Review: On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

Book Reviews

On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

5 Stars

It would seem the right words to tell you how much I loved On the Island will not come to me. I just keep replaying scene after scene from this book in my head because I’m not ready to let it go just yet. I lay down to read it Saturday night and finished it at three in the morning. I couldn’t go to sleep and lay awake wondering what would happen next to Anna and T.J. It was a journey I’d gladly read through again in one sitting.

I guess my biggest worry, and what might make others apprehensive, is that when you read the first paragraph we learn Anna is 30 and T.J. 16. I automatically thought, “How is this going to work?? Especially if she’s his teacher.”

After a few chapters, I realized my worries about that didn’t need to be there. On the Island is a romance, but not one about a teacher and her underage student. It’s one about a couple of people, stuck on an island, that form an unbreakable bond and help each other heal and survive. There were times where I was on the edge of my seat, thinking that one or the other character wouldn’t make it another day. There were times where my heart soared for them and times when it broke for them too.

It’s difficult to say too much about this story without spoiling it. Just know that it has heart and hope and love pouring out of it in waves. Thank you, Tracey Garvis Graves, for giving me one of my favorite reads this year and I urge all of you to read it. It will most certainly steal your heart.

Book Info

On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves
Series: On the Island #1
Published by Plume
Pub Date: July 17th 2012
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback | Source: Publisher
Genres: AdultContemporaryRomance
Buy the book! | 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. But as the days turn to weeks, and then months, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

17 Responses to “Review: On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves”

  1. Estelle / Rather Be Reading

    Great review! I have this on my TBR list but now I’m tempting to move it up if you read it basically in a day or so. I like how this sort of has a movie/tv show premise too.

    :) Thanks for putting it on my radar again!

    • Jess

      Thanks, Estelle!! I would STRONGLY suggest you move it up. I know for a fact that you’ll love it.

  2. Karen

    I have this on my iPad but I feel like I have to be in the right emotional frame of mind to read it lol
    I did get my friend to read it over the weekend and she loved it. She said it was the first time a book made her cry in years.

    • Jess

      It is a bit of a rollercoaster, but I think you could handle it. It won’t devastate you, I promise. :)

  3. The Muggle

    I agree 100% This also got a 5/5 from me! Fantastic and such beautiful love story :)

  4. Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books

    You’ve made me a bazillion times more excited to read this book! I won it in a giveaway, but only got the book when I got back from vacation – and now, I’m tempted to throw caution to the wind and read this in lieu of my TBR pile. I’m a bit apprehensive about the age difference, but everyone’s been saying that it’s done well, so I’m not too worried. Can’t wait to read it!

    • Jess

      Throw it, Alexa!! Just let it fly!! :)

      I was a bit skeptical myself about the age difference, but it totally is done well.

  5. Asheley (@BookwormAsheley)

    You already know that I loved this book and read it in one sitting. I mean, I was about to run out for errands and only planned to read a chapter or so but ended up reading the entire thing! No bathroom breaks or anything!

    The age thing – That was something I was wondering about too when I started reading the book, but you make great points about it. I loved the way the two spend a long long time getting to know each other as people, then as friends, before they take their relationship to that level.

    Just a superbly written book, so great. The story was so moving and I loved these characters so much. I’m so happy for this author too. She’s incredible and I can’t wait for more people to read On The Island. Great review, Jess. So glad you liked it!

    • Jess

      You were so right about this book being unputdownable!

      I loved how they got to know each other before anything romantic happened. It wouldn’t have felt genuine if had been different.

      I’m so excited about this book too, that I keep pushing it on people, lol.

  6. Brie

    After seeing all your tweets about this book, and now your review, I really want to read this! Sometimes it’s so hard to find an unputdownable book – like truly unputdownable, where you stay up all night like you did just to read it all at once.

    I think I will save this (if I can find a copy) for my trip out East early September – then I know I will have several hours of uninterrupted reading time on the plane! (My favorite time to read, especially if it’s a good book!)

  7. Inez Kelley

    I agree. I bought this and read it in one setting. To me, there was no over the top wild swings. Everything had its place and the natural tension, dangers and struggles played logically out and their emotions followed those incidents. it wasn’t hot instant lust. It was growing, changing, and accepting. I adored TJ, the teen and the man. I liked how he grew, how he faced life and still came right back to where he was to begin with. Excellent story.

  8. Chrystal

    I loved this book as much as you. Your thoughts know it mirror how I still feel. It makes me want to read this again. It was one of my top books that year as well and i picked it up on a whim. It’s still one I think about often. Did you read the novella companion? It’s good too!

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