When terrorists seize control of a cruise ship, a Good Samaritan tosses Leah overboard and helps her escape on a lifeboat with several other survivors. Leah and three men reach a small deserted island after several days at sea. One man volleys lewd comments at Leah. Another moves to dazzle her with his intellect. The last, a young, reserved Arabic man named Musir only seeks to protect Leah from the others. As the four prepare to make the island their home, Leah tries her best to navigate between the four men, avoiding conflict whenever possible and learning more about the mysterious Musir. Her mind drifts back to her parents, who may still be trapped on board the cruise ship and who may fear that she’s dead. She never imagines that she is trapped on the island with one of the men behind the terrorist plot.
In her protagonist Leah, Haddad has created a brave and wise heroine. She responds calmly to frightening situations, always able to talk herself down from hysteria. For a girl of little experience with them, she is a shrewd judge of men, slicing through their exterior chitchat to expose the motives beneath their words. Yet she remains polite and kind to all as the story swerves from one misfortune to another.
While the basic plot contains some suspenseful elements, the story maintains a more moderate pace, allowing readers plenty of time to react to each new twist and revelation. The ending leaves much to the reader’s imagination, giving it a true-to-life feel.
Everyone seems interested in Leah’s virtue, or rather in her losing it. One man assumes she’s been intimate with the others in their party. One asks about her prior experience. She spends time kissing one man and sleeps curled up with him. She plans to have sex with him but is interrupted. No graphic details given.
Leah discusses literature and poetry with Blue, one of the other survivors. They briefly discuss poems about God and spirituality from a Christian, Catholic and Islamic perspective.
A man attacks Leah in an attempt to sexually assault her. Another man stops him.
References to alcohol, but none consumed in the story.