Customer Reviews


314 Reviews
5 star:
 (211)
4 star:
 (70)
3 star:
 (23)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (5)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my Desert Island reads!
Although I am quite a prolific reader, I have to confess to sticking to what I know in my reading material. I rarely go away from the women's fiction/chick lit genre, so it has to be something really good to entice me away from my known and trusted books. I received a review copy of Tracey Garvis Graves' debut novel On the Island a few weeks ago, but quite quickly...
Published on 17 July 2012 by Chloe S "Chick Lit Chloe"

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Simplicity...
A simple story, simply told. A sixteen-year-old boy recovering from cancer, a thirty year-old woman hired as his summer tutor, the pair of them surviving on a deserted Maldivian island after their seaplane crashes. So we all know what's going to happen - and it does. Short, first-person chapters alternate to chart the timeline and the increasing bond - and affection -...
Published on 21 Aug. 2012 by Boot-Boy


‹ Previous | 1 232 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my Desert Island reads!, 17 July 2012
By 
Chloe S "Chick Lit Chloe" (Berkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: On The Island (Kindle Edition)
Although I am quite a prolific reader, I have to confess to sticking to what I know in my reading material. I rarely go away from the women's fiction/chick lit genre, so it has to be something really good to entice me away from my known and trusted books. I received a review copy of Tracey Garvis Graves' debut novel On the Island a few weeks ago, but quite quickly dismissed it as it didn't seem like something that would interest me hugely. Then I saw a few tweets about it, and then decided to look it up on Goodreads. Well, that instantly changed my mind as there were so many reviews raving about it. I did wonder if it was another Fifty Shades of Grey... you'd love it or hate, but decided to try it nonetheless. Was it any good? Well put it this way - I read it in just 6 hours and was up until 3am doing so.

The book quickly dives into the action, and I loved that. It begins introducing us to high school teacher Anna, who has just accepted a summer tutoring a teen who is in remission from cancer on holiday with his family. The pair are flying out separately from their hometown, and when they arrive near their destination, they hop on another plane which has an awful accident. The pair ended up crash landed on a desert island in the middle of nowhere, with no hope of being found. The pair are frightened, and start to learn how to survive on the island, learning how to find food, shelter, and cope with being the only people in each others lives for the forseeable future. As the months turn into years, the pair grow closer, and have adjusted to their lives as survivors against the odds. But do the pair stand a hope of ever being found?

As I said, the book quickly gets to the part of the plane crash and Anna and TJ's subsequent stranding on the island. The way Garvis Graves writes the scene is extremely realistic, and has you on the edge of your seat, wondering who is going to survive if at all. It's frightening to read, probably not one to read if you're afraid of flying already but I enjoyed the scene. The book is then with these characters stranded, and what I found was so amazing about this book is how beautifully Garvis Graves writes the emotions of these characters, and how realistic it all sounds, and it consequently made me feel so sorry for Anna and TJ. Their fear, worry, solitude and loneliness are profound throughout the story, and even when they seem to have settled into their new lives, and are quite accepting (in a way) of what has happened, you can still feel their grief at their circumstances.

The book is told with alternating chapters, with Anna as a narrator, followed by TJ. This worked so well because it allowed to really understand the feelings of both of these characters completely, and really get into their heads and states of mind. Garvis Graves also writes their different ages and personalities too, from the older, more mature Anna who has concerns about her career, her family and TJ's health, to TJ, a younger teenage boy who comes with all the feelings being a teenage boy en-tales! The relationship between the pair is so well written, with Anna being the more cautious and hesitant of the pair, with TJ stepping up to the plate of being the only male around. I found myself loving him for wanting to help and support Anna even though he is in the same cuircumstances as her, and loving Anna for just being herself. Despite the considerable age difference between the pair (Anna is in her early 30's, and TJ is mid-late teens), they bond quickly, and the friendship and relationship between them seems so natural and is a joy to read about - in fact, their ages work to their advantage several times in the book - Anna's for wisdom and maturity in times of danger, and TJ's for his youth and optimism.

Their stay on the island is so well imagined by Garvis Graves, that for the time you are reading the book, you are the third inhabitant of that island along with them. Everything, from the way they hunt fish, to the medical problems, dire weather situations and exploring the island is perfectly written, and jumps out to you from the page. I loved the realism Gravis Graves used, and the language allows you to really imagine so brightly in your mind. I felt emotional along with these characters, everything they felt, I felt too and it allowed me to get so into the book, I could enjoy it even more. I am not going to spoil it by going into any plot detail, but I loved it more as it went along, and the twists and turns along the way just kept me glued. It got better and better, and even when it was way past my bedtime, I couldn't put it down as I had to find if there would be a happy ending for Anna and TJ. This is one of those books you'll be thinking about long after you put it down every evening, and I will be recommending it to everyone I know. It's emotional, you'll feel everything from fear, shock, love and relief, but it's worth every bit of it. A stunning debut - if you read one book this year, make it this.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect book for a little summer escapism, 19 Sept. 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: On The Island (Paperback)
I actually thought 'On the Island' was a young adult book when I ordered it, but it definitely isn't! Anna is a thirty year-old teacher accompanying her new student, seventeen year-old cancer survivor T.J., to his parents' holiday house in the Maldives for some summer tutoring. As it happens, books are going to be the least of their worries, as their plane crashes between Malé and their final destination, leaving them marooned on one of the many uninhabited islands dotted across the vast sweep of the Maldives.

