Book review

On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves book review

On the Island (On the Island, #1)On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

My rating: 3 of 5 stars ★★★
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Source: Library

Anna Emerson is 30 years old. She’s an English teacher and in a stagnant relationship. When she’s offered a job as a private tutor for the summer for a rich family, she accepts. Her student will be 16-year-old T.J., who isn’t happy to be spending his first healthy summer with his family on a far-away tropical island. Unfortunately, Anna and T.J.’s seaplane crash-lands in the ocean on the way.

The current pushes them in the course of a uninhabited island. They must find the basic necessities that we take for granted in our daily lives: water, food, shelter. They battle storms, injuries, animals, and the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could come back. Neither are prepared for the danger that is now a part of their everyday lives.

So you’ve probably wondered something while reading the above summary: “So the kid is 16 years old, the woman is 30 years old, and this is in the ‘Romance’ genre???”

Believe me, I wondered the same thing. So for the sake of lessening the creep-factor, let me tell you something that some people might think is a spoiler, but I think is necessary information: They are on the island for a long. time. He gets older. So that’s good news.


The extent of what I know about wilderness survival comes from the “Survivorman” episode of “The Office.”

When Anna and T.J. first arrive on the island, they have about as much knowledge about survival as I do. Do I believe I possess the skills to survive a hostile environment? Let me put it this way: No. I do not. (Reference to “The Office,” btw.)

Their survival teeters on a knife’s edge. Each new challenge they faced kept me turning the pages, anxious to know how they would get through it.

I’ve never found a book that so perfectly falls into the “Beach Reads” category. Not because it’s set on a beach, though. It’s light, but interesting. This book demands nothing from its reader. It’s not difficult to read, first of all, but it’s also not distressing to read. I could put down the book and pick it back up later, and still remember what was going on and still care. Which is different. I’ve never had quite the same reaction to a book as I had with this one.

One complaint, though: The narration switches between Anna and T.J. with each chapter. I enjoyed Anna’s chapters, but was put off by T.J.’s, especially when he was a young teenager. I felt like his voice was what a teenage boy is “supposed” to sound like. He is a “typical”, sex-crazed teenager. (I am well aware that teenagers can be sex-crazed, but still.) There wasn’t much depth to him, even once he got older. I was sad about this too.

So if you’re looking for a romance novel to accidentally drop on your face when you fall asleep while reading on the beach, choose this one. 🙂

And by the way, if contemporary romance is a genre you typically enjoy, don’t let my 3-star rating scare you off. This wasn’t really a “Rachel” book, but you will probably love it.


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10 thoughts on “On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves book review

  1. I have to say, knowing he gets older definitely makes it less creepy for sure! It’s kind of sad that it was such an easy read- you’d think with topics like survival and recurring cancer and such, it’d have a bit more substance. But at least it was mildly good, I suppose! Great review 🙂


    1. Yeah, I was honestly surprised by my interest, but emotional indifference, towards the scary things they go through. I mean, I KNOW the things they go through were hard for them. But I wasn’t really worried? I can’t explain it. haha. And thanks! 😀


  2. But… if TJ gets older, doesn’t Anna too??? AGH THIS IS WEIRD. At least Anna could be like… 22. 😂 And ugh yes, teenagers can be the “stereotypical teenager”… but that’s not always the case! And I think people think about at least ONE other thing than sex. Like… sports. 😂 I’m glad this one was an easy read, and great review! 😊


    1. haha, yes, Anna is 13 years older than T.J. #weird

      I know plenty of people that have large age differences in their marriages, but they got married when they were much older so it’s not as noticeable? But an 18-ish year old with a 32 year old… Ehh. Anna and T.J.’s age difference plays a huge part in this book and it definitely made me squirm sometimes. But like I said at the end, I’m sure there are plenty of readers who wouldn’t mind the age difference/romance thing. It just wasn’t for me!

      And thanks! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I read this one several years ago and really loved it.For whatever reason, it was just one of those books that “clicked” with me. I was totally invested in Anna and TJ’s story, both on the island, and afterwards. I was able to meet Tracey when she was touring for the book that released after this one and it was great to hear her talk about writing OTI and the research she did.
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books


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