Author: Tracey Garvis Graves
Publication Date: September 3, 2011
Genre: New Adult Romance
Format: Kindle 596 KB | Paperback 336 pages
Buy this book on Amazon: Kindle Edition | Paperback
Author's Website: http://www.traceygarvisgraves.com/
Author's Goodreads Profile: Tracey Garvis Graves
Synopsis from Goodreads:
My Thoughts...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.
This was the first book I read in 2013 and I really did start off the year with a bang! This was probably one of the best books I have read in this genre, at least in my opinion. This book was actually recommended to me by a blog reader and I am so glad she recommended it. I would run across it every once in awhile, but never did pick it up and I saw someone post on Facebook that it was the Daily Deal on Amazon one day so I actually picked it up for just $0.99.
T.J. is a fantastic character. He is a nearly 17 year old who has had a pretty rough life so far. His cancer is in remission and he is travelling to an island in the Maldives to spend the summer with his family. The catch is, since he missed so much school while having cancer treatment he has to spend the summer studying with a tutor so that he can get caught up for when the new school year starts. Anna has been hired to be T.J.'s tutor for the summer. She is an English teacher who is ready to get married and start a family, but her boyfriend of 8 years isn't ready to take that step yet. Anna takes this job to get away for awhile so she can decide what she wants to do about this relationship.
T.J. and Anna are stranded on an island where they end up spending several years with only each other as company. Over the years their relationship does progress beyond being just friends, but there is a huge chunk of the book is just about how they deal with the hardships that they face on the island. I don't want to say too much more than this for fear of spoilers.
There are those who will read this and be immediately turned off by the theme of forbidden love that takes place in the story. I was not one of those people. I think that it's presented in a very tasteful way and it really is a beautiful love story. I don't see a huge problem with the age difference, I know there is a moral dilemma that presents itself when you think of Anna being a teacher and T.J. being a high school student. But in reality, she isn't nor has she ever been his teacher. I realize that had the plane not crashed she would have been his tutor, but if that were the case then they never would have become involved in the first place. This really is a case where two people are thrown into a situation they have no control over and they survive it the only way they can...they just happen to fall in love along the way. I also feel the need to point out that T.J. is more than a year over the age of consent before the relationship progresses past the friend stage to something more physical. I think that there are cases where you just don't get to choose who you love and while others may think that it's wrong it's just the way it is. This is one of those cases and honestly T.J. is incredibly mature for his age. I think that while some of it may be due to the circumstances they faced on the island a lot of it can be attributed to the fact the he survived cancer at such a young age. He knows that life is precious and can be short so if you know what you want you should be happy no matter what others think.
I loved this book and it's another one of those that I will read again so I will probably end up buying it in print so I can have it up there on my shelf with all my other favorites! If you have already read this book I would love to hear what you thought of it.