Book Review: On the Beach by Tracey Garvis-Graves


Title: On the Island
Author: Tracey Garvis Graves
Published: 2012
Genre: Adult Contemporary

Synopsis: 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. 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.

My Rating: Red-StarRed-Star

This book is Castaway meets Blue Lagoon but really it centers around the idea of a reverse May-December romance. The idea is great, I salivated over the idea. I was dying to finish my book to pick this up because I am a sucker for survival stranded romance stories. However, On the Island, left me truly unsatisfied and very emotionally disconnected.

First the good – because there is good. Tracey Garvis Graves does a really good job of realistically telling us about the dangers of an island, the malnutrition that can happen when you lack certain nutrients and how fine the line is between life and death. That’s all there. However, at least for me, that was not enough to carry this novel.

The first problem that I had with this novel was that these 2 characters are stuck on an island for 3 years and during that time those deep meaningful conversations that would happen between 2 people in such a circumstance are not there. Like why did they fall in love despite the fact that both are very attractive – as the story goes back and forth from perspective I could not tell the difference in narrative because their personalities were so bland and lacking in individuality.

The author also did not take advantage in giving a well rounded personality to many of her supporting cast. They are rescued from the island literally halfway through the book and despite Anna’s sister Sarah being featured prominently in the story I had no idea what Sarah was like other than she missed her sister. There is zero and I mean zero personality in the supporting characters. None. In that same thread because Anna doesn’t give us rich stories of her childhood with her Mom and Dad when you find out they died I had no connection to their death which I thought was a waste of potential. There were a lot of missed points.

T.J. was the embodiment of the perfect guy – he had zero faults. He’s patient and steady and everything Anna wants him to be which is annoying at best and completely unrealistic for a guy of 20. Then I felt as if the end of the book dragged on for so many pages. By the end of the novel I was dying for it to finish, literally making myself read it so I would not D-N-F it.

This book left me desperately wanting to pick up another castaway romance novel which is actually well-written, engaging and involved. Skip it.


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