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.
What a fantastic book! Absolutely adored this. It was so unlike anything else I’ve read.
You’re thrown right into the deep end with this story as soon as you start it. I was hooked from the very beginning. I couldn’t imagine how this was going to work and I had my reservations. I thought the age gap and the whole student/teacher thing was going to be a bit wrong… but it more than just worked, I loved every second of it and it’s definitely a new all-time favourite.
I preferred the first half of the book, but that’s not to say I didn’t love the second half too, the whole thing was just perfect.
The characters are both fantastic. They are loveable, realistic and the way their relationship develops is simply beautiful. T.J. grows from a boy to a man as you read, almost without you realising it, which makes it all the more honest. And when they eventually do get together, it’s incredibly emotional and natural.
“You weren’t supposed to fall in love,”
“Well, I did, I’ve been in love with you for months. I’m telling you now because I think you love me too, Anna. You just don’t think you’re supposed to. You’ll tell me when you’re ready. I can wait. Happy birthday.”
Loved the alternate POV’s. I liked how there were clear differences between each. T.J.’s POV was written from the point of a young boy and Anna’s is written as a woman… so often you find alternate POV’s written in the same style with no real distinction between characters language and thought process.
I waited for her to swallow and then I lost my shit completely.
I grabbed her face with both hands, and I kissed her, hard. She opened her mouth and I slipped my tongue inside. I could have kissed her for days, and if she told me to stop I wasn’t sure I’d be able to.
I really can’t fault the book. It was fabulously written, emotional and completely stunning. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
“I never wanted anyone else, T.J. I just wanted what was best for you.”
“You are what’s best for me, I’m not going anywhere, Anna. This is right where I want to be.”
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