Wednesday, September 5, 2012

On the Island, by Tracey Garvis Graves

Anna plans to spend her summer tutoring a teenage boy named T.J., to help him catch up to his peers after battling cancer.  The family, and in turn Anna, will be spending the summer in the Maldives.  As Anna and T.J. travel to their destination, tragedy strikes, and they crash, and end up stranded on an uninhabited island.  After a few days, it becomes clear that no rescue is going to happen, at least not anytime soon, so Anna and T.J. are forced to survive in the only ways they know how.

I went into this book skeptical.  The back cover makes it pretty obvious that a romance is going to develop between Anna and T.J., yet when we first meet him he is around 16, and she is 30.  This seems so unlikely, despite all the reports of student teacher relationships in the past few years.  I was convinced that this storyline would seem unbelievable, and in some ways, it still is, but somehow, it sort of works.  And I so not know why.

Anna and T.J. are not terribly well developed as far as characters go, though I will say the chapters in T.J.'s voice are surprisingly more convincing than those in Anna's voice.  The author nails the voice of a sexually charged teenage boy.  The story moves quickly, covering an extensive chronology in a relatively small number of pages, so I never got bored by the story, despite the fact that nothing action packed really happens once they reach the island.  There are a few minor crises, which are conveniently and quickly resolved (often in ways not terribly believable).  And the last third of the book deals with what happens when the characters form a romantic attachment.  In many ways, it feels as if the writing is expository, right up until the last few pages.

I cannot explain it.  The book is not terribly deep, and the writing is good but not great.  And yet I found myself hooked, and I think a lot of romance fans will find the same happens to them.

I received a review copy courtesy of the publisher.

 

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