Book Review of On The Island by Tracy Garvis Graves

Book Review of On The Island by Tracy Garvis Graves

An excellent romance story for the summer bookworm.

So, I have always been critical of romance novels. I can never the find the perfect love story to live my single life vicariously thought. Some of my favorite romance stories include: The Time Traveler's Wife, and The Man Without A Shadow, where there is a central conflict to the story. Well with On the Island, the conflict creates the story.

30 year old Anna Emerson has been assigned to private tutor 16 year old T.J. Callahan, a reclusive 16 year old who is in remission from cancer. They are chartered a private plane to take them to Male where T.J.'s parents are spending summer vacation. Then the pilot has a heart attack en route and the plane crashes into the sea. Anna and TJ manage to survive and swim to a nearby seemingly abandoned island.

They start figuring out how to survive, feeding on whatever fruits they could find, teaching themselves how to finish, making a shelter and a fire and even recovering some items from the crash to improve their efforts. They endure everything from tropical storms to sharks to sickness and injury and overtime, as the years go by, they form a special bond and begin to fall in love.

Okay first I know that sounds cliche, and before anyone calls PEDOPHILE on Anna, i will ask you kindly to SHUT UP because TJ was 19 when any sexual relationships formed between the two.

We watch TJ and Anna learn more about eachother, beyond just being a student and teacher. TJ wants nothing more then to regain all the friends he lost when he underwent therapy, he talks about how everyone just walked out of his life because he was supposedly dying. Anna has a boyfriend John, who she is frustrated with because she wants to get married and have kids but for some reason, he is holding out, so she is conflicted with if she wants him or not.

There were a few flaws with the book. It was a little to face paced in some places, specifically in first 100 pages of the chapter. I mean before page 100, TJ starts building a shack. No kidding, he starts building a house, made from an abandoned shack further in the forest. Also, there were many occasions where logic was thrown right out the window, such as the moment when TJ and Anna call their parents. Let's be realisitc, if you went missing for 3 years and were presumed dead, and you call your loved ones, they aren't immediately going to believe that its really you! Right? We'll for TJ's parents and Anna's family, they believe it after a few sentences. Also I've mentioned they had hardships to endure on the island. The problem I had with that, is how rushed these events are. TJ gets injured and sick and its wrapped up with only a few pages. I mean the whole situation with a shark infesting the lagoon was longer then that! Even building the shack took up a few chapters. We never really get a feeling to the time passing by, because they seem to overcome obstacles a little to easily. I wouldn't call this Mary Sue territory, but I could've had scenes drawn out a bit more. So I can't be too harsh.

Another thing about the book is their time on the island only take the first half of the book. When they get rescued, Anna is 33 and TJ is almost 20. They are clearly in a relationship and make their best to adjust back to civillian life. Anna wants TJ to live the oppertunities he could've lost while on the island, even though TJ is absolute when he says he loves Anna and wants to be with her, and this is when their relationship is really thrown into conflict.

The book is a romance about how two people from different parts of life make eachother part of their own. Anna and TJ are 13 years apart, they are in different stages of their lifes and despite that, they have a special kind of love for eachother that I don't usually see in such easy-to- read romances. The best parts of the book is when they interact. The way they grow closer to eachother comes off as genuine and emotional, and when Anna cries for TJ, you really feel for her.

This book is a very relaxing read, and a very interesting read. We see two people fall in love, despite the conflict they are in and the conflict that arises in the relationship itself because of who the characters are, and that makes for a love story like no other. Despite its flaws, the book was certainly a page turner, well worth the read.

But these are just my opinions. Have you read the book? If not, do you wanna read it now. Comment below and stay tuned for more!!

Cover Image Credit: google images

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To Percy Jackson, I Hope You're Well...

Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the Heroes of Olympus are both series which helped shape my life. I want to share my love for them here, with you.


Two days before I moved from New Jersey to California, I had a late night at a friend's house. Just a few miles outside of my small town of Morris Plains, his house was out of the way and a safe haven for myself and my mother during a harrowing and strenuous move. My father had been across the country already for almost two months trying to hold down his new job and prove himself. His absence was trying on me (at the tender young age of nine years old) and my mother, and we often spent time at my friend's home, as our mothers got along well.

That night came the time to say goodbye for the very last time, and as our mothers were tearfully embracing at the door, he ran up to me and shoved a book in my hands. Bewildered and confused, I tried to give him my thanks but he was already gone - running away in a childish fit that expressed his hurt at my leaving more than any words he could've said. I looked down at the book in my hands. It was a battered copy of Rick Riordan's "The Lightning Thief," with its binding bulging slightly out in a strange fashion, the cover slightly torn and bent, and quite a few pages dog-eared. The book wasn't in good condition, but I took the time to read it. I was ensnared and enchanted by the lurid descriptions of mythology, of the lovable characters of Percy, Annabeth, and Grover, and the upside-down world they lived in. Over the course of the move and our eventual settling into our new California home, I devoured the series adamantly, reading "The Battle of the Labyrinth" almost five times in the fifth grade and eventually finishing out with "The Last Olympian." The series accompanied me through a difficult move and a whirlwhind of early puberty; by that time, Percy and friends I knew intimately as my own companions. When the series ended, I happily parted with it, and began other literary conquests (namely in the realm of classics).

After an almost year-long break, I re-discovered the series in sixth grade. I hadn't realized that there was a companion series to the first, in fact, a continuation - The Heroes of Olympus. I lapped up "The Lost Hero" and "The Son of Neptune" with greed, and eagerly awaited the arrival of "The Mark of Athena" the following year.

One of my most vivid memories of middle school was sneaking downstairs the morning of the Kindle release of "The Mark of Athena", sneaking past my parents' bedroom as stealthily as I could in the wee hours of the morning to get my kindle and immerse myself in the world. I believe I finished it in about two days. For the next two books in the series, I followed the same pattern: get up early, read it as fast as I could get my hands on it. "The Blood of Olympus", the last book in the series, came out in my freshman year of high school. After finishing the second series, I shelved my much-loved paperbacks for good, and turned myself to other literary pursuits. I eventually relocated to Virginia, and went to college. Percy and friends were almost forgotten until my first year at the University of Virginia.

I was devastatingly alone my first semester at university. I didn't know what to do with myself, entombed by my loneliness. However, at the bottom of my suitcase, I found my old Kindle Paperwhite, with both of Percy's series neatly installed for me. I made a resolution with myself: I would reread both series, reading only at mealtimes where I sat alone. By the time I was finished, I wanted to see where I was compared to when I started.

Re-reading the series was like coming home. It was nostalgia, sadness, and ecstasy wrapped into one. I delighted in revisiting Percy's old haunts, his friends, his challenges. However, it was sad, knowing I had grown up and left them behind while they had stayed the same. It was a riveting memory train which made me look forward to meals, and eased my loneliness at school. Gradually, as the semester progressed, I was reading on Percy's tales less and less, as I found my friends, clubs, and organizations that gradually took up more and more time.

I still haven't finished my re-read, and am about halfway through "The Blood of Olympus". I've come a long way in the almost decade since I first received that tattered copy of "The Lightning Thief", and I still have some ways to go. So thanks, Percy, Annabeth, Grover, Jason, Piper, Reyna, Nico, Frank, Hazel, Leo. Thank you for growing up with me. I'll never forget you.


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