Originally posted at my blog Chasing Empty Pavements
This review is long overdue, but since I read and reread this novel, I felt I had a better sense of how to review this novel now. OH MY GOD. This is kind of how I felt about this novel. It's hard to put into words how much I loved this novel (I happen to LOVE the author as well though). This is not only the great kind of writing every author should aspire to write, but this is kind of top notch writing that self-published authors should be inspired by. This was, if anyone didn't already know, a self-pubbed novel before the agents/publishers picked it up. I'm a very hard to please a book reviewer and I can honestly say that I can't find anything wrong with this novel.
I'll start with the writing. This was hands-down great writing. There's no denying that Garvis Graves is a talented writer. It's the kind of writing that is well crafted, easy to read with some really beautiful sentences but it's not over flowery. The descriptions were amazing. Everything was so well depicted. I felt everything the characters were feeling, and I felt like I was on the same island as they were. I felt the sand beneath my feet and envisioned the turquoise water lapping at the edge of the beach. The pace of this novel was incredible, I COULDN'T. STOP. READING. I literally could not put this novel down until I was finished with it. It was THAT good. I knew a little bit about the novel before I started it and I knew I loved the premise of two people stranded on an island just trying to survive. Going into the novel, I immediately wanted to know more. What happend to these people? How they survive, IF they even survive? Do they get off the island? Then when I started to learn about Anna and T.J., I wanted to know everything about them. I absolutely fell in love with them, too. By the end of the novel, I felt an incredible sadness come over me because my time with Anna and T.J. was over. The thing I was really worried about was how believable the plane crash, the survival on the island and the relationship would appear in the novel and I have to say that I'm truly impressed. Everything was done SO well. When the plane crash happened, not only was it believable, but it made me a little nervous because, hello, IT COULD ACTUALLY HAPPEN! That's scary as hell. What Anna and T.J. go through on the island is crazy, insane but totally believable. I was really nervous that Anna and T.J. would have it easy on the island but that is so not the case. They both go through so much that by the end of the novel, it's a wonder they're as sane as they are. Now the big controversy of this novel is the relationship between Anna and T.J. and I have to say...I'm not sure why people are freaking out. I thought A. It was completely appropriate. He was not underage when they began their relationship nor did she pursue him when he was underage. She may have been an "authority" figure in a normal, everyday situation but being stranded on an island where survival comes first is a completely different story. The minute that survival becomes their number one priority is the minute Anna is no longer considered his "elder." But I think the most important thing to consider here is that she never ever took "advantage" of him, she never made him feel like he had to begin a relationship with him and in fact, she was hesitant to begin one with him. At the time that their relationship begins they are both consensual adults. And more so, Anna was the type of character that if he didn't want to be "intimate" she wouldn't have pushed. B. The romance between Anna and T.J. was believable, incredible and it felt so natural. It would be extremely difficult for two people in their situation NOT to develop feelings for each other and I think this novel is another great example as to why age is just a number at times. I go back to the book Time Travelers Wife where there are some very risky parts where the relationship between Henry and Clare could be looked at negatively...yet there was no scandal with that book? No one gave two shits. So why the controversy with this one? I'm not sure. Speaking of the romance and intimate parts. HOLY COW. HOT HOT HOT. I loved the way she wrote it. The build up, the tension, everything. It was smoldering. I loved the last half of the novel. Loved it. I thought Garvis Graves did an amazing job handling what happens after the island and Anna and T.J.'s relationship.
Nothing!! I thought this was one of the most fantastic books I've read in a long time.
If you haven't already gathered that I loved this novel, than you're just silly. This book was FANTASTIC. You should drop what you're doing and read it. Right now. No, not later. RIGHT NOW. Do it. I promise you will enjoy it.
**I received this book free from the publisher through www.netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.