On the Island, by Tracy Garvis-Graves, is a book I wasn’t sure I wanted to read. The idea of a thirty-year-old woman falling in love with a teen (legal teen) didn’t sit well with me. A lot of my friends had read and loved this book, so I trusted their judgment and read it. I didn’t love this book, but I did wind up liking it.
One of the reasons I like this book is because of the characters. Most of On the Island takes place on an island, there’s a big ‘duh’ moment, so the readers get to know the two main characters on a more intimate level. It also helped that this story switched from Anna’s point-of-view to T.J.’s. Anna and T.J. are two very different people, and they are in two different places in their life. Both of them love each other, but is their love deep and strong enough to last? This question, and many more, is answered towards the end. I really enjoyed this aspect Tracy wrote about. Because of the significant age difference, this book had to be delicate in its approach. Instead of a fantastical romance, On the Island is very real.
Throughout reading On the Island, I struggled with the age difference. For that, I cannot lie. It felt almost perverse to enjoy this romance, and that is why I didn’t wind up loving this book. Something just didn’t sit right with me. I know I’m one of just a few who feel this way. Overall, this is a good, quick, read!
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.