On the Island

On the Island - Tracey Garvis-Graves I wish I could give this book 10 stars!!!!!!!

“I think I speak for everyone when I say there’s a story there.”
“Holy shit,” T.J. said.
Here we go."


I usually write these reviews where I go on and on about these books, but this time, I kinda want to just tell you that this is one of those character-driven books, that makes you feel so many emotions, that you just know these people, and their experiences are not going to leave you for a long time to come. Tracey Garvis-Graves, has created two people who are both at very different places in their lives, but they are definitely both at crossroads. 16 year old T.J. has recently had his cancer go into remission after a 3 year battle with it. He just wants to go back being a normal teenage kid, who isn't worried about dying. And 30 year old Anna is in an 8 year relationship that is going nowhere, and has decided to take a summer job tutoring T.J. with his family on a remote island in the Maldives. When the two of them board a plane to go to meet T.J.'s family they don't know that they are about to have their worlds collide in the most unexpected and extraordinary way ever. What a premise for a fantastic story.

"I wanted to tell him I’d never do anything to hurt him again. But I was afraid it was a promise I might not be able to keep."

Anna is one of those women, who has been holding on to a dream, and while I can't relate, I can totally understand. She's been romantically stuck in a dead beat relationship which a deadbeat idiot for the last 8 years, and when she takes this job and gets on the plane, she already knows that she and her long time bf are over. She wants some time away I think to steel herself for being alone after such a long time. I think that Anna is one of those people who could survive almost anything, and when they wake up on that island, she immediately starts to figure out what they should do to survive in the interim, until they are found. She is the one who holds on to the hope of being found for the longest time, and when she gives up, I also found that I had given up on them being rescued. The way she was able to take care of both of them, especially emotionally, she was able to get TJ to really open up about a lot of things, that he'd never talked about with anyone. I think she was just the right temperament for someone who had been to the brink of death to have with him on the island.

"If we were in Chicago, I wouldn’t stand a chance with her. But I was starting to wonder if, here on the island, I might."

TJ Callahan, when that plane went down was the typical teenager, or at least he was trying to be. The more time he spent on the island with Anna, it became clear that TJ had many hangups of his own, mostly surrounding his cancer, and how it changed him. He had some very adult experiences at a very young age. And I think his maturity was what prevented me from seeing the wrong in his relationship with Anna. I think Garvis-Graves did an excellent job of balancing the teenage boy and the young man in him. I think that he was just such a great character, he was so open, and fun, and as they spent more time on that island, TJ really became a man, he built them shelter and got food, and took care of them in a way that I think is so basic but so essential. I think because TJ was so young, and had already almost died twice now in his life, he took to life on the island a lot easier than Anna. He adapted, and he made the best of the situation, and better. I think the banter between him and Anna on the island, was so refreshing, and I think the fact that there were times when they forgot their circumstances were mostly because of him.

“What did you wrap my hand with?” he asked.
“My thong.” I looked up at him. “You were right; it’s totally uncomfortable. Awesome for first-aid though.”
The corners of T.J.’s mouth turned up slightly. He looked at me, his brown eyes showing a trace of the spark that had been missing the night before. “It’ll make for a funny story someday,” I said.
“You know what, Anna? It’s kinda funny now."


I think this book just had a great new concept, a fresh take on relationships, and two characters that you couldn't help but root for. I think that books like this really are what great literature are about. There was great pacing as well. I also liked how the chapter alternate between the POVs, it ensured that the book never got boring, or that the pace never slowed down not even for a little bit. And I look forward to a lot more from Tracey Garvais-Graves. I think her work here was excellent.