When 30-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 17 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.
©2011 Tracey Garvis-Graves (P)2012 Tracey Garvis-Graves
I am a book junkie...I read and enjoy a variety of stories, so please don't "define me" by one book or review! :)
Actual rating 3.75 - 3.8 (for the book overall, not including narration). I enjoyed this book and place my vote firmly in the camp of fans of this story. The best part about the story is the characters. Ms. Graves writes a story that draws you in, and characters you care about. The characters TJ and Anna are compelling enough to overcome a little bit of weakness in the writing, which could benefit from a little more polish and depth. However, I think the author did a good job with the overall pace and arc of the story. It played out in what seemed like a "realistic" manner if this type of thing were to happen to someone (two people) in real life. The passage of time and the points at which the author goes ahead and jumps ahead in the story were well done, in my opinion. After all, if anyone was in this situation most likely many, many days would play out exactly the same and, when made into a story, there is no need for the reader to literally "witness" each one.
I do not have a problem with the age difference. TJ is old enough to make his choices when they begin a relationship. Quite frankly I think it is rediculous for people to be offended by an age difference in a love story, and talk as if all couples should be no more than three-to-five years apart in age. Also, Anna was never his teacher. She was just hired to tutor him, and that never happened as planned. I think TJ and Anna are respectful and respectable as people and I did not think the story was distasteful at all.
Finally, I must mention that this book was not served well by the narration. The narrator spoke a little too fast, and is not skilled in doing male voices. She did not distinguish well enough between the characters, performing TJ and Anna in pretty much the same tone throughout most of the book. Though I did listen to the entire book, and it was not "bad" enough to keep me from doing so. I would recommend this for fans of a-typical romance or love stories. If you are more particular about excellent narration than I am in some cases, you may want to read this one instead.
I enjoyed the book, although I thought there were a few too many convenient coincidences. My main complaint was the narrator. She reads well, but fails to differentiate between the voices, so they all sound the same. For a while I wondered who the third person was on the island. Without any distinction it's difficult to remember who's talking at any given time. Still, I gave it four stars for the enjoyable story.
I have always loved to read. As a child my mom actually grounded me from books if I was in trouble. Noone can do that now. Yay!
I bought it on sale based upon the great reviews, but I was disappointed with this purchase. In fact, I may ask for my money back on this one. The plot holds no surprises, the ending is never a mystery, the characters are likable but simple, and the narration is poor with no delineation between the characters.
Not once was there a surprise in the story. Well, actually I was surprised by how often the author jumped past huge chunks of time. The time sped by without any real analysis of the meat of the story -- life on the island.
It was impossible to delineate the voices. Every character had the same sound ... pacing, tone, accent, everything was exactly the same for every character including the two leads.
No. The narrator talked so fast that it was making me anxious. I downloaded this on my ipod and had to slow down the audio to 1/2x. I loved the story though.
Anna and TJ's life on the island.
Well Sara Drew is my favorite narrator so I would take her in anything.
I had read this book and loved it so much I wanted to have the audio version, too.
I have listened to hundreds of audiobooks over the past 20 years, and this is without a doubt the worse narrated book I've ever listened to. The narrator reads it like it's a race ("Let's see how fast I can read this book!") with nary a breath between sentences, let alone paragraphs and chapters. If I didn't know the story, I'd have stopped listening about 5 minutes in. The intonation is inappropriate most of the time, too. This is a pretty somber story, but the narrator reads the words like she's channeling Wally from Leave it to Beaver (way to cheesy-earnest, when it should be subdued). Don't audio books have directors? If so, this one was sleeping on the job.
For any of you who haven't read the book, and the audio version is your first exposure to the story--don't give up! But, if you can't suffer through the audio version, get the book or ebook.
Yeah it was an interesting tale of survival. It made me a realize how helpless I would would be in a survival situation.
She did a really good job with all the characters!
I don't want to spoil anything. But it was moving... I think I cried.
This is not great literature, but the story line was well thought out and the author tied up all loose ends. As a Romance novel, it was entertaining, though a little tedious, and without much lasting value. Overall, the book seemed like a sophomore effort. I would not read this book over again, nor recommend it to a friend as a "must read." Still, it flowed well and shows talent, despite it's overly simple story line. The book covers the " lost together on a deserted island" theme, as well as can be expected. Sort of a "Fantasy island with survival hardships." Younger man falls for the older and experienced woman. Bottom line: It passed the time, but didn't stir the soul.
My most lasting impression was that the performer had an obnoxious voice and weird affect. I was glad when I finally finished the audio book and I could stop hearing her speak. I was happier still that I got the audiobook on a special sale. It's worth $4.99, but not more.
She is a good writer, but needs a deeper story line...I'd read her work again. She has the ability to write a great book.
Definitely could have been better.
OMG!!!!!! This was an amazing story. I totally forgot I had responsibilities until I was finished with this book. Wow, just wow!
I'd read the book and loved it so when I saw the audio version I had to have it. I can barely force myself to listen. The narrator sounds so chipper and ditzy even in the very difficult circumstances they encounter struggling to survive on the island... ruining the story. I kept feeling like I was listening to a commercial where the voice tries to pack umph into every word to sell a product... so not appropriate for a book. She also made no effort to sound different when she's being Anna or TJ (the main characters) making it really difficult to tell them apart. In addition she reads way too fast. And that's all she does is read it straight with no nuance or feeling for the emotion or sentiments being expressed. Narration either makes or breaks an audiobook. Unfortunately Heidi Baker's narration breaks this wonderful sweet romance. If I could give the narration 0 stars I would. Because of the awful narration I have to give it an overall 3 stars but the story is just amazing... do yourself a favor skip the audio and get the kindle or paperback.
Loving all things that go bump in the night
The story. It's a beautiful story of survival - both on the island and off - and of the lengths people will go to for the ones they love, even it if that means letting go.
Impossible. I love Anna and TJ equally.
I only need two: Too fast.
I'd take 'em both out...just to be super creepy and watch them being happy together.
Heidi did an all right job with the reading, but she needed to seriously slow down. There was little to no pause between description and dialogue and I started getting the feeling I was late for something because she was rushing through telling me the story. It was also really difficult deciphering if we were in TJ's voice or Anna's. I think the audiobook would have benefited from dual readers - one for TJ and one for Anna.
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