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 am sorry but I can not get past the whole teacher/student thing. Or even the adult/teenager thing. I don’t think such relationships should ever become sexual and that they are fundamentally wrong. Yes, I would have probably bulked at him being 20 and her being 34 if they had started out those ages but they didn’t and I can’t get past the idea that he was 16 years old when she became is tutor. Plus she is an adult and he is a teenage boy when this starts.
People can control themselves, damn it. Being on a secluded island is no excuse and does not make it excusable. Waiting until the child becomes 18 doesn’t make it excusable either – she was hired as an adult to tutor a young man having difficulty in school…period.
This book could have been so good if it weren’t for that. I can say, as a parent of a wonderful young man, that if a teacher – ANY teacher – had shown a sexual interest in my son I would have had her heart on a stake.
I can’t recommend this book – I know I sound prudish and narrow-minded but it bothers me too much. It would have bothered me enough with their age difference but to make her his tutor (she is a teacher tutoring him for the summer) ruined it for me.