Wednesday, July 25, 2012


By: Tracey Garvis Graves
Published By: Self Published
Released: Available Now
Details: Digital, 189 Pages


Book Blurb: Goodreads

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.

BOOK REVIEW by Michelle :

This is not a very long book, but you feel like you have been a part of the story for a lot longer.


T.J Callahan is in remission from Hodgkins Lymphoma, he is 16years old. Anna Emerson is 30years old and will be his tutor over the summer break with his family on an island in the Maldives.

Their plane doesn’t make it.

My worst nightmare.

I was in that ocean with T.J and he was pulling me/Anna to safety , praying there were no sharks awaiting a meal.

We watch over the course of the three and a half years these two people as ‘cast aways’ , alone on an island, surviving and becoming closer.

No, this is not a book about an underage boy and a teacher having a relationship that is wrong ...... it is so right.

This is a beautiful story about a woman who did not prey on a boy , everything was kept above board. They coexisted and survived what was thrown at them.

I personally think the Gods were smiling on them at one stage as parts of the plane washed up , T.J’s backpack, Anna’s suitcase which was a veritable pharmacy, the life raft, although it did not contain the one thing they needed so badly above all else, it was a life saver. I do not believe these two inexperienced characters would have survived long if they did not have these items wash up. They did not have the skills or the tools to survive. The Gods gave them a helping hand in the form of the current making survival for a few years possible.

There was always the threat of T.J’s cancer coming back and any major life threatening illness hitting them.

This is foremost a story about two people, no matter their ages who have no idea if they will ever leave the island or if they will perish on it, needing each other. They never fought. They had this easy going companionship. We watch T.J grow into a man, albeit a young one. He is responsible and pulls his weight. He is a thinker who tries to make the best of what they have.

T.J is mature for his age as he has been through so much with his cancer. He is not your average 16year old , he is not your average 19 year old. He is not your average guy.

Anna is indeed the adult who did not prey on T.J, but after several years at the age of consent they form a closer relationship. It was inevitable. As the reader you want it to happen.

Their island may as well have been a complete planet. The last male, last female on their planet......comfort is sought when you have been through broken bones, the weather, a tiger shark , bats, scrounging for food every day and trying to stay healthy. Knowing you have been left for dead and that you may not have many years to survive on the island it brings things into perspective.

Just like Tom Hank’s character in the movie Cast Away, he had his friend Wilson, the ball. T.J and Anna have Chicken, who is a chicken, lol! That was quite touching watching Chicken interact with them.

Tracey has been clever writing the story over many years. As the reader you get very connected to Anna and T.J. You are like the third person on the island, the invisible person who watches their mistakes and their pain and their loss.

When they are no longer on the island, you want so badly for the world, that can be a parasite when it wants to find dirt rather than beauty, to understand and accept these two people. It will bring a tear to your eye the emotion Anna feels and the need to do the right thing.

Anna is a character who gets a lot of respect from me as she was selfless and knew when to set the bird free, what was right, no matter how much she grieved for the island they shared and the love they could not hold back.

Thirteen years is an age gap that may take it’s toll later on in life, but I wish these two the happiness and love they deserve, because life can be snatched away from you too soon.

Tracey has written a story that will pull every reader in. We get alternate chapters in both Anna and T.J’s POV. These are both sad and funny and realistic. We find her writing was sensible , heartfelt and realistic, considering the circumstances. This was not a love at first sight/lust story, if not for the island they may never have connected. They could have been like ships in the night.

But they did have the island. 

If a publisher hasn't snapped this pearl up, then you had better hurry before someone else checks in the oyster and sees what 10,000 people on Goodreads have already found out.


“Happy Birthday,” I said.

“It’s September 20th?” He threw a log on the fire and sat down next to me.

I nodded. “I’m sorry, I didn’t get you a present. The island mall sucks.”

“I don’t fit in your world.”

“Neither do I,” he said, his expression tender yet resolute. “So let’s make our own . We’ve done it before.”



  1. So glad you loved this Michelle! I've said this over and over again but this book is in my top ten reads for 2012. Anna and TJ were to fabulous together and I loved watching TJ grow up to be such a fine man. After seeing him grow up i wasn't bothered by their age difference at all.

    Great Review!

    P.S - On the Island was picked up by Plume Publishing (Penguin) and they re-released the ebook with a new cover and released the paperback on July 10th.

  2. Hey Cimm,

    Oh WOW that's great. I was trying to find if it had been published. It was a no brainer really. I think I will buy this paperback. I have read a few awesome books in the last few months:D

    This was a lovely surprise read!


  3. You've made me want to read this book even more!!!

    1. Hi Meg:D

      Oh you must read this!!!



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