On the Island: A Novel

On the Island - Tracey Garvis-Graves Anna Emerson, a 30-year old English teacher, accepts an offer to tutor almost 17-year old T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives. He missed a lot of school because he was treated for cancer and is now in remission. T.J. stayed back to fly with Anna to join his family who left earlier. Unfortunately, their plane crashes in the Indian Ocean at least an hour away from their destination. Anna and T.J. make it to one of the many uninhabited islands in the region and try to survive while waiting for rescue.I, like many others, was concerned about a romance between a teacher and her student and the potential for inappropriateness. Fortunately, this isn't that kind of story. It's one of character, resilience, respect and caring. T.J. was already more mature than he should have been because of what he went through to survive cancer. It was heartwarming to watch him be the one to emerge as the stronger, more optimistic of the two as their chances for rescue seemed bleak with each passing day. The romance that eventually develops is one that made sense and couldn't have been more appropriate.This also isn't a romanticized story of life on an island. The harshness, hazards and realities of living without lots of the many things we take for granted on a daily basis are illustrated pretty starkly. I felt as if I was on that island, experiencing what the characters were feeling and going through, which is a tribute to the storytelling.I loved this book, with its emotional ups and downs. You come to love both T.J. and Anna and what they created. A lovely story.