Friday, February 1, 2013

On the Beach by Tracey Garvis Graves

            This was a pretty good book. It was also self published. You have to have great confidence in yourself to do that. Ms. Graves' confidence is well placed.

            This story is about a teacher, Anna, who is hired to tutor a teenage boy, TJ. TJ is recovering from cancer and missed a lot of school the previous year. Anna's job is to accompany TJ and his family to their vacation home in The Maldives and tutor the boy over the summer so he can rejoin his class in school in the fall.

            Anna's school lets out a little later than TJ's, so she is planning to arrive separately. At the last minute, TJ's parents allow him to stay home an extra couple of days for a social function, so he and Anna will be heading to the Maldives together.

            It is a very long journey with multiple flights, layovers, delays and every other annoyance associated with modern air travel. Some thirty hours after leaving Chicago, Anna and TJ arrive for their final hop to the island where his family is staying only to find their plane has been overbooked and they are looking at spending the night at another airport. Anna appeals to the woman behind the counter who takes pity on them and finds a pilot that is prepared to take a couple of passengers to their final destination.

            While flying over the multitude of islands that make up the Maldives, the pilot has a heart attack. The plane crashes, and Anna and TJ wash up on a deserted island.

            The next three and a half years are spent alone on the island. Anna and TJ learn to survive and come to trust each other completely to do so. At some point, a tsunami occurs, washing them off their island, and they are plucked out of the ocean during the large scale rescue mission along the chain of islands.

            They return to the US amid swarms of reporters, and slowly rejoin their families and their lives. They start out sharing an apartment, but Anna believes TJ should experience some of the teenage/young adult things he missed while marooned. He does not want this. He wants to spend his life with Anna, thirteen years his senior. They argue and part ways.

            TJ does as Anna requests, gets hid GED, spends some time in college, lives with his best friend from "before". But he does not change his mind about Anna. Eventually, he returns to her. They apparently live happily after.

            I enjoyed this book. The action moves right along. I felt the fear and anger and despair and joy. I'm very glad Ms Garvis Graves believed in herself and her story enough to bring it to fruition.

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