On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves
amazon kindle - £1.90
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 literally felt adrift when I reached the last pages of this amazing novel. I didn't know what to do with myself or if I was really capable of saying goodbye to T.J. and Anna just yet. That's how affecting this story is and how effective the wonderful characterisation is.
On the Island ramped up my heartbeat from the get go. The descriptions of the crash and all the hardships Anna and T.J. have to deal with during their time on the island are so raw and realistic I was frantically pressing the page turn button on my kindle, needing to know what happened to the courageous pair next.
Character-wise you couldn’t find two more likeable narrators. Anna is kind, cool, non-judgmental and brave and yet her vulnerabilities are the best thing about her because I find her more relatable than I’ve found many heroines lately. As for T.J. Wow. He certainly grows up on the island and he turns into the very best of men. *sigh* phenomenal characters. Loved them.
This is a poignant, heart-wrenching, thrilling, emotional ride of a book and I was utterly hooked. One of the best contemporary reads I’ve ever read. Well-written, touching, well-researched and authentic. It's the real deal. You seriously don’t want to miss out on this one.
Cannot wait to read more from Tracey.
Five massive massive stars!