Tuesday, September 4, 2012

On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

On the Island
by Tracey Garvis Graves
Standalone
Publisher: Penguin
Publication date: July 17, 2012
Genre: Adult Romance/Chick-Lit
Purchase*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository


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.
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 plan 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. 

I want to thank Plume/Penguin for sending me this finished copy in exchange for my unbiased review. *Purchases made through the buy links on this site earn a small commission and help fund giveaways.

I gave this novel 4.5 coffee cups out of 5.
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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33 Comments:

At July 17, 2013 at 9:11 PM , Anonymous NovaReylin said...

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...

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:36 AM , Anonymous Michelle@ Book Briefs said...

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

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:28 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Thanks Kristilyn, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did :)

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:28 AM , Anonymous Melissa's Midnight Musings said...

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.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:28 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Thanks Brandi :)

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:28 AM , Anonymous brandileigh2003 said...

I love well developed characters! Glad you enjoyed.
Brandi from
Blkosiner’s Book
Blog

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:28 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Thanks Blodeuedd, this was a good one.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:28 AM , Anonymous Blodeuedd said...

I keep seeing good reviews of this one and I am curious to see how their relationship changes

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:28 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Thanks Diana the buzz has been good and well deserved.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:28 AM , Anonymous Diana Leigh said...

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

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:28 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

thanks Liz, it was a good read and I hope you grab a copy.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:28 AM , Anonymous Liz @ Fictional Candy said...

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!

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:29 AM , Anonymous Heidi said...

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!

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:29 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

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!

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:29 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

I am curious too, although i hate books with adultery..lol

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:29 AM , Anonymous UnabridgedBookshelf said...

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.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:29 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

This took me out of my comfort zone and I really liked it. It was real and I connected. Thanks Meg :)

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:29 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

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.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:29 AM , Anonymous Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf said...

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.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:29 AM , Anonymous thegeekyblogger said...

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.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:29 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

It surprised me, and I hope you enjoy it.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:29 AM , Anonymous Mrs. Q: Book Addict said...

I have this one, and now I really want to read it. Thanks for the great review. I'll be moving this one up on my list.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:29 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

This was a good one Danny, I hope you try it.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:29 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

You are welcome :) Jenea

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:29 AM , Anonymous Jenea Whittington said...

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

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:29 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

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.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:29 AM , Anonymous Sam @ Realm of Fiction said...

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! :)

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:29 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

hahaha...start kicking and reading...hehehe

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:29 AM , Anonymous becca said...

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

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:30 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

You are welcome, this one took me by surprise and I really connected with the characters.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:30 AM , Anonymous GMR said...

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!

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:30 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

I really liked this one Kimberly and hope you do too :)

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:30 AM , Anonymous Kimberly @ Turning The Pages said...

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

 

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