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.
I finished this book in about four hours, after being captivated by the story of two people being lost and stranded on an island – I do like the films such as Castaway and Blue Lagoon – the old and new versions, so I knew I would probably become engrossed in this book of survival and friendships.
From the synopsis, you can see that Anna is 30 years old, while T.J is almost 17 has also overcome cancer. During the trails and tribulations of trying to get to the Maldives island T.J’s parents are currently residing in, the pilot of their little plane dies and they are stranded in the shark-infested sea. T.J has to tow Anna to the nearest island without becoming food for the Sharks.
Over the course of the book, they have to band together to get through the days being stranded, hoping that their family will not give up hope in finding them and will have faith they are still alive. As the weeks turn into months and the months into years, their hope is slightly fading, and by now they have made themselves a little home from things around the island, including a pet chicken!
While the fear that T.J’s cancer could return, Anna and T.J both become ill and safe each other over the years. But thats not all thats worrying them both, Anna is now spending time with T.J, who in her eyes is becoming a man.
While they do in fact fall for each other, as it was inevitable since it was only the two of them together every day and night, you become engrossed with both the characters, feeling their every emotions and wishing someone would come along and find them as both of them do not want to die and leave the other on their own.
I must say, i thoroughly enjoyed this book and the ending too. I heard its going to be made into a movie, and if that is true, i literally cannot wait to see the outcome of it.
2 thoughts on “On The Island – Tracey Garvis-Graves”
I enjoyed the book too, although i worry about its placement in highschool libraries. It boils down to this: underage student falls in love with teacher [and vice versa] and they ultimately have sex. Hummm. Granted, by the time they have sex he is 18 but it may be a “shot stopper” for school librarians. Still, it’s a great little story of beating all the odds, surviving and learning to love your protector. Verging on the fantastic.
I never thought about it that way, but I can see it from that point of view too; but I think people wouldn’t think about that issue when reading, i know i didn’t but i do think it probably shouldn’t be in school libraries, people could get the wrong impression over it. But i agree, it’s a great story to read!