When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family’s summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day. T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He’s almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn’t bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family – and a stack of overdue assignments – 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. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.
I started this book at around 9pm and stupidly stayed up till 3:30 to finish it. And that’s not necessarily because I was so interested in the story that I couldn’t put the book down, I just can never put ANY book down. It is a problem and I might have to stop reading on weeknights.
So, Anna (30) and TJ (16), get shipwrecked on an island. Aaaaaaand, she’s his teacher. And, as I hope you can tell from the blurb up there, they get together while on the island. I was worried that I’d be squicked out by the whole teacher/student love thing, but it really wasn’t like that at all, it was totally sweet, and had me all teary-eyed in a few places. For the first half of the book I was sure it was going to be one of THOSE books, with the growing up and becoming a man and her always walking around in her underwear. And I was irritated, because that was NOT the book I was intending to read. But thankfully it didn’t turn out that way, so YAY.
It felt like the story flew by…but not much really HAPPENED in the first few years of their island-time. I would have liked to see more detail about the survival aspects, because I really like books that are all like “I killed a bear for food with the paperclip I found in my pocket, and then built a shelter out of pinecones and seaweed, and captured a seal to be my pet.” This one was more like “today we ate some breadfruit and then swam. Anna looks hot. Now it’s 3 months later, more breadfruit and I think we’re getting scurvy.
I LOVED the love story in this book! It was just so SWEET! And I don’t generally get into romance, but even though I was a little “eh” about the two of them getting together at first, it didn’t take me long to be completely, totally rooting for them. So, worth reading, but it’s not a great work of literature.
By the way, On The Island for Kindle is $2.99 on Amazon right now!