Release Date: 16th August 2012
Genre: Fiction, Adult, Romance, Survival
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review
"It would always be summer on the island...
When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a summer job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's holiday home in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation: a tropical island beats the library any day.
T.J. has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having had cancer wasn't bad enough, he now has to spend his first summer in remission with his family instead of his friends.
Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Marooned on an uninhabited island, Anna and T.J. work together to obtain water, food, fire and shelter but, as the days turn to weeks then months and finally years, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man..."
I have to admit that when this book came through my letterbox I hadn’t heard of it before and wasn’t sure if it was going to be my cup of tea. On the proof copy it talks about the book being hugely successful in the US with 5 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and film rights already sold so I decided to look online at some reviews and the hype that I found for this book overseas was staggering and convinced me that I needed to give this book a go.
I started reading On the Island that very same day and within only a few short chapters I could see what all the fuss was about. This book was totally gripping, I found myself reading late into the night, and was fitting in a few more pages whenever I could. I’m a sucker for a good love story and this book delivered that in a unique and original way.
The circumstances behind the book forces two people together who under normal circumstances most likely would never have gotten together. But life on a deserted island creates a situation like no other that not only brings TJ and Anna together but also creates an unshakeable bond between them. Although at its heart this book is a romance it’s also so much more than that. It’s a story of survival and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough as I went through the highs and lows of island life with Anna and TJ.
What initially put me off reading this novel was the age different between Anna and TJ and that the book begins with Anna being his teacher. I have to admit that I was worried that their relationship would feel wrong to me and the uninhabited island too farfetched a plot but it was so brilliantly done. Every step of their journey on the island and in their growing relationship felt so natural and right and was so well developed and believable that I quickly fell in love with TJ and Anna and the new home and lives they build together on the island.
On the Island is one of those books that totally transports you to the books setting and so I felt all of the feelings that the characters felt. I would feel desperate when one of them got sick or if it hadn’t rained that day and they didn’t have enough water. And I’d rejoice with Anna and TJ on days when they’d catch food or when something useful would wash up on the shore. This book was a rollercoaster of emotion and the uncertainty to if they’d ever be rescued or even survive made this book a total page turner.
Ultimately On the Island was an excellent surprise that I’m so glad I gave a chance. If you’re looking for a gorgeous romance with all the intensity and uncertainty of a thriller, or are just generally after something a little bit different and gripping for your holidays this summer On the Island comes with a high recommendation from me.
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