About two thirds of the novel consists of the trials and tribulations of desert island life for T.J. and Anna, and I was thoroughly absorbed in their daily experiences. Watching these two all-modern individuals learning the skills they needed to survive was fascinating, and made me wonder how I would have coped in their shoes. The intense microcosm of island life neatly paved the way for the romantic element of the book. Some readers might wonder about the appropriateness of a relationship between a student and a teacher, but actually, in this unprecedented situation it's hard to imagine how a bond WOULDN'T form between T.J. and Anna. As the weeks turns to months and then to years, their boundaries inevitably start to crumble, they get closer with every shared difficulty and joy, and as T.J. becomes a grown man it might be considered odd if their relationship didn't become more complicated at some point. I was definitely rooting for them, as mutual tenderness and respect, growing love and a unique shared experience cemented them together into an inseparable couple.

What I deeply appreciated about this book was the fact that Graves doesn't resort to a cliched 'And then a plane flew over and we waved and got picked up' way of ending her characters' island stay. Instead she cleverly ties it in with real-life events and orchestrates a far more gritty and interesting escape. The last part of the book follows Anna and T.J. back to 'real life' - something usually missing from stories like this - and explores how they adjust to being back in America with their families around them, modern conveniences at every turn, and the press desperate to hear their story and dissect the propriety of their relationship. This section wasn't quite as gripping or immersive, but it rounded off the novel in a far more satisfying and realistic way than if it had simply ended at the moment they got off the island.

I only really had a couple of little niggles while I was reading. One was that the dialogue was slightly clunky at times, particularly because of the frequent overuse of names. My other tiny gripe was with the occasional over-idyllic moments, like the dolphins that come to play in the lagoon and befriend T.J. and Anna. Not that this is completely out of the question, of course - but it did smack a bit of a child's fantasy desert island at times! Other than that, however, I found this to be a stellar bit of storytelling and a great read for a dose of holiday escapism. I was genuinely caught up in T.J. and Anna's fight for survival and their budding romance, and their isolation meant that every moment of happiness, sadness or fear cut that much more deeply, both for them and for the reader. I teared up a few times, and smiled along with them in others. This will definitely be a keeper for me - in fact, reading it outside on a hot sunny day might have to become a new summer tradition!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Give it a go!, 26 July 2012
By 
Jess Hearts Books (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: On The Island (Kindle Edition)
I have to admit that when this book came through my letterbox I hadn't heard of it before and wasn't sure if it was going to be my cup of tea. On the proof copy it talks about the book being hugely successful in the US with 5 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and film rights already sold so I decided to look online at some reviews and the hype that I found for this book overseas was staggering and convinced me that I needed to give this book a go.

I started reading On the Island that very same day and within only a few short chapters I could see what all the fuss was about. This book was totally gripping, I found myself reading late into the night, and was fitting in a few more pages whenever I could. I'm a sucker for a good love story and this book delivered that in a unique and original way.

The circumstances behind the book forces two people together who under normal circumstances most likely would never have gotten together. But life on a deserted island creates a situation like no other that not only brings TJ and Anna together but also creates an unshakeable bond between them. Although at its heart this book is a romance it's also so much more than that. It's a story of survival and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough as I went through the highs and lows of island life with Anna and TJ.

What initially put me off reading this novel was the age different between Anna and TJ and that the book begins with Anna being his teacher. I have to admit that I was worried that their relationship would feel wrong to me and the uninhabited island too farfetched a plot but it was so brilliantly done. Every step of their journey on the island and in their growing relationship felt so natural and right and was so well developed and believable that I quickly fell in love with TJ and Anna and the new home and lives they build together on the island.

On the Island is one of those books that totally transports you to the books setting and so I felt all of the feelings that the characters felt. I would feel desperate when one of them got sick or if it hadn't rained that day and they didn't have enough water. And I'd rejoice with Anna and TJ on days when they'd catch food or when something useful would wash up on the shore. This book was a rollercoaster of emotion and the uncertainty to if they'd ever be rescued or even survive made this book a total page turner.

