Monday, August 6, 2012

On the Island...

I recently read On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves.  The title caught my eye when I was searching for books under the $5 price range (which is was when I first found it but later was regular price when I purchased it).  So I took a look at the synopsis and thought, wow I'm not sure how I feel about this story.

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
. - Barnes & Noble

So you can see how it might be a little risque with this kind of set up.  So I began reading.  OH MY GOD!  It was the best book I've read since J.R. Ward's Lover Reborn came out!  I describe it as Blue Lagoon meets Castaway but in a really good way.  I finished this book in less than twenty-four hours.  I just could not put it down.

The book is really interesting in that although written in first person, each chapter alternates between Anna's viewpoint and T.J.'s.  Graves takes you on this great adventure and really captures the feeling of what it must be like to have to truly fend for each other and rely on another person to survive.  She does not make life on the island happy go lucky but rather intersperses happy times with the day to day survival of finding food, shelter, and water.  She shows that when two people are thrown into unbelievable circumstances they can work together to build a life together.

Anna is a confident, intelligent woman who at the beginning knows her role and knows the boundaries.  Over time this naturally changes as T.J. grows and gets stronger and more mature.  This development is really one of the driving themes of the book.  T.J. is a really great character, being only sixteen when the book starts he never really whines or complains.  He really steps up and tries to being a man when he is still just a boy.  Anna helps him go through this transition in a nurturing, "teacher" sort of way.  It is only after he truly becomes a man and begins to be the dominant one that her role and her life are changed.

As the roles reverse, Graves takes this and makes it into a beautiful love story that follows them throughout the book.  Although the sex in the book is not as graphic as some romance novels, they have been some of the most erotic I have ever read.  Mainly this is due to Graves' wonderful ability to make you really care about these characters.  They each have depth, and personality that makes the touching and kissing so much more belly tingling.  T.J. is very sexy.  His dialogue alone would make any woman's mouth water.  His growth into a man who becomes extremely protective of Anna makes him every woman's wet dream.  

I can not recommend this book enough.  If you are looking for a quick read at the pool in these last few days of summer you must make On the Island a must read.  From one addict to another... happy reading!

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