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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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.

Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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The 7 Best Food Places Near UCLA You Need to Try ASAP

We have great dining food AND restaurants around us? Wow, we are #blessed.


Westwood is the home to UCLA and offers plenty of interesting and diverse dining options for students and locals alike. Since the area is firmly Bruin territory, you will find lots of on-the-go, affordable eats along with a mix of more modern and upscale restaurants.

Though I definitely haven't had all the food Westwood occurs, being here two years now (omg already!?), I think I can safely recommend certain places to eat.

1. Shamshiri Grill

South Westwood Boulevard is often referred to as Little Tehran, so most of that area is just Persian restaurants. Shamshiri Grill just makes the best meat and whenever I go there, I always order my meal with their special hot sauce, that is to DIE for. A must try.

2. Gushi

I can not tell you how many times I've been to this place. Located near Fat Sal's, you may be tempted to just miss it but let me tell you that is a mistake. I always get their Gushi Bowl which is just heavenly and the right amount to make me feel satisfied without being too filling. Be generous with the Teriyaki and Sriracha sauces on your meat and you are guaranteed to have a good time.

3. Pinches Tacos

I know Mexican food is very common wherever you go but Pinches Tacos is aesthetically pleasing and their food? Even more so. It just tastes so good! I definitely recommend the Asada fries and any tacos.

4. Saffron and Rose

Saffron and Rose is a Persian ice cream parlor like 10 minutes away from Shamshiri Grill and the quality and variety of ice cream is truly impressive. I would not have known my weakness for Jasmine ice cream if I hadn't tried this place and as always, the Saffron and Rose (it's namesake) deserves to be the name of the restaurant because of how rich in flavor it is.

5. Maharaja

I am very particular about my Indian food but the buffets in the afternoons at Maharaja definitely passes my checklist. I actually went there for my birthday so that just tells you how the food doesn't disappoint.

6. Nekter Juice Bar

I found out about this place very recently and I'm so glad I did because their bowls are so good. They also serve smoothies which I haven't had the pleasure to taste yet but I expect the same kind of quality. I am very partial to the Bruin Bowl and the Dragonfruit Bowl.

7. BJs

They have $3 Pizookies on Tuesday.

I am always there on Tuesday.

Are these two facts connected? Maybe.

What can I say? I just love the restaurants here.

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