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