On the Island
by Tracey Garvis Graves
Genre: Chick Lit, Romance
Synopsis: 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 the 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 day turns 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.
From the back of the book
Becky's review: At first I thought this book was just going to be trashy and far too romancey for me but after the first 40-50 pages, the writing improved, the characters developed and the book became much better. I was really disturbed by the age difference between Anna and T.J. and felt like the romance in this book would be totally inappropriate. But luckily the characters were legal when the romance started and that made me feel better about the story line. This was a quick and easy beach read. There's not a lot of meat to it but it's fun and light. It is a tad unbelievable at times but I was willing to overlook that for the sake of a fun novel.
Becky's rating: 3 1/2 stars
Marcie's rating: 3 1/2 stars
Marcie's review: When I started reading this book, I knew it was a romance between a 30 year old woman and a teenage boy; I'm glad I did, because otherwise I would have been so disturbed by the idea of that that I would have put the book down. And this turned out to be a quick and enjoyable read, so I'm glad I stuck with it. I was relieved to discover that their romantic relationship didn't actually start until T.J. was 18, but the 13 year age difference still made me cringe when I thought about it. Having said that, I always enjoy stories about castaways, and so I was eager to see how this unusual couple survived on their deserted island. There were definitely parts where the reader had to suspend disbelief, and the author skipped over some aspects that I'm sure would have been challenging - like how did they manage to collect enough drinkable water during the dry sesason? In addition to the details of their survival, I appreciated seeing the characters grow and mature, especially towards the end of the novel, but I was not thrilled with the frequency of the descriptive sex scenes.