassion from each other. It was beautiful and I loved their story.

The world building and Graves writing style were smashing. I became completely swept up in the first few pages and didn’t surface until the last page. Questions raced through my mind as I read; Would they be saved? Would their love survive if they left the island? It’s the kind of tale that is so surreal and makes you think about their circumstances. Could I survive on a desert island, let alone a day without soap? Could I even make a fire? The tale itself spans several years and I was intrigued by island life and how they survived. Some scenes I found awkward, maybe because they were awkward for the characters. Overall, they added to the believability. It’s wonderful when an author makes you fully invested in two characters and their romance.

I highly recommend On an Island to fans of contemporary romances, survival tales, and chick-lit. I will definitely be reading more of Graves work. Her next book Covet will be released in the summer of 2013 and will deal with adultery. Adultery in novels is a real turn-off for me so I am anxious to see if she can take me out of my comfort zone again.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

33 Responses to “On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves”

  1. Kimberly

    Fantastic review I’m even more excited to read this one. It soumds like a real gem!

  2. GMR

    Hmm…certainly sounds like there is more beneath the surface; though admittedly, I had the assumed reactions when hearing about the “love story” aspect. Thanks for sharing!

  3. becca

    Wow, I got this book for review too and it as sat being waiting to be read and I havekinda overlooked it, but wow, I really want to read it! I have an idea how this story may play out but I am not hundred percent sure. I have heard nothing but great things about this book and I am kicking myself now for not reading it sooner. Great review 🙂 xx

  4. kimbacaffeinate

    It is really well done and believable Sam which is why I liked it despite the stretch to my comfort zone, it is definitely worth the read.

  5. Jenea Whittington

    I have aeen this, but I wasn’t sure about it. I think I will che k it out. Great review. Thank you for sharing it.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  6. thegeekyblogger

    I like all 3 genres (story types) that you listed above so I will have to check this book out 🙂 I don’t know about book 2 though—adultery is just not something that i can read and it end up sitting well.

  7. Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

    Love this review…I turned this one down for review because I was worried that it would be too far outside of my comfort zone…but after reading your review I’ve decided that I just may give it a shot someday.

  8. kimbacaffeinate

    Ya know, I always like to push myself, and decided to give this a try. I won’t lie I was worried there are certain lines I do not like to cross, but this was real, and believable and I connected.

  9. UnabridgedBookshelf

    On the Island has to be one of my favorite reads this year. The story is just enticing and addicting! I am glad you enjoyed it, and I also cannot wait to see what she does with Covet.

  10. kimbacaffeinate

    Trust me Barb….i freaked about it a little before I read it, this is out of my comfort zone too. I cannot believe how well done and believable it was…it just goes to show, never say never! Yes you can howl at me, tweet me and facebook stalk me as you read it!

  11. Heidi

    I know this book has burning up the charts and I grabbed a copy but of course I haven’t had a chance to read it thanks to the tbr problem! Anyway this is on my radar and I can’t wait to check it out!

  12. Liz

    I’m glad you pointed out nothing happens til he is of age. I might have to check this out, I’ve always been a fan of Blue Lagoon type stories. This looks good!

  13. Diana Leigh

    Wonderful review! I’ve heard a lot of buzz about this book – mostly positive. I need to check it out!

  14. Melissa's Midnight Musings

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one. I’ve heard such good things about it. And I was so relieved when I read in your review that this wasn’t a case of insta-love. I’ve been kind of burnt out on those lately.

  15. Sam

    This sounds like it might be a little out of my comfort zone, but I do have to admit that I’m intrigued. I’ve heard great things about this book so I may just have to give it a try one day. Brilliant review, Kimba! 🙂

  16. Michelle

    I have heard a lot of great things about this book. It has had a strong internet prescence and I am intrigued by it as well. I am really digging contemporary and chick lit this year!

    Thanks for the great review Kimba

  17. NovaReylin

    You know, I keep seeing this book and keep not reading it! I will have to pick it up now. It sounds so interesting but I had the same thought about that kid being so young! Oyyy…