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!!