Ultimately On the Island was an excellent surprise that I'm so glad I gave a chance. If you're looking for a gorgeous romance with all the intensity and uncertainty of a thriller, or are just generally after something a little bit different and gripping for your holidays this summer On the Island comes with a high recommendation from me.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 10 Sept. 2012
By 
This review is from: On The Island (Paperback)
I haven't read a book that I just can't put down for years, until I read this last week, I started it one day and finished it the next. It is easy to read, entertaining and has a 'feel good' factor to it. I gave it to my friend to read one morning at work and when she came in the next day she had read it in one night. She loved it too.

It is very well written, in such a way that you just want to keep going to find out what is going to happen, I loved the characters and descriptions of life on the island and how they coped with various events. It was also very moving at times. Imo there are some parts that are a little unbelievable but there are enough of those serious, sometimes disturbing books around that are just a little too realistic at times and echo things that we see in the papers and on the news every day. I like a bit of escapism sometimes and this is just the book for those occasions. I also think that as readers we should be able to use our imaginations a little too and things don't always have to be completely true to life and do afterall have to be entertaining.

I can't wait for the author's next book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly touching love story, 14 Sept. 2012
This review is from: On The Island (Paperback)
Like a few other readers I was a bit concerned how the story of a 30 something teacher falling for her teenage student would make readers feel but this was told in such a beautiful way you couldnt help but want these 2 people to be together.
I have to say I was a little put off by the cover as I didnt feel it 'matched' the story and if I hadnt have heard great things about this book I would have not picked it up as the cover looked somewhat more a cover of a cheaper more 'trashy celeb lit' novel - but sooo glad I did as this was one of my favourite reads this summer.
Finding themselves on a deserted island after a plane crash Anna and TJ find a way of surviving and the story was told in a way that you actually felt you were there on the island with them and thinking 'I would never have thought of that!' when they find ways of living with limited resources.
I loved the way they slowly fell in love and it was in no way made to feel sordid or uncomfortable, it was beautiful and heartfelt.
LOved this so much and missed it so much when it came to an end, will definitely be buying this authors next book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not another Shades of Grey - thank the lord!, 28 Aug. 2012
By 
DebB (Oxfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: On The Island (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Don't get led into thinking this is a desert island version of Shades of Grey - I was certainly expecting something of that ilk given both the blurb, "Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who, with each passing day, is becoming more of a man.", and that several of the reviews I read before going for this made comparisons.
Well, and sure, sex happens, but in a very gentle and non-explicit way, and in no way is it a major element of the book. This is a book about a relationship that would never normally have developed, following it through the years on the island and back into civilisation, with all the problems that brings.
Very readable, pulls you in straight away, builds a nice tension, and then... read it and see!
This isn't demanding high literature - it's a love story, a believable one for all its unbelievable start, and if you find yourself questioning how likely their survival really was, then you're probably reading the wrong book.
Certainly something I'll read again -
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING AND UNPUTDOWNABLE, 28 Aug. 2012
By 
Mrs. C. Swarfield - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: On The Island (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you only read one book this year make it this one, it is an amazing read -I was on that island,
I really lived that book, I find it hard to believe that this is a first novel, it was wonderful
to read a plot that I haven't read a million times before.

Anna is a thirty year old English teacher who taks on the position of teacher or tutor to a sixteen
year old boy TJ who is in remission from cancer. The job involves accompanying him on a trip abroad
but the plane crashes and they end up stranded on a desert island.

The inital focus of this book is Anna and TJ working together as they struggle to survive, but gradually
it develops into much more.

A fascinating story - I was devasted to finish it and keep finding my mind drifting back which does not
happen often which is why it is so worthy of five stars. Bravo.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cast Away (exchange Tom Hanks and Wilson for T.J. and Anna), 20 Oct. 2012
By 
K. Wright - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: On The Island (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
30-year-old Anna has been hired by the Callaghan's as a tutor for their 16-year old son T.J. who has missed schooling due to Hodgkin's lymphoma. However, when the pilot who is taking them via sea-plane to their destination in the Maldives has a heart-attack, the plane crashes and Anna and T.J. wash up on a deserted island and now their number one concern is survival.

"On The Island," has been compared to the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy in that it is an unexpected love story written in a simple, easy-to-read style but I actually prefer this. Tracey Garvis Graves debut novel is utterly absorbing with short chapters, alternating between Anna and T.J.'s perspectives, so you just have to keep on reading. Literary fiction this is not but it is certainly worth a read and I can easily see how people have devoured it in one sitting. Recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On the Island, 30 Sept. 2012
This review is from: On The Island (Paperback)
A story of survival against all the odds, On the Island, the compulsively readable debut from Tracey Garvis Graves tells the story of Anna Emerson, a thirty year old teacher, and her student, sixteen year old T.J. Callahan. Following a plane crash, Anna and T.J. find themselves stranded on a desert island. They are sure that they will be rescued in a matter of hours, but it doesn't happen. Days, weeks, months and years pass. Every day is a struggle against the elements, against illness, against hunger, thirst and decay. And there are other struggles, struggles of the heart, as Anna and T.J. remain stranded on the island, day after day, year after year, just the two of them. Together. Alone

