On the Island - Tracey Garvis-Graves This doesn't happen often...but I need more stars. Many more. Five doesn't cover it.I'm trying to put my feelings about this book into words and I'm pretty much failing abysmally. I'll admit I probably had the same reservations everyone else does when they read the synopsis. 16 year old kid? Seriously?It didn't take me any time at all to get over that. It just took meeting TJ, meeting Anna, and watching them struggle through their early days on the island, the heartbreak of rescue that just doesn't come. Illness, hunger, dehydration, holidays that come and go. Any reservations I had were wiped away before I'd hit 30% finished and then I was just sucked in like dust into a Dyson.After a few books with some somewhat spotty characterization issues, it was a breath of fresh air to read two that were so brilliantly written. So achingly real. TJ was a guy - a little more mature for his age since his brush with death by lymphoma, but a guy just the same. (Like when he peeked when he saw Anna bathing and she started to masturbate - he didn't discreetly walk away. He did what any guy would do. Again, refreshing, achingly real.) Anna was the same. A woman at a crossroads when she started on the ill-fated tutoring job, and still at a crossroads after the hellacious ordeal.I think what I loved most was that for the first time in probably forever, I found a contemporary romance that didn't feel the need to focus on sex. Yes, sex happens, but it's more often than not simply referred to and not spelled out in aching detail. This was a story about how two people fall in love, and fight to keep it against unimaginable odds. A story that made you fall in love with the characters just as they fell in love with each other. Not about how many times they could bang each other, and how many times that could be spelled out in repetitive detail. I can only hope that trend picks up...though I doubt it (especially based on the "Romance" offerings in the GR Choice awards.)I'm finished rhapsodizing about it now. Mostly because I want to open it back up and read my favorite parts again. And again. And again.* more reviews here