My rating: 5 of 5 stars (BEYOND AMAZING)
Official book description:
"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."
My Thoughts (Short and Sweet)Any expectations I may have had when I decided to read On the Island have certainly been blown clear out of the water. From the opening line to the last sentence this book was as close to perfectly plotted and paced as imaginable. Although I thought the length of the book (equivalent to 329 pages) was ideally balanced between set-up, character introduction, the passage of time on the island, and life following their rescue I certainly didn't want to say good-bye to T.J. and Anna. I consider this a remarkable novel, period. The fact that it is from a first-time author makes it even more impressive. The wait for her next novel, Covet, will seem long indeed.
Some "Island" Quotes
"The selfish part of me, however, couldn't fathom not falling asleep in his arms or being with him every day. I needed T.J., and the thought of being away from him bothered me more than I wanted to admit."
~ Anna Emerson
"I've been in love with you for months. I'm telling you now because I think you love me too, Anna. You just don't think you're supposed to. You'll tell me when you're ready. I can wait."
~ T.J. Callahan
[T.J.] "You are what's best for me," he said, cradling my head in his arms, his legs intertwined with mine. "I'm not going anywhere, Anna. This is right where I want to be.”