On The Island

On the Island  - Tracey Garvis-Graves This is one of my favorite novels of all time. On the Island is one of those books that induces a heart attack of bookworm proportions. Just thinking about it makes my blood pump in excitement. I want to shout T.J. and Anna from the rooftops. Flood my newsfeeds with On the Islands recommendations. Ask me what book you should read next and this would be one of the top 10 I’d tell you to read if you haven’t. I would fangirl on Tracey Garvis-Graves all day if I wasn’t afraid of jail time or mental institutions.T.J. Callahan beat cancer. In celebration and in an attempt to spend some time with their son, T.J.’s parents decided that a vacation to the Maldives where they could be together and he could catch up on school work would be just the thing. They hire Anna Emerson, an English teacher, to travel with them and supervise his tutoring.T.J.’s parents had traveled previously, so T.J. and Anna fly together. Their travel prior to arriving in Male, the capital of the Maldives were normal. The flight from Male to their destination, however, was another story altogether. Mick, their seaplane pilot, experiences mild pains in his arm and chest. Realizing that he’s having a heart attack, Anna has T.J. buckle up. Their seaplane then crashes into the ocean. (I’m literally getting excited as I’m writing this. I freakin’ love this book.)Told from alternating first-person POV, we follow as T.J. grabs Anna and floats in the ocean for hours until finally pulling them to safety on shore. There, they are faced with the harsh reality of being stranded on an island, not knowing when they will finally be rescued. If they’ll be rescued at all.One of my favorite parts of the book is how Tracey illustrates their hardships. Starvation, dehydration, fighting the elements and wildlife, sicknesses, injuries without medical care. These little nuances layer so much realism to the story I felt like it actually happened. I was biting my nails each time they got into a new situation and had to fight tooth and nail to simply survive.As they work together to survive on the island, they become closer – after all for the foreseeable future they only have each other. Their lives literally rest in each other’s hands. Trademark to her style their relationship evolves slowly over the course of many years. It is here that the main theme of the novel develops. T.J. is sixteen and Anna thirty when they are stranded.If we were in Chicago, I wouldn’t stand a chance with her. But I was start to wonder if, here on the island, I might.Their physical relationship didn’t start until T.J. was well past the age of consent. By then, he seemed much older than his 18 years, having experienced so much more than men his age. He was confident, dependable, sure of himself, and capable in so many ways. Anna had come to depend on him, not only for basic survival, but for emotional support as well.It would be easy to write off their relationship as simply the product of their proximity and base it on the fact that they were the only option each other had. When they are finally rescued three years after being on the island together, will their relationship survive back in civilization?Because I’m thirteen years older than you are. This might be our world, but it isn’t the real world. You still have a lot of things you haven’t experienced. You won’t want to be tied down to anyone.When they are rescued, T.J. and Anna face judgement from their families, the press, the world at large and even from each other about their age difference. Again, here Tracey shows their relationship change in minute occurrences. They don’t immediately separate and it’s not one big blowout. It’s the little things here and there. Dinners where older men pick on T.J. for not being able to order drinks and then hit on Anna like it’s their right. Outings where they run into T.J.’s college-age friends and Anna wonders if she’s supposed to go to keg parties and be faced with girls half her age. Real issues that a couple with such an age difference would face.Can they overcome what society thinks is acceptable?“I don’t fit into your world.”“Neither do I,” he said, his expression tender, yet resolute. “So let’s make our own. We’ve done it before.”*****Visit my blog for more reviews and recommendations!Join the Miss Construed Review's Facebook community!