Anna is at a crossroads in her life. She wants marriage and babies, but the guy she's dedicated herself to, the guy she's spent eight years with, won't commit. He wants Anna, but beyond that, he doesn't know what he wants. So, when Anna is offered a summer tutoring job in the Maldives, she jumps at the chance. This will give her the space she needs to decide where her life is going. And what could be better than a summer in paradise? T.J. Callahan is not so excited at the prospect of a whole summer spent catching up on assignments. He's finally in remission from the Hodgkin's Lymphoma that has so far plagued his life, and all he wants to do is hang out with his friends back home. He wants to let loose, to party, to hook up with hot girls.

We meet Anna and T.J as they embark on their trip to the Maldives, but they never make it that far, crash-landing somewhere in the Indian Ocean when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a heart attack. What follows is a compelling struggle for survival told in dual narrative, the viewpoint switching from Anna to T.J. with each chapter. I found myself reading late into the night as I got to know more about these two people, their hopes and dreams all fading away as they remained stranded on the island. If you think that reading about the daily lives of two people stuck on an uninhabited island sounds like it might be a little repetitive, then you'd be wrong. Anna and T.J encounter so many obstacles - from storms to sharks - in their daily lives. Every day is a struggle. Every day brings with it a new worry, a new threat. And then there is the constant worry that T.J.'s cancer might return. With him Anna can make it. But without him, she doesn't know how she'd survive. And T.J. knows exactly how she feels, because he doesn't know how he'd survive if she went first. As they share their fears with us, we worry for them. We put ourselves in their situation. We wonder about our own survival instincts. Would I make it on the island? Would you?

The subject matter of On the Island might raise a few eyebrows. If you've read the book, you'll know that the relationship between Anna and T.J. is as touching and honest as it is passionate. But if you haven't yet read it, then you're probably thinking that it all sounds a little or maybe a lot taboo. I had read a couple reviews of this book before I read it, so I already knew that the author dealt with the growing attraction and subsequent relationship between Anna and T.J. in a responsible manner, but it's handled with a great deal of it sensitivity too. Anna is a responsible adult, always aware that T.J is younger than her, always mindful of the boundaries between them, and never crossing lines that shouldn't be crossed. T.J. has a quiet thoughtfulness about him. He's more mature than a typical teenage guy.

T.J.'s been through a lot. He's a survivor. He clings to life when it looks like all hope is gone. And he knows what's truly important in life. He knows to never let go when you find the thing that makes you happy. This, he teaches Anna. I loved the characters that Garvis Graves created. I especially loved T.J. Both him and Anna are characters that readers will really warm to. T.J. and Anna were real and honest, true to themselves and to each other.

On the Island is a summer read with substance. It's the perfect beach read, but there's so much more to this book than some typical beach reads. On the Island will make you laugh and cry. It will make you think. This book has a heart. There is a lot of love within its pages, and sometimes, when all the odds are stacked against you, just like with Anna and T.J., all you need is love to get you through.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hugely entertaining read, 15 Aug. 2012
By 
June Doll "June" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: On The Island (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This was a hugely entertaining read and I completely understand why it is being made into a film. It has all the elements that will make a great film - adventure, danger, love and romance - all set on an idyllic uninhabited island in the Maldives. The two central characters are Anna, a thirty year old teacher, who is travelling to the Maldives with a 17 year old boy, TJ. TJ is behind at school due to a serious illness and his parents have employed Anna to tutor him during the summer holidays. They are the only passengers on a seaplane which is taking them for the last leg of their long journey, when the pilot suffers a heart attack and the plane crashes into the sea. Anna and TJ manage to swim to a nearby small island where they find themselves marooned. They assume that a rescue party will come and find them but no-one comes and as days become weeks and weeks become months they start to believe that they will never be rescued. Anna and TJ have a struggle to survive, having to find food and water and to find shelter. At the same time they are faced with many dangers which they have to overcome. Inevitably they become very dependent on each other.

Altogether this is an engrossing read with two central characters who are likeable and with whom the reader will empathise. One minor grumble is that I felt the early chapters failed to fully convey what must have been a truly traumatic experience. To be marooned on an uninhabited island and as the days go by, to realise that you are not going to be rescued, that you might be there forever - this must create feelings of utter despair. However this did not really come across. There was not sufficient insight into the emotions that people would have felt in such circumstances. So a bit more emotion in the early chapters would have added to the qualities of this novel. Nevertheless this is a hugely enjoyable read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 232 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

On The Island
On The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves
£5.26
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews