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.
Do you know the feeling when you pick up a book and simply know you are going to love it? When I first heard about On the Island from multiple reader friends, I started requesting it from my library without even reading the blurb. Unfortunately, no matter how many times I tried through Interlibrary Loan or other avenues, I couldn’t seem to get my hands on this book. Finally, I decided I was breaking my book buying ban and getting On the Island. I knew I would tear through the pages and it would become a favorite as soon as I picked it up.
Thankfully, I was completely right. I started this book one evening hoping to read about twenty pages or so and in less than two hours I had made it halfway through the book. I didn’t want to come up for air. From the first line, I was addicted to this story. Finally, I had to stop for the night, if only to savor the story. Mostly I was terrified this novel was going to rip my heart to shreds. I thought, for sure, it was going to end up being an ugly cry book. Mercifully my fears were unfounded and I got the ending I so deeply desired. The only thing terrible about the book was finishing it – I wanted to live on that island with Anna and T.J. even longer than I was able to.
I’m slightly obsessed with survival shows and learning all about the outdoors that I can. I think this gives me a bit of a release after being cooped up with kids all day, so I can at least pretend I’ve been on a cool adventure. This book was everything I appreciate about those shows with a dash of slow-burn romance that I enjoy more than anything. What’s not to love?
After discussing this book with some friends on bookstagram, someone mentioned a sequel! I rushed to Amazon like my life depended on it and picked up Uncharted.
When twenty-three-year-old dot-com millionaire Owen Sparks walked away from his charmed life, he had one goal in mind: get as far away as possible from the people who resented his success, or had their hand out for a piece of it. A remote uncharted island halfway around the world seemed like a perfectly logical place to get away from it all.
Calia Reed wasn’t part of Owen’s plans. The beautiful British girl – on holiday in the Maldives with her brother, James – made Owen wonder if getting away from it all might be a lot more enjoyable with a carefree girl who didn’t know anything about the life he left behind.
But Owen had no idea how much his carefully detailed plans would go awry. Nor did he realize that a decision he made would have such a catastrophic effect on two passengers who boarded a plane in Chicago.
And when Owen shows up at Anna and T.J.’s door with an incredible story to tell, everyone involved will learn just how much their lives are intertwined.
Upon finishing On the Island, I was dying to know more about the mystery person who inhabited the space Anna and T.J. were stranded on before they came along. This novella ended up being the perfect companion to the story. I received the answers I hoped for and was able to catch up with the characters I had grown to fiercely love.
I was already missing the descriptions of this tropical place lost in the Maldives and the vivid pictures Tracy Garvis Graves was able to paint in my mind upon finishing On the Island only a day before. I was grateful for the chance to venture back to this unforgiving but exciting environment with new characters. Owen’s story was equally as interesting to me as that of T.J. and Anna’s. I think I could happily read 15 books written by Tracy Garvis Graves set on this minuscule island in the middle of nowhere and never get bored though.
I also cannot write this review without mentioning how incredibly nice Tracy Garvis Graves is. I’m thankful for her taking the time to listen to my excitement over the stories and her characters. She is hands down one of the nicest authors I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with and I cannot wait to meet her in person this summer! I’m a huge fan and am eager to start reading The Girl He Used to Know next week.
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12 Comments Add yours
I loved On the Island. I’m going to have to check out Unchartered soon. I didn’t know there was another story in the series.
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I didn’t have any idea either. It was kind of tricky to find on Amazon too.
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You keep reviewing books that have a beach on the front cover. 🤣
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There must be something subconscious going on there. 😂