What a beautiful story this was.First, off, I would like to thank my friends who have taken the time to read books like these and recommend them to me. At first glance, I had sort of bypassed the book, not thinking much of it.After seeing that On the Island was gaining buzz on GR for being a sleeper book, I gave it a second look. The cover? Basic; nothing too impressive. The summary? It peaked my interest a little. I had a guilty fascination with movies like The Blue Lagoon and Return to the Blue Lagoon back in the 80's. The idea of being stranded with a hot guy (okay...so the guy in BL was NOT hot, but we're fantasizing here...) on an island, where you get to have him all to yourself - it makes for a good story. I even went so far as to try a couple of books out with this theme, the most recent being [b:Nerd in Shining Armor|342999|Nerd in Shining Armor (Nerds, #1)|Vicki Lewis Thompson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320460964s/342999.jpg|333351]. To say I was underwhelmed would be kind. I knew that I wanted to read about both the good and the bad that came along with being shipwrecked, planewrecked, etc. This means people are going to get sick and injured. Hygiene would not be the greatest. Pina Coladas were not going to drop from the sky. Life is probably going to suck more than anything. Ms. Garvis-Graves did an excellent job of showing how tough life would be when thrown to the elements. I felt like I was right there on the island with Anna and T.J., experiencing the trials alongside them. The author also captivated me with her portrayal of a slow-building relationship, one that came together through mutual respect and understanding. There was nothing to feel squeamish about. After a while, you didn't even notice the almost 14 year age difference between teacher and student. This could possibly come from the slow-build, but I'd more likely accredit the fact to real-life hardships being pushed to the forefront. Survival came first. Then friendship. Then eventually more...way down the road. By the time our pair made it off the island, the only normalcy they knew was the truth in what they were together. It was heartbreaking at times to watch this couple come to terms with their world having changed and moved on, while they stood still in another place and time. I felt like every step of this book was written carefully and sensitively, in such a way that anyone would be able to relate in one form or another. Even if you're not particularly into May/December romances, you might be able to find something real in this particular relationship. Simply put, there is beauty to be found in most everything, if only you would take the time to look for it.This just made me smile :"What's it like being with her? Is it true what they say about older chicks?""She's not that much older.""Uh, okay. So anyway, how is it?""It's incredible.""What's she do?""She does everything, Ben."