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 never thought a May-December love affair could be this fun and romantic! What the heck?! I absolutely loved this book! I couldn’t even put it down.
The story was a bit cliche but it has its twists. I was doubtful at first. I’ve put this book on hold for too long and it felt so amazing when I finally finished reading it. I actually had a big smile on my face when I was done. It was like bringing the good old memories back. That was how I felt. It’d made you feel giddy, then it’ll make you laugh, but there were also moments when you just want to cry with the characters. It’s one of those books you’d want to place on your favorites book shelf.
The story was told in an alternating point of view between Anna Emerson and TJ Callahan, which made it all the more fascinating (This coming from a reader who despise romance stories which involves an older woman and a younger man. I clearly stay away from this type of books but judging from the wonderful reviews made on this book, I decided to give it a try. And oh well, after reading it, I was in a total cloud nine!)
ANNA. Before agreeing to be TJ’s tutor, she was having a problem with her long time boyfriend of seven years. Her boyfriend is afraid to commit and she was afraid that time is running out for her to conceive. So she accepted the job offer by the Callahan’s to have the space and time to think her about her life. She’s already 30 years old and she badly wanted a family of her own. I loved because she’s an easy person – meaning, people don’t feel inferior talking to her. She’s easy to talk to.
TJ. He is a seventeen year old teenager who is on a vacation after being on a 3-month remission from Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His mother decided to have a whole summer vacation and hired a tutor so he can catch up on his studies.
ON THE ISLAND. Their pilot had a cardiac arrest and was forced to crash-land their airplane. Unfortunately he died and Anna and TJ survived. At the early months of their stay in the island, they were full of hope that some helicopter or airplane might pass them by and rescue them but as months went on they were forced to accept the fact that they may not get out of the island alive. Months turned to year and they’re still on the island.
They began to adapt to their environment. They lived by eating breadfruit, coconut, fish, chicken, and some crabs. They relied on the rain for water to drink. With TJ developing into a grown man with strong sexual hormones, the attraction between him and Anna began to intensify. With just them in the island, it’s difficult to not develop feelings for each other. One year lead to two years then to three. They really believed that they’ll be trapped forever in the island. Their body began to weaken but they still fought it through. Until a natural calamity forced them out of the island which led to their rescue.
I know there are moral dilemmas involved but I didn’t find it gross. I found it romantic. This book is an exception to my reading rule because I hated it when a woman is older than a man. I just love this book! I love how Anna gave TJ his choices and his chance to reclaim some of his teenage years which were robbed from him. I loved how TJ proved and showed that he’ll love Anna no matter what and I love the Epilogue. I’m a sucker for a happily-ever-after. I love how their relationship matured. It’s a perfect romance read.
There is something that kept on bothering me while I was reading this. Do coconut and breadfruit trees bear fruits all year round? Well, just curious. 😀
I recommend it to anyone out there who loves romantic stories. You’ll definitely love this. It’s a keeper! I’m excited to see this on the big screen.
I woke up with a hard on. I usually did, and it went like I had any control over it. Now that we weren’t almost dead, my body must have decided all systems were a go. Sleeping so close to a girl, especially one that looked like Anna, pretty much guaranteed I’d wake up with a boner.
TJ: You were right. I did need to be on my own. But some of the things you wanted me to experience already passed me by, and I can’t go back. I know what I want and it’s you, Anna. I love you, and I miss you so much.
Anna: I don’t fit in your world.
TJ: Neither do I. So let’s make our own. We’ve done it before.