July 21, 2012

On the Island Tour: Review & Giveaway!

On the Island
Author: Tracey Garvis Graves
Genre: Women's Fiction/ Contemporary
Release Date: July 10, 2012 

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.


I don't normally read women's fiction or contemporary romances, but I'd been hearing a great deal of buzz online about this book. So when Plume and AToMR decided to host a tour for it, I immediately signed up. I am so grateful that I did. 

On the Island is an enchanting book about a teenage boy who is recovering from cancer and his 30 year old tutor. They are on their way to a tropical island for a family summer vacation when their plane crashes into the ocean and they become stranded. The story is of their survival on this desolate island over the next few years and what they must do to continue holding on. It is an amazing story of adventure, survival, and finding one's inner strength - as well as so much more.

The novel is beautifully written with breath-taking descriptions not only of the setting on the island, but of the thoughts, hopes, fears, and emotions of the two main characters. The story is told from alternating points of view - from the vantage points of Anna and T.J. From these alternating viewpoints, the reader is able to see the truest parts of these characters and see them gradually adapt to survival on the island and develop as characters and people over time. It's a wonderful look inside the hearts and minds of these two people and the story that we see there is honest and heartbreaking at times.

I feel that the author did a tremendous job with all aspects of this book. The setting was perfect for the story and the narrative was executed wonderfully and at a good pace. I got so drawn into the story and into the lives of the characters that I ended up reading the book in one sitting over several hours - without stopping. That's when I know I've found an amazing book. The author wrote with such poise and the story was so heartfelt that I found myself in tears at some points, smiling like a crazy person in others, basically screaming "NO!" in others, and overall immersing myself in the story so much I didn't want it to be over. I have to admit that the ending to the story was perfect and I don't think it could've been written better. I highly recommend this book to lovers of fiction in general - it transcends genre preferences and should be read by everyone. It's truly a wonderful novel written by a very gifted writer - and I will be looking forward to reading more of her work in the future.

About the Author:
Tracey Garvis-Graves is the author of On the Island and Covet. She lives in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, two children, and hyper dog Chloe. She blogs at www.traceygarvisgraves.com using colorful language and a snarky sense of humor to write about pop culture, silly television shows, and her suburban neighborhood. You can e-mail her at traceygarvisgraves@yahoo.com. She’d love to hear from you.  (Biography taken from Goodreads.)

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: http://www.savorchat.com/chat/on-the-island-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 released in bookstores Tuesday, July 10th! 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!  All entries need to be submitted by July 29th.