Published: March 4th 2011
From: Free on Amazon
Rating: 3 out of 5
Abby Lewis never pictured herself on the survival game show, Endurance Island. She’s just not the ‘survival’ type. But when her boss offers her a spot on the show and the opportunity of a lifetime, she packs her bags and heads to the tropics to be a contestant. Once in the game, though, it’s clear that Abby’s in over her head.
No one’s more competitive than sexy, delicious – and arrogant – Dean Woodall. Sure, he’s clever, strong, good at challenges, and has a body that makes her mouth water. He also hates Abby just as much as she hates him. That’s fine with her; she’ll just ignore the jerk.
But the rules of Endurance Island are working against them. Abby and Dean are teamed up – alone – on the beach. It’s either work together, or go home. Stuck with no one’s company but their own, they learn they might just make a good team after all.
And Abby learns that with just a little bit of kindling, the flames of hate can quickly turn to flames of passion…
I've seen the TV shows like this but have never read a story based on a survival show. I could only imagine that what was presented on TV was cleverly edited and did not show the characters as their true selves. We've all seen I'm a Celebrity, Survivor and Big Brother at some point.
Abby works for a media company. One that has a hand in the survival show in question, Endurance Island. Someone has dropped out of the celebrities and the production company think it would be a great idea to put an 'insider' into the running. Someone who can scoop the dirt and also write about her experiences after the show with a major book deal. Therefore Abby is more pushed than asked to take the final place. She isn't an ideal candidate but in her favour she did, with the help of a professional, edit a survivalists handbook a while ago. She picked up more than a few tips on how to survive when dropped on a desert island.
Abby arrives and is immediately thrown into the competitive world of the twelve celebrities. They all want the prize of 2 million dollars badly. So much that they will literally step on you or shame you at every opportunity. The other competitors see Abby as weak and don't make her feel comfortable in her new surroundings at all. She's paired with the hottest guy on the show although she has no idea who he is and what he does in the real world.
Dean Woodall openly admits his eye is on the money but he does want the challenge of competing. He wants to win, and he'll do whatever or whoever he can to get what he wants. He doesn't understand why Abby is being so difficult and in the beginning is scared to have a conversation with her in case she chews his head off..again.
Abby and Dean get put into couples who must get through the first few days together. That means working together on tasks and getting along. They don't. In fact, they make themselves into a spectacle because of their instant dislike of one another. Eventually though, they do start working as a team and get good results.
But Abby starts feeling more for Dean than she should. Firstly she's the insider, she should act professional being as the cameras are on them all the time. And secondly, everyone who's in the competition has a game plan. Abby unfortunately doesn't. Her mindset is different because her goal isn't to win, just get as far as she can.
I did enjoy this book. The dynamics of the game are well thought out and there are some funny moments when Abby and Dean spar constantly. As with the game structure, this book has a structure to it as you travel through the days and weeks from Abby's POV. At times she is a little naive around Dean, she doesn't exactly know what his deal is but we're given little snippets from Dean's POV at the start of each chapter. As the story carries on you can see the different competitors begin to use and lie to each other to disrupt the accord of the game.
There are some things I didn't like, however, that just felt off to me. I would say that if I was a media plant I wouldn't get hot and heavy (very sexy heavy) with my partner because it would always be on my mind that a) cameras are there, and everyone's watching, and b) when the show gets aired my entire family would see what was going on, and c) I have a job to do and that's the only reason why i'm there.
So, in contrast, Abby and Dean's closeness is believable but to go further? Obviously without this there wouldn't be a point to the book but that's my thought process.
The writing is great though the ending was a little predictable and finished very quickly. The other thing that struck me was how little we actually know about Abby at the end. After the show finishes she doesn't talk about her family or work at all. Something I felt could have taken away the one dimensional aspect the story had at times.
Still, there are others in the series featuring different characters for other reality TV shows. I might take a chance and try them out :)
You can reach Jill Myles (who also writes as Jessica Clare) here: