BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

Welcome to my stop for the On The Island Event, with Tracey Garvis Graves and Penguin Publishing.

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.


On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

The year is 2001, and thirty year old Anna Emerson has taken a job as a summer tutor to sixteen year old TJ Callahan, who is in remission from cancer. On their way to the tropical island where the Callahans’ summer home lies, their small seaplane crashes and they are washed ashore onto a remote, uninhabited island.

As it becomes clear that the two will not be rescued anytime soon, TJ and Anna try to make a safe haven on the island, and basically just survive. As time passes, TJ grows from a boy into a man Anna can’t help but notice. How can they deal with how they are feeling while they are on the island?

This was a pretty quick read for me. The story was compelling and I wanted to finish it in one sitting, but I did need sleep 🙂

So, of course the first thing I thought about this book was how I could not begin to IMAGINE being marooned on an island and fighting to stay alive like Anna and TJ did for so long. We all like to think that we would be able to do the same when facing this type of situation, but I’m not sure I would be able to. They were BEYOND lucky that some of their stuff washed up on the shore, let me just say that. I’ve watched real-life survival shows where people have had to make do with a lot less.

Anna is likable enough–at the beginning, a 30 year old teacher whose boyfriend of several years cannot settle down, when that’s all she wants. On the island she is quite emotional and cries a lot, though I have no idea if that’s what she was like before.

TJ is more stoic and it helps that at such a young age he has already had to fight to live. It’s gotta be unimaginably ironic that he beat cancer only to end up on an island with no chance of rescue, but TJ hardly ever lets his distress show. He does what needs to be done, and in some ways is more mature than Anna, despite the age difference.
It turns out that they are just what the other needed.

Events that transpired in the book were somewhat predictable–I had a feeling of how it would end. To me, there was a lack of a central conflict that made me take a star from the rating.

This book, at its’ core, is about how you can’t just get through life with only the basics for survival. You also need someone to help you get through it. And yes, that person will grow and change–we all do. But love can thrive under any circumstance.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Tracey Garvis Graves lives in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, two children, and hyper dog Chloe. This is her first novel.  She loves hearing from her fans, and can be found at on Twitter @tgarvisgraves and at


Thank you for participating in the ON THE ISLAND Event! This week in addition to reviews and posts, select blogs are hosting a word from the author’s favorite quotes in the book as a Scavenger Hunt! There is one quote from Anna and one from T.J. Visit each stop this week to find the hidden words (they will be numbered for order) and after July 22nd, submit your answer to the quotes here! Random winners for books and swag will be chosen and notified by July 29th.

Also, next week July 23-27, there will be even more events and chances to win the book and swag!

  • Monday, July 23 at 8:00 pm CST – Chat with the author Tracey Garvis Graves! We will be chatting with the author on Savor Chat: Come join us! (You can sign in with twitter or facebook)
  • Each day look at #ontheisland on twitter for random shout outs to win books and swag! @Tale_of_Reviews
  • ON THE ISLAND releases in bookstores Tuesday, July 17th! If you see the book in stores or ‘in the wild’ take a picture. Please tweet it and use hashtag #ontheisland. Or you can post it to facebook! Please submit twitter and facebook links of your post/tweet here!

 Ten (10) signed print copies will be given away by Plume Books through this giveaway.


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A Tale of Many Reviews

About Carrie

A SAHM who loves her life :)

Posted on July 19, 2012, in book tour, books, challenge, free, Giveaway, Goodreads challenge, reading, review. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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