Uncharted by Julie Johnson
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Published on: January 10, 2018
POV: First Point of View
Rating: 3 STARS
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Uncharted is a standalone contemporary romance by Julie Johnson and my first book by the author. It follows the journey of our seventeen (soon-to-be eighteen) year old heroine named Violet Anderson; a teenage girl who has a dream of living the life of adventure, meaning to gather experiences outside of her small town. A job offer to South Pacific for the summer as an Au Pair (nanny) for a wealthy family is her way out to live her dream.
Everything seems to be going great until their luxury, private jet crashes, leaving her stranded on an uninhabited island with a broody, handsome guy named Beck, who happens to be a professional photographer, whom she has had a problem to get along with since their meeting on the airport. Violet then finds herself in the mode of life survival with the guy who then unexpectedly becomes her lifeline on the island. Their differences added to the extreme challenges they are facing, but in order to survive, they need to work together.
“I think having hope is one of the most important things you can do. Once you let go of it, despair takes over. Despair will kill you quicker than hope ever could. So if you’re going to hol donto something… I’m glad it’s that.”
The heroine’s courageous spirit was admirable. Despite her age, she seems wise beyond her years and such an amazing human being. The dire circumstances did not deem her spirit but, instead, brought it to light. Her resilient, loving, caring, and not-easily-give-up characters in the most impossible, scariest situations were what I loved about her the most. For a seventeen-year-old, she was remarkable. However, her attitude, particularly towards the hero, was immature, though it was not without reasons. It was a contrast to her character in general.
“The truth is, I never loved anyone… until I met you.”
The hero was one of the factors that had me turning the pages in the beginning. I was curious about the mystery behind his brooding, rude character, and anxious to get to know him. It was heart-warming to see him open up about his past, being vulnerable, and learning to trust others. Behind his outside persona, there was an incredible, good-hearted, young man.
“I’m here for you. I’ll be here for you. Always.”
The supporting characters, albeit limited, were memorial. Ian was, surprisingly, my favorite character of the cast. He was unbelievably strong and such an amazing friend. I felt more emotionally connected to him than the main characters, which was the first time in my novel reading experience. The scenes, in which he was in, were my top favorites of the story.
The stranded-on-an-island romance between a couple with age-gap issues was not an original idea but it didn’t discourage me from giving this book a try. For those familiar with On The Island by Tracy Garvis-Graves might find Uncharted underwhelming due to the considerable similarities between the two. While it held some truth, the difference in term of the message and the emotions the two managed to get out of me was striking.
Julie Johnson handled the age-difference issue really well. Even though the sexual tension between the main characters was obvious from the beginning, the focus of the story leaned towards the survival and friendship with subtle hints of the romantic elements. It took time for the relationship to grow and become physical, which I thought most readers would appreciate.
Unfortunately, since the romance took a backseat for the majority of the story, I had a difficult time to connect with Violet and Beck as a couple. Their slow-burn romance didn’t move me as much as I hoped. Hence, their heart-to-heart, intimate dialogs felt underwhelmed. In spite of the fact that I enjoyed their individual character developments, I would have liked to see a significant progress when it came to them as a couple.
Moreover, the writing suffered a lack of detail. The poor worldbuilding, unfortunately, greatly affected my experience with this story. As a curious reader, I longed for more colors and richness in the writing since I didn’t feel I was completely transported and immersed in the story from the start which was slightly disappointing.
The ending was the downside for me as well. It made the story felt unfinished. It was as if it ended when it was about to take off. Most recent problems between the couple left unanswered. Had the ending been written differently, it would’ve left more impact on me. I hope there would be a sequel someday that addressed the issues.
All in all, Uncharted by Julie Johnson is a decent stranded-on-an-island romance with an age-gap-issue couple, which despite my issues, I still enjoyed this book. It might not be working for die-hard, romance readers, but if the survival, self-discovery, friendship, and family subjects are what you are looking for in stories, you will enjoy this book which I absolutely guarantee.
“Nothing in this world worth having comes without some sort of struggle.”