Book Review: On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves


Anna is a thirty year old english teacher with a fading relationship and a desire to get some space. T.J is a sixteen year old boy who’s just recovered from cancer. Anna is offered the job as his tutor throughout the summer in the Maldives. On their way to the Maldives, the plane crash-lands in the Indian Ocean, and they barely make it to a desserted island. There are a lot of challenges and obstacles on their task of surviving, but as the days turn to weeks and then months, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge is to live with a boy who is about to turn into a man.

First line of the book: “I was thirty years old when the seaplane T.J Callahan and I were travelling on crash-landed in the Indian Ocean.”

Title: On the Island
Author: Tracey Garvis-Graves
Age: Adult
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Women’s fiction (chick lit), Adult, Adventure.

I read this while working at a bookstore and saw it the day it arrived. It’s not really my genre at all. I usually avoid romance and women’s fiction because they are usually way to cliché for me. But it was the part about being stuck on this Island and having to survive that got to me.

I’m kind of divided when it comes to my own feelings towards this plot. The part about two people surviving on an island together is really cool, and I actually think Garvis-Graves has done a really good job on this. The part where Anna struggles with her “forbidden” potential crush for T.J is… Not really my cup of tea. I would say that it is probably a really good book, and well written too, for those who actually enjoy this sort of genre, but to me this part got a little to clihcé. It’s sad, because the love story between the of them are kind of intersting and it is what really makes the book special. And although I’m not a big fan of this genre, I kind of like the fact that this book excist. That someone was cool enough to make a book about a love interest between a 16 year old boy and a 30 year old woman, and make it… well, romantic and cool. And question it. Because this is a theme that should be talked about, and I love it when books makes arguments towards those kind of themes.

But me not being into the romance genre and reading it anyway says it all. It’s me, not the book. I knew that from the start. For me, I’m pleased with the part of the plot that I was interested in. The surviving-on-the-Island part was good. Indeed. And don’t take me wrong, it’s to often a love interest in the books I read to be able for me to absolutely hate it, but when I read a book about two people struggling to survive on a deserted island, I seriously don’t give a rats ass about wether Anna thinks T.J’s sun kissed back has become really muscular recently or not. But, I think that if I liked romance, this would probably be one of the books I like the most in that genre. Heck, it is the book I like the most in that genre so far.

Although this most definitely is a love story, it’s well balanced between the actual love story and the survival on the island. And it’s a really good plot to put this kind of love story in, because all the action happening in the books justifies the cahracter’s feelings so much. It all just makes so much sense.

And here comes the part where I have to admit that it’s been like a year and a half since I read this book, and part of this review is taken from an older review where I didn’t write particularly much about the character. I have written in my notes that I think Anna is a little to plain for a main character. She acts and thinks in logical ways, but since we read parts of the book as if we were inside her head, I feel like we should be able to get a deeper sense of her. It’s just some depth missing there. But to be honest, I can’t remember much about what I think about the characters in general. I do remember feeling that Anna were a little shallow for me, that I wanted some more reflections from her. I don’t know, I just felt that this was a great book to toss in some really deep quotes about love, life and reflections about actually sitting on a desserted Island wondering if you’d ever escape it. But it’s not much of it in his book, and I feel that it would help build Anna’s character including it.

All in all, the book was okay. I knew from the beginning that the romance part probably wouldn’t be my kind of story, but the survival parts were good and I was entertained. I can also see that the romance part is a good one and I think this is a good book to recommend for people that like the genre.  It’s also a relatively short book, kind of the one that’s well suited for a summer vacation read at the beach, and it gave me what I wanted. I think that if you enjoy romantic books, you’re going to like this one. And if you’re like me and just like to read about people who have to survive when the odds are not in their favor, you’ll think it works, but it won’t be the best book you’ve read.

Favorite quote: “We were eating lunch when a chicken walked out of the woods. “Anna, look behind you.” She turned around. “What the heck?” We watched as the chicken came closer. It pecked the ground, not in any kind of hurry. “There was one more, after all”, I said. “Yeah, the stupid one,” Anna pointed out, “Although it’s the last one standing, so it’s done something right.” It came up to Anna and she said, “Oh, hi. Do you not know what we did to the rest of your kind?”



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