Saturday, 27 November 2021

On the Island - Tracey Garvis Graves

Book: On the Island
Author: Tracey Garvis Graves
Genres: Not entirely sure.
Format: Kindle e-Book
Publication Date: 28th May 2012

My Rating: DNF @ 62%
Date Finished: 27th November 2021


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.


So I'll be honest. This has been on my Kindle for 5 years and I've put it off for various reasons including my not liking another book by this author that I read nearly two years ago now, The Girl He Used To Know. But here goes.

This starts with Anna going to the airport for the very long flight to the Maldives with the student she'll be tutoring for several months to help him catch up after missing school due to his illness. Only they never make it. The plane crashes into the sea and they eventually wash up on one of the many islands that make up the Maldives. They have to either adapt to survive, while they wait to be rescued, or give up and die.

I wasn't pulled into this at any point. I expected them to be rescued fairly quickly but it stretched into years of them somehow managing to use the things that miraculously washed up on the island with them - their luggage! - to survive. Anna's suitcase that washed up had what seemed like an almost endless supply of toiletries that they managed to make last them at least two years. It was just so unbelievable. They ended up with a life raft, some inflatable cushions, a guitar, some jewellery they fashioned into fishing hooks...?! They just seemed to be so resourceful for people who'd never camped or anything. Yeah, I get they had to adapt or die but I just wasn't buying it.

It was always rather boring reading them on the island. They were mostly sunbathing and fishing or killing things that wandered too close. And occasionally getting sick. Island life bored me, almost to tears. I was on the verge of giving up with this many times.

The romance just wasn't romantic in any way for me. T.J. as the teenager, I could kind of understand with puberty and all that and admiring the pretty tutor and yeah he might have buffed up after a few years but I wasn't feeling any of that myself. I don't have an issue with age gap romances but there hadn't really been much interaction between them for any sort of spark to grow in my eyes. It just seemed that they scratched an itch. 

I've also noticed the author likes to use real life events in her books, or at least the two I've read now. On the Island has the 2004 boxing day tsunami in it, which is the only way they got rescued. And also the point where I decided to give up. They were finally off the island but I wasn't feeling any kind of spark with this book at all. I've read other reviews where people had read it in 24 hours and three days later I was just barely over half way through? Yeah, that equals me not interested.

I think that after 2 books that I haven't enjoyed that this author is one I'm going to stay away from in the future.

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