Last summer I recieved an email from Barnes and Noble letting me know the top beach reads of 2013 and little blurbs about each book they listed. Upon reading the blurb for On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves something (that disgusted me) stood out – the romantic relationship between a 30 year old and a 16 year old. I distinctly remember reading the blurb out loud to my Mom and saying uhhh gross. If anything the 14 year age gap interested me enough to read the reviews, I needed to see how Graves planned to write this without sickening the world to death. Had it not been for the outstanding reviews I would have been too repelled to read it.
On the Island is a romantic story about 30 year old Anna and 16 year old TJ who are survivors of a plane crash. Anna is unlucky in love, she wishes to become engaged and start a family with her longtime boyfriend, who wants nothing to do with moving the relationship forward. When Anna is given the opportunity to private tutor TJ, a recovering cancer survivor, in the Maldives for the summer she jumps at the chance despite her boyfriends wishes. While on the small plane ride over the Maldives their pilot suffers a fatal heart attack mid-flight and the plane crashes into the Indian Ocean.
Miraculously Anna and TJ survive the crash and eventually wash up on a uninhabited island. They convince themselves that a rescue is on the way and until then they must survive as best as they can. Surviving on the island proves difficult for them, they cannot find fresh water, food and shelter. After some time they are blessed when Anna’s suitcase washes up on the island and it is stuffed with many months worth of toiletries (there was no access to toiletries at their intended destination.) Eventually they come to terms with their situation and begin to depend on one another for survival.
Over the course of 3 years Anna and TJ become attracted to each other but nothing happens romantically between them until TJ turns 18 and even then Anna questions herself because TJ is her student. When they are rescued their romance comes to light, by this time they are deeply in love. The media becomes frenzied with the story so Anna and TJ must face public scrutiny that threatens to tear them apart.
I was shocked when I learned that this was a self published book, it was impressive to say the least. I thought it was well written even if the plot was a little predictable but then again aren’t romance novels usually predictable. A lot of the issues resolved themselves as quickly as they are presented to the reader such as TJ becoming sick while on the island. Personally, I was alright with that, I knew what I was reading going into the novel. If you’re looking to spend a relaxing day with an exceedingly happy story On the Island is definitely for you, I wouldn’t recommend this if you are looking for something more complicated. 